There is grave disparity in how climate change affects different groups of people. One would think that climate change does not discriminate, but this is not always the case. According to research individuals living below the poverty line and in poorly built houses, and vulnerable groups like the elderly, children and those in poor health, are much more vulnerable to climate change.
Extreme weather conditions are expected to become more frequent, and more devastating in the coming decades and the individuals that are least able to prepare and adapt will be disproportionately exposed and affected by this environmental, turned social crisis. This social aspect of climate change also concerns populations that experience discrimination and exclusion because of intellectual and developmental disabilities (ID/DD). There is this perception that people with ID/DD are not able to comprehend more complicated concepts and are often excluded from discussion and participation in subjects that directly affect them. People with ID/DD vary greatly within said spectrum in terms of how severely their disability affects them, have unique sensitivities, and can experience different levels of fundamental challenges in their everyday lives. Greta Thunberg, one of the most influential environmental activists in the world, who has Asperger’s Syndrome, a form of autism, said “I don’t think I would be interested in the climate at all if I had been like everyone else”. This is true. Individuals with ID/DD can provide a different angle on the subject. So why are they not included in the conversation about climate change?
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