Recording Now Available, “Disabilities & Disasters: A Path to More Inclusive Climate Solutions”

By Rebecca Rehr

In a recent article, Krystal Vasquez, PhD Candidate at the California Institute of Technology, wrote about her experience studying air pollution from wildfires and her experience as a disabled researcher. She wrote, “while the fires themselves don’t discriminate, there are systems in place that do.” Krystal joined Climate for Health Director, Rebecca Rehr, and Adriane Griffen, Senior Director of Public Health and Leadership at the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD), to discuss disability rights as an important tenet of environmental justice, climate solutions, and disaster planning.

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Throughout the conversation, Adriane and Krystal provided concrete and tangible advice for a more inclusive planning process: start conversations with people you know and can help create change, include alt text for all early warning systems, engage diverse stakeholders including disabled people early, partnerships are key, and get more comfortable with being corrected (or, simply asking rather than asserting). 

Adriane asked us to think about an important question as we continue to build equitable climate solutions: “Is what I’m doing for all?” Start with this question and ask it at every step. And, Krystal challenged us to look around the table and ask, “Who is not here that should be?” If we can take these steps and follow this advice, we’ll be closer to a more equitable future.  

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Resources

Krystal’s article for Environmental Health News: A disability should not be a death sentence during a natural disaster

Agents of Change Environmental Justice Fellowship

Systemic Inequality: Displacement, Exclusion, and Segregation 

Addressing COVID-19 Vaccine Access and Confidence Among People with Disabilities  

Portrayal of People with Disabilities 

Florida Special Needs Shelter Program 

The Intersection of Disability and Climate Change

Resources from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities (AUCD)

AUCD Network Centers 

The Prepared4ALL initiative offered by AUCD’s new Technical Assistance and Training Center

Inclusive Emergency Management Preparedness, Response, and Recovery White Paper 

Resources from ecoAmerica and Climate for Health 

Climate for Health Ambassador Training 

Mental Health and Our Changing Climate: Impacts, Implications, and Guidance 

Climate for Health Moving Forward Toolkit 

Health Ranked Top Motivator in Support for Climate Solutions 

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