This literature review contains relevant material across several disciplines taking into account the interrelationship of the environment and disability, often referred to as “eco-crip theory” (Ray and Sibara, 2017). Included are books, articles, and other resources on topics such as:
- Bioethics and biopolitics
- The built environment and mapping for access
- Climate justice and human rights
- Crip eco-poetics
- Crip ecology
- Disability and animality
- Disability and the environmental humanities
- Environmental justice
- Natural disasters, climate change, and migration
- Nature, environment, and ecology
- Science and technology
- Sustainable ecological systems
- Urban environments and inaccessible spaces and places
Alaimo, S. (2010). Bodily natures: Science, environment, and the material self. Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press.
How do we understand the agency and significance of material forces and their interface with human bodies? What does it mean to be human in these times, with bodies that are inextricably interconnected with our physical world? Bodily Natures considers these questions by grappling with powerful and pervasive material forces and their increasingly harmful effects on the human body. Drawing on feminist theory, environmental studies, and the sciences, Stacy Alaimo focuses on trans-corporeality, or movement across bodies and nature, which has profoundly altered our sense of self. By looking at a broad range of creative and philosophical writings, Alaimo illuminates how science, politics, and culture collide, while considering the closeness of the human body to the environment.
Aldred, R., & Woodcock, J. (2008). Transport: Challenging disabling environments. In R. Imrie & H. Thomas (Eds.), The Environment and Disability: Making the Connections [Special Issue]. Local Environment, 13(6), 485-496. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830802259847.
This article brings together the concerns of environmental and disability movements through examining the role of transport. Both movements critique current transport policy and practice. The disability movement has analysed how it marginalises the needs of disabled people, while environmentalists argue current transport trends are unsustainable and marginalise alternatives. Although these critiques operate independently and even seem opposed to each other, a common agenda can be developed through extending the social model of disability. The social model can be used to understand how car-dominated transport systems can be understood as disabling populations larger than those conventionally recognised as “disabled”. The car offers the technological fix of enabling abilities, in particular speed and strength, but in practice disables in a number of ways. Urban sprawl and traffic increase barriers to participation and access for many both ‘able-bodied’ and ‘disabled,’ while car dominance damages social interaction and limits sensory perception. Furthermore, the car economy is a major cause of impairment through crashes and physical inactivity. Understanding these together requires integrating the social model of disability with an eco-social model of impairment. This can show how unequal forms of social organisation are embodied in people and environments to produce patterns of impairment, disability and disadvantage. Finally we suggest policies to move towards sustainable societies with increased opportunities for broader social participation. The article argues that the two movements can create and benefit from a shared vision of socially inclusive, low-energy, sustainable transport.
Anderson, D. R. (2018). “This is the way I was”: Urban ethics, temporal logics, and the politics of cure. In K. Blanchard & C. Sandilands (Eds.), Sex and the (Motor) City: Ecologies of Middlesex [Special Forum]. The Goose: A Journal of Arts, Environment, and Culture in Canada, 17(1), Article 51.
This article employs Eli Clare’s concept of the ‘politics of cure’ in order to discuss issues of disability, temporality, and ethical relations to rehabilitation, restoration, and cure in the Sex and the (Motor) City: Ecologies of Middlesex special cluster. The special cluster compiles twelve short essays, originally presented in two linked roundtables at the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE) conference in Detroit in June 2017, examining Jeffrey Eugenides’ 2002 Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, Middlesex.
Asamoah, P. G., Sanka, C. G., & Asafu-Adjaye, P. A. (2019, December). Mutualism and co-existence in Johanne Spyri’s Heidi. Journal of Mother-Tongue Biblical Hermeneutics and Theology (MOTBIT), 1(2), 43-56. Article 4. DOI: https://doi.org/10.32051/12301904.
Reflections on the state of the environment and how some wish it to be are mirrored in the literary productions of some writers. The focus of this work is to analyze such a text as Heidi by Johanne Spyri which offers alternatives of survival which are mutualism and co-existence. Studies on Heidi have focused on other theories like psychoanalysis, however, none has looked at the text from an ecocritical perspective with mutualism and co-existence in mind. This work looks at the concept of mutualism and co-existence as metaphors from ecology. These metaphors are further sub-divided into other tropes which offer a better alternative way of life which are neither parasitic nor predatory, but positive symbioses. Using Heidi as the primary text, this purely qualitative study uses ecocritical tropes as an approach in tackling the relationship between humans and non-human aspects of the environment. The tropes used in this case are dwelling-, a geographical place and sense of belonging: animals, mutualism and co-existence with other humans; wilderness: the role of nature as a healer; and positive growth towards the good and the morally sound. The work recognizes that mutualism and co-existence in reality are underplayed in our world today and recommends a complete change-over of attitude towards the best possible way of living for both humans and non-humans within our environment.
Atkins, P. (2021). ‘All the living I have left to do’: A disability poetics of dwelling. In Z. Brigley, K. Evans & R. A. Mackenzie (Eds.), Dwelling [Feature Issue]. Magna 79.
We dwell in our bodies; our bodies in the world. Everything we experience of the world we experience in and through and with our bodies. Our relationship with our body informs our relationship with the world. For some people, this is easier to forget than for others. There are times I have wished I could relinquish tenancy of my body, and live easefully out with its structural issues, but it is my home on the earth.
Bares, A. (2019, Fall). “Each unbearable day”: Narrative ruthlessness and environmental and reproductive injustice in Jesmyn Ward’s Salvage the Bones. MELUS, 44(3), 21-40. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/melus/mlz022.
Jesmyn Ward’s 2011 novel Salvage the Bones tells the story of Esch Batiste and her family in the days leading up to Hurricane Katrina. Ward represents Esch’s unexpected pregnancy and the environmental degradation of her rural Mississippi Gulf Coast home as linked by the slow, quotidian forms of violence and risk exposure that characterize Jasbir K. Puar’s formulation of debility. Through scenes of reproductive and environmental injustice, Salvage the Bones elucidates the processes through which racially inflected political-economic systems unevenly produce debility in certain populations and environments while capacitating others. When put in conversation with critical race theory, critical disability theory, and environmental criticism, Salvage the Bones emphasizes the logics that underpin debility rather than sensationalizing or pathologizing its consequences. In its refusal to revert to ableist, racist literary codes and conventions, the novel theorizes and practices “narrative ruthlessness,” Ward’s description of her literary strategy to respond to debility’s representational conundrums of inevitability and invisibility. In so doing, narrative ruthlessness exceeds liberal humanist impulses to propose restoration, cure, or uplift as desirable solutions, insisting instead on kinship, care, redress, and salvage as possibilities for radical survival and futurity.
Bauman, W. A. (2015). Disability Studies, queer theory, and the new materialism: Environmental metaphors for a planet on the move. In J. W. Belser (Ed.), Religion, Disability, and the Environment [Special Issue]. Worldviews, 19(1), 69-73. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685357-01901005.
“In an exhibit by eco-artist Elizabeth Demaray at the 2014 meeting of the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences in New York, the artist showcased a new project she is working on with engineer, Dr. Qingze Zou, entitled: `IndaPlant Project: An Act of Trans-Species Giving.’ In this project, the artist and engineer are working together to create ‘technologies’ for plants. The robotic ‘floraborgs’ allow houseplants to move freely in domestic settings in search of sunlight and water. These floraborgs are metaphors for some trans possibilities for future becomings of the planetary community. These hybrid formations, reminiscent of the moving trees known as ‘Ents’ in the Lord of the Rings trilogy, suggest the possibilities of interspecies communication and highlight the nature of life itself as assemblage. The authors in this issue of Worldviews bring disability studies and ecological thought together with queer theory, environmental justice and disaster studies. Since each article deals in some way with issues of hybridity and the possibilities for future becoming, the IndaPlant exhibit is a good place to begin reflecting on these intersecting (and at times conflicting) discourses. In this brief response, I suggest three important loci for the ongoing discussions of a nomadic ecology of planetary becoming, which derive from the three main articles in this issue: the intersections of queering nature, hybrid identities, and assemblages one can glean from disability studies; implications for thinking about the future of climate change; and the importance of what Rob Nixon (2011) calls the ‘geography of violence.’ Perhaps such a nomadic approach—what Sharon Betcher, following Jane Bennett, calls ‘vitalist materialism’—might help us deal better with the evolving multitude of the planetary community in ways that prevent us from narrowing multiple possibilities for becoming into singular movements toward progress” (p. 69).
Bell, S. L., Tabe, T., & Bell, S. (2019). Seeking a disability lens within climate change migration discourses, policies and practices. Disability & Society, 35(4), 682-687. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/09687599.2019.1655856.
Around 15% of the global population is estimated to live with disability. With the Millennium Development Goals failing to recognise disability issues, the Sustainable Development Goals seek to promote a stronger focus on the alleviation of poverty and inequality amongst disabled people. Since then, the vulnerability of disabled people has been highlighted within international climate change agreements. Yet a critical disability lens is largely lacking from broader aspects of climate change adaptation planning. Focusing primarily on examples from the Asia-Pacific region (a region including low-lying coastal areas and islands that are frequently highlighted as exemplars of communities on the front line of climate change), this article discusses the need to integrate critical insights from disability studies into current understandings of climate change adaptation and mobility if we are to facilitate more inclusive, democratic and equitable adaptation in the face of climate change.
Belser, J. W. (2015). Disability and the social politics of “natural” disaster: Toward a Jewish feminist ethics of disaster tales. In J. W. Belser (Ed.), Religion, Disability, and the Environment [Special Issue]. Worldviews, 19(1), 51-68. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685357-01901004.
The stories we tell about crisis and catastrophe often intensify structural violence, augmenting existing dynamics of racism, sexism, classism, and ableism. Disaster stories often reinforce cultural narratives of suffering womanhood and tragic stories of disability to portray people with disabilities—especially women—as “natural” and “inevitable” victims of a harsh new world. Examining both contemporary rhetoric in the wake of Hurricane Katrina and classical rabbinic Jewish narrative, I argue that tales of communities in crisis commonly depoliticize disaster. By inscribing the disabled body with a narrative of “natural” vulnerabilities and inevitable suffering, conventional disaster discourse obscures the political significance of structural inequalities that render people with disabilities more at risk in disaster. Bringing together disability studies scholarship and Jewish feminist ethics, I challenge the discursive tendency to portray disabled individuals as symbols of suffering—and to focus on the pathos of an individual in distress instead of critiquing social inequality. I advocate a constructive, redemptive storytelling that illuminates and critiques social and political exclusion, that underscores the agency and dignity of people in crisis, that valorizes the disability justice movement’s call for interdependence in community, and that captures the artistry and resiliency of disabled lives.
Belser, J. W. (2020, Fall). Disability, Climate Change, and Environmental Violence: The Politics of Invisibility and the Horizon of Hope. Disability Studies Quarterly, 40(4). DOI: https://doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v40i4.6959.
This article brings disability theory and activism into conversation with environmental justice, a conversation that has often been stymied by a fundamental difference in approaching disability. Environmental justice movements position disability as a visceral marker of environmental harm, while disability movements claim disability as a site of value and vitality, a position I call “disability embrace.” Rather than adjudicate these differences, I use them to pinpoint a barrier to political alliance: environmental disability is a consequence of structural violence. I argue that disability politics offer vital resources for grappling with climate change. Applying insights from disability studies and disability activism to the analysis of environmental damage reveals the political stakes of diagnosis—the way power contours how, when, and to what ends we recognize human and ecological impairment. Disability insights illuminate pervasive cultural patterns of invisibility and climate denial. Disability critiques of futurity and cure can also reconfigure the way we approach hope and help fashion a new narrative of what it might mean to live well in the Anthropocene.
Betcher, S. V. (2015). The picture of health: “Nature” at the intersection of disability, religion and ecology. In J. W. Belser (Ed.), Religion, Disability, and the Environment [Special Issue]. Worldviews, 19(1), 9-33. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685357-01901002.
“We carry our most intimate view of nature within our pictures of health. These images of health, often more amenable to ablenationalism than to a world of intra-active becoming, inform not only neoliberal policy, but ecological vision, including ecospiritualities. Increasingly “the politics of health” constitutes something like a structure of exclusion, a “racism that is biological” (Foucault). Since these intimate images of nature—these “pictures of health”—may be aggravating the next great planetary divide, disability studies might differently shape what we make of the picture of health, the “nature” that informs it, and a religious response to it. This article uses critical dis- ability studies to examine the ways in which the ideology of health, often motivating ecological concern and religious seeking, can coincidentally collude with neoliberal responsibilization and biotechnologically supported transhumanism, generating pol- icy enclosures of the gen-rich against the “refuse/d” or “waste/d.”
Bodies of Nature: Survival Lessons from Disabled Communities [Feature Issue]. (2021, Winter). Orion: People and Nature Magazine, 40(4).
IN THIS ISSUE, we gather a selection of writers and artists whose experiences broaden our understanding of sickness and disability, to foster a conversation among them about how the body informs our perception of and engagement with our surroundings. In “Age of Disability,” Sunaura Taylor follows a community threatened by toxic groundwater that fights ecological ableism. In “The Long View,” Sarah Capdeville faces autoimmunity and an ecosystem caught in chaos. Taylor Brorby lives with diabetes in the era of climate crisis in “In Range.” Marina Tsaplina tells the story of Dream Puppet, the poetic knowledges of ancient forests and disabled communities. Glenis Redmond writes about labor, lineage, and cancer. In “Retriever of Souls,” Amy Irvine’s daughter Ruby McHarg and her service dog navigate a forest of epilepsy. Enjoy columns by Lisa Wells, Meera Subramanian, Aimee Nezhukumatathil, and more. This issue is art directed by Georgina Kleege, a blind scholar who has consulted the Met and the Tate on access and equity.
Bowen, L. (2021, Summer). Learning to read ecologically: Disability, animality, and metaphor in Toni Morrison’s A Mercy. ELH, 88(2), 525-550. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/elh.2021.0020.
Metaphor has become somewhat unfashionable, as new materialist and non-symptomatic reading approaches have rightly championed the value of the literal in literary criticism. But does metaphorical interpretation necessarily empty its objects of their material stakes? This essay examines Toni Morrison’s engagement with metaphors of disability and animality, two categories whose associated scholarly fields have been especially critical of metaphor. The characters in A Mercy, who often read nonhuman animals and disabled humans metaphorically, model two methods of reading figurative bodies, which I term extractive and ecological. If we learn how to read bodies ecologically, metaphors need not flatten difference or material complexity, but can in fact make it more meaningful.
Calgaro, E. (2021). Climate disaster risk, disability, and resilience. Current History, 120(829): 320–325.
This essay examines the everyday inequalities, stigmas, and injustices that leave people with disabilities highly vulnerable to escalating climate change risks. It argues that including people with disabilities in disaster risk reduction processes is essential to shaping inclusive, effective policies and practices. Examples of several programs that have done so are discussed. Focusing on the strengths of people with disabilities as resilient change-makers and as the experts in their own lives—instead of viewing them as dependent on others—can lead to the changes necessary to recognize their personal sovereignty and deliver disaster justice. Third in a series on disability rights around the world.
Campos, P. A. (2021, Fall). Disability panic and environmental advocacy. In Environmental Justice [Feature Issue]. Natural Resources & Environment, 36(2), 41-44.
Disability plays an important but often unrecognized role in environmental law. Attorneys can play a role in reducing bias against people with disabilities.
Castres, P. (2022, October 13). Climate policy and activism need to make space for disabled people. BMJ, o2387, 379. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.o2387.
In this commentary, the author makes salient points on how “Disabled people are disproportionately affected yet highly underrepresented by climate change, yet the disability community hasn’t been at the forefront of climate policy and activism,” a situation which needs to change.
Cella, M. J. C. (2013, Summer). The ecosomatic paradigm in literature: Merging disability studies and ecocriticism. Interdisciplinary Studies in Literature and Environment, 20(3), 574-596. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/isle/ist053.
“Th(e) deep entanglement—the dialectic of embodiment and emplacement—is the central subject of this essay as this dialectic forms the basis for what I call the ecosomatic paradigm. The ecosomatic paradigm assumes contiguity between the mind-body and its social and natural environments; thus, under this scheme, the work of negotiating a ‘habitable body’ and ‘habitable world’ go hand in hand” (pp. 574-575).
Cella, M. J. C. (Ed.). (2016). Disability and the environment in American literature: Toward an ecosomatic paradigm. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
This book includes a collection of essays that explore the relationship between Disability Studies and literary ecocriticism, particularly as this relationship plays out in American literature and culture. The contributors to this collection operate from the premise that there is much to be gained for both fields by putting them in conversation, and they do so in a variety of ways. In this manner, the collection contributes to what Joni Adamson and Scott Slovic have referred to as a ‘third wave of ecocriticism.’ Adamson and Slovic attribute the rise of this “third wave” to the richly diverse contributions to ecocriticism over the past decade by scholars intent on including postmodernism, ecofeminism, transnationalism, globalization, and postcolonialism into ecocritical discussions. The essays in Toward an Ecosomatic Paradigm extend this approach of this ‘third wave’ by analyzing disability from an ‘environmental point of view’ while simultaneously examining the environmental imagination from a disability studies perspective. More specifically, the goal of the collection is to investigate the role that literary narratives play in fostering the ‘ecosomatic paradigm.’ As a theoretical framework, the ecosomatic paradigm underscores the dynamic and inter-relational process wherein human mind-bodies interact with the places, both built and wild, they inhabit. That is, the ecosomatic paradigm proceeds from the assumption that nature and culture are meshed in an ongoing and deep relationship that has implications for both the human subject and the natural world. An ecosomatic approach highlights the profound overlap between embodiment and emplacement, and is therefore enriched by both disability studies and ecocritical insight. By drawing on points of confluence between disability studies and ecological criticism, the various ecosomatic readings in this collection challenge normative (even ableist) constructions of the body-environment dyad by complicating and expanding our understanding of this relationship as it is represented in American literature and culture. Collectively, the essays in this book augment the American environmental imagination by highlighting the relationship between disability and the environment as reflected in American literary texts across multiple periods and genres.
Chen, M. Y. (2012). Animacies: Biopolitics, Racial Mattering, and Queer Affect [Perverse Modernities: A Series]. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
In Animacies, Mel Y. Chen draws on recent debates about sexuality, race, and affect to examine how matter that is considered insensate, immobile, or deathly animates cultural lives. Toward that end, Chen investigates the blurry division between the living and the dead, or that which is beyond the human or animal. Within the field of linguistics, animacy has been described variously as a quality of agency, awareness, mobility, sentience, or liveness. Chen turns to cognitive linguistics to stress how language habitually differentiates the animate and the inanimate. Expanding this construct, Chen argues that animacy undergirds much that is pressing and indeed volatile in contemporary culture, from animal rights debates to biosecurity concerns. Chen’s book is the first to bring the concept of animacy together with queer of color scholarship, critical animal studies, and disability theory. Through analyses of dehumanizing insults, the meanings of queerness, animal protagonists in recent Asian/American art and film, the lead in toys panic in 2007, and the social lives of environmental illness, Animacies illuminates a hierarchical politics infused by race, sexuality, and ability. In this groundbreaking book, Chen rethinks the criteria governing agency and receptivity, health and toxicity, productivity and stillness—and demonstrates how attention to the affective charge of matter challenges commonsense orderings of the world.
Chen, M. Y. (2015). The reproduction in/of disability and environment. In J. W. Belser (Ed.), Religion, Disability, and the Environment [Special Issue]. Worldviews, 19(1), 78-92. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685357-01901007.
“What are the methods of disability studies when it works in the realm of environmental studies? Disability studies has long staked a practiced ambivalence toward medicalization and the deployment of science for ends of ‘health.’ Given this stance, what can be made of science’s overwhelming deployment within environmentalist discourses?” (p. 79)
Claasen, A., van den Eijenden, J., & Geurts, M. (2013, November). Transversal ecocritical praxis: An interview with Patrick Murphy. Ecocriticsm [Feature Issue]. Frame: Journal of Literary Studies, 26(2), 101-112.
Dr. Patrick D. Murphy is a Professor and Chair of the Department of English at the University of Central Florida. He has authored Ecocritical Explorations in Literary and Cultural Studies (2009), Farther Afield in the Study of Nature Oriented Literature (2000), A Place for Wayfaring: The Poetry and Prose of Gary Snyder (2000), and Literature, Nature, and Other: Ecofeminist Critiques (1995). He has also edited or co-edited such books as The Literature of Nature: An International Sourcebook (1998) and Ecofeminist Literary Criticism and Pedagogy (1998). He is the founding editor of ISLE: Interdisciplinary Studies Literature and Environment. His ecocritical work has been translated into Chinese, Danish, Japanese, Korean, and Spanish. Frame conducted an interview with Murphy to learn more about his new book, Transversal Ecocritical Praxis (2013), and to discuss with him the field of ecocriticism in general.
Clare, E. (2015). Exile and pride: Disability, queerness, and liberation (3rd ed.). Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822374879.
First published in 1999, Exile and Pride is essential to the history and future of disability politics. Eli Clare’s revelatory writing about his experiences as a white disabled genderqueer activist/writer established him as one of the leading writers on the intersections of queerness and disability and changed the landscape of disability politics and queer liberation. With a poet’s devotion to truth and an activist’s demand for justice, Clare unspools the multiple histories from which our sense of self unfolds. His essays weave together memoir, history, and political thinking to explore meanings and experiences of home. Here readers will find an intersectional framework for understanding how we actually live with the daily hydraulics of oppression, power, and resistance. At the root of Clare’s exploration of environmental destruction and capitalism, sexuality and institutional violence, gender and the body politic, is a call for social justice movements that are truly accessible to everyone.
Clare, E. (2017). Brilliant imperfection: Grappling with cure. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.
In Brilliant Imperfection, Eli Clare uses memoir, history, and critical analysis to explore cure—the deeply held belief that body-minds considered broken need to be fixed. Cure serves many purposes. It saves lives, manipulates lives, and prioritizes some lives over others. It provides comfort, makes profits, justifies violence, and promises resolution to body-mind loss. Clare grapples with this knot of contradictions, maintaining that neither an anti-cure politics nor a pro-cure worldview can account for the messy, complex relationships we have with our body-minds. The stories he tells range widely, stretching from disability stereotypes to weight loss surgery, gender transition to skin lightening creams. At each turn, Clare weaves race, disability, sexuality, class, and gender together, insisting on the nonnegotiable value of body-mind difference. Into this mix, he adds environmental politics, thinking about ecosystem loss and restoration as a way of delving more deeply into cure. Ultimately Brilliant Imperfection reveals cure to be an ideology grounded in the twin notions of normal and natural, slippery and powerful, necessary and damaging all at the same time.
Comer, T. A., & Junker, C. (2020). Disability Studies and Ecocriticism: Creative Critical Intersections [Special Thematic Volume]. Studies in the Humanities, 46(1-2).
This double journal issue of Studies in the Humanities is merely the most recent attempt to further the academic conversation occurring at the intersection of disability and ecology. In our call for papers we asked for essays focused on the following questions: What can be gained by investigating ecological issues through the lens of disability studies? What can be gained by investigating disability through the lens of ecocriticism? How can these two viewpoints be joined?
Articles published in this feature issue include an Introduction and the following:
- On (Dis-)Ability and Nature in A Song of Ice and Fire
- Ableism in Avatar: The Transhuman, Postcolonial Rapprochement to Bioregionalism
- Ecstatic Others: Transcendent Mutant Bodies in Milligan and Allred’s X-Statix
- Green Our Vaccines: Jenny McCarthy’s Environmentalist, Ableist Rhetoric
- Eco-ability and the Corporeal Grotesque: Environmental Toxicity in Cherrie Moraga’s Heroes and Saints and Ambikasutan Mangad’s Swarga
- The Ableist Human: Rethinking Agency with Ability through Max Frisch’s Man in the Holocene
- Undoing Bodies: Tentacular Spaces and Sympoiesis in Octavia Butler’s Lilith’s Brood
- Green Lovin’ Mamas Don’t Vax! The Pseudo-Environmentalism of Anti-Vaccination Discourse
- Writing the Unruly Body: Disability, Femininity, and the Environment in Wallace Stegner’s Angle of Repose
- Shimerda’s Ghost: Disability and the Myth of the Frontier in Great Plains Fiction
Dahlberg, A., Borgström, S., Rautenberg, M., & Sluimer, N. (2022, September). A Nearby Park or Forest Can Become Mount Everest. Access to Urban Green Areas by People in Wheelchair from an Environmental Justice Perspective: A Stockholm Case. In B. Plüschke-Altof & H. Sooväli-Sepping (Eds.), Whose Green City? Contested Urban Green Spaces and Environmental Justice in Northern Europe [Sustainable Development Goals Series Series (SDGS)] (pp. 19–40). Springer Nature Switzerland AG.
That green areas in rapidly urbanising landscapes are important for human well-being is well established. Parks, woodlands, nature reserves, street trees and backyards provide multiple benefits, e.g. through providing physical, mental, social, educational and cultural benefits. These effects should reach all ‘the people’. However, a precondition is accessibility, which has received growing research attention. The aim of this chapter is to contribute to this body of knowledge by presenting and discussing accessibility to urban nature from the viewpoint of people whose mobility is dependent on a wheelchair. Very few studies have focused on this group, and then primarily on physical access. We include a broader perspective on underlying factors affecting accessibility—juxtaposed with an environmental justice approach. Our exploration rests primarily on interviews with people dependent on a wheelchair and representatives of supporting organisations. To this is added data from an online survey. Our results highlight that access to urban green areas must be understood in a broad sense, e.g. where physical access includes the whole route from home and back again, and where mental and social access is equally crucial. Further, green areas include the whole spectrum from a window-view to an urban national park. The study sends valuable signals to planners, e.g. concerning and including people in wheelchairs in all stages of planning and maintenance.
Davey, C., & Tataryn, M. (Eds.). (2021). Disability Studies and Sustainable Ecology [Special Issue]. Sustainability, 13(17).
The accelerating climate crisis forces us to face current socio-economic inequalities and how crises disproportionately impact certain sectors of society. In many respects, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic is a foreshadowing of how the burden of responding to a global crisis falls unequally. Other publications (e.g., Twig et al., 2011, Gartrel et al., 2020, Peek and Stough, 2010) explore how disabled people are disproportionately negatively affected by such crises. This is an injustice that must be remedied. Yet, in this Special Issue we want to consider the relationship between disability and sustainability from a different angle. Instead of just focusing on people with disabilities as a vulnerable group, and ecological changes as a risk, we want to explore how the conceptual thinking around disability in society interacts with the challenging rethinking of society that will be necessary for sustainability. We are asking: how can a critical perspective on disability, and a view of sustainability that incorporates the diversity inherent in disability, help guide us towards a future that incorporates a more holistic notion of interdependence and, hence, sustainability in our relationship with each other as humans but also with the natural world that surrounds and sustains us? This exploration of interdependence will indeed touch upon questions about our physical and social environments. How do we build our cities and communities? What can perspectives on disabilities teach us about what this says and/or determines about our relationships with each other and with our natural environments? What do different communities (i.e., indigenous people) have to offer in this regard? Finally, how can we conceptualize welfare for all in a way that does not depend on the exploitation of other people and the rest of the ecology?
Day, A. (2020). Crip Time and the toxic body: Water, waste and the autobiographical self. In F. Allon, R. Barcan, & K. Eddison-Cogan (Eds.), The Temporalities of Waste: Out of Sight, Out of Time (pp. 167-178). New York: Routledge. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4324/9780429317170.
Our relationship to climate change will vary depending on our proximity to fresh water and ocean water, poverty, illness and disability—a constellation of intersecting tensions that differentially deploy disaster and debility. This chapter explores three contemporary nonfiction writers, all of whom write of an intimate relationship with water and disability: Leah Laksmi Piepzna-Samarasinha’s Dirty River, Sandra Steingraber’s Living Downstream and Kristen Iversen’s Full Body Burden. Taken together, these three writers move us geographically across the United States, following the linear timeline of U.S. colonial occupation from Massachusetts to the American West, exploring eighteenth- and nineteenth-century industrial factory waste, nineteenth- and twentieth-century farm waste, and late twentieth-century nuclear waste. Focusing on the relationships Piepzna-Samarasinha, Steingraber and Iversen have to water and waste leads us to carefully consider the relationship of individual bodies to time and disability. Utilising a key conceptualisation in critical disability studies, Crip Time, this chapter explores how exposure to environmental toxins is a kind of slow violence enacted on the human body, causing us to think differently about cause and effect, contagion and illness, human debility and planet precarity.
Disability Inclusive Climate Action Research Program & International Disability Alliance. (2022, June). Disability Rights in National Climate Policies: Status Report. Disability Inclusive Climate Action. Montreal, PQ & New York: Research Program at the McGill Centre for Human Rights & Legal Pluralism and the International Disability Alliance.
Produced and released jointly by the Disability Inclusive Climate Action Research Program at
McGill University and the International Disability Alliance, this report provides a systematic
analysis of the inclusion of persons with disabilities and their rights in the climate commitments and policies adopted by State Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). Section 1 reiterates the key obligations owed by states to persons with disabilities under international law. Section 2 reviews whether and how States have recognized persons with disabilities and their rights in their communications to the UNFCCC and in their domestic climate adaptation and mitigation policies. Section 3 summarizes the key conclusions of our analysis and provide recommendations for enhancing disability inclusion in national climate policy-making. In the appendix to this report, we provide a compendium of references to disability from our dataset of domestic climate policies. (p. 2).
Duke Disability Alliance. (2022). Jen Deerinwater: Accompliceship Now! Disability and Indigeneity on the Frontlines of Climate Crisis [YouTube Video]. Durham, NC: Duke University.
“How does climate crisis impact disabled and indigenous communities? What can we learn about resistance from crip wisdom and indigenous knowledges? Hear about the intersections of these topics from disabled Cherokee organizer and journalist, Jen Deerinwater.”
Eisen, N., Duyck, S., & Jodoin, S. (2019, December). The Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the Context of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change: Relevant International Frameworks and Compilation of Decisions adopted by the Parties to the UNFCCC. Winnipeg, MB, Washington, DC, Council of Canadians with Disabilities (CCD), ONG Inclusiva, and Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL).
The Parties to the UN Climate Agreements have recognized that persons with disabilities are key stakeholders in the international response to climate change. As such, they must be engaged throughout the UNFCCC processes and their rights respected and promoted through any climate activity, including mitigation, adaptation, or capacity building. This document recalls the relevant provisions of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and of the Sendai Framework and provides a compilation of all references to persons with disabilities adopted by governments under the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Eriksen, S. H., Grøndahl, R., & Sæbønes, A. (2021, December).On CRDPs and CRPD: why the rights of people with disabilities are crucial for understanding climate-resilient development pathways [Personal View]. Lancet Planetary Health, 5(12), e929-e939. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2542-5196(21)00233-3.
In this Personal View, we examine how the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and lived experiences of disability can deepen understanding of four key features of climate-resilient development: social justice and equity as normative goals; the ethical underpinnings of social choices; the inequitable relations that drive marginalisation; and the ways in which society navigates uncertainty through inclusive and contestatory politics. A disability lens not only helps to understand how marginalisation generates vulnerability; it also helps to elaborate the ethic of solidarity as underpinning social choices and steering development towards climate-resilient pathways. Social justice concerns non-discrimination and equitable participation in everyday informal arenas, as well as formal decision making processes. The resilience knowledges of disabled people help to rethink sustainable development by expounding human interdependence and everyday problem solving in the face of uncertainties. They also contribute to opening up climate change decision making and knowledge processes in ways crucial to engendering transformative change. Embracing human diversity by recognising dignity and capacity is required to counter othering and marginalisation, ensure human wellbeing and planetary health, and achieve socially just development. As such, solidarity is not just a normative goal, but also a means of building climate-resilient development.
Fenney, D. (2017, August). Ableism and disablism in the UK environmental movement. Environmental Values, 26(4), 503-522. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3197/096327117X14976900137377.
This article considers disabled people’s involvement with the UK environmental movement. It draws on findings from qualitative research with disabled people in the UK exploring experiences of access to sustainable lifestyles. A number of experiences of disablism (the manifestation of oppression against disabled people) and ableism (assumptions and valorisations of non-disabled normality) were described. Similar issues were also identified in relevant documentary sources and from research into disabled people’s experiences in the context of other movements such as the wider anti-capitalist movement. These findings suggest that ableism may be a significant feature of the UK environmental movement. If this is the case, there are important implications for the wider success of this movement’s aims in terms of achieving environmental protection, as well as for the ongoing exclusion experienced by disabled people with regard to pro-environmental activities.
Fritsch, K., & McGuire, A. (2018, Spring). The Biosocial Politics of Queer/Crip Contagions [Special Issue]. Feminist Formations, 30(1).
“In this special issue, we chart the limits and possibilities of queer/crip biosocial politics by examining the ways these ideas intersect and commingle with the narratives, practices, and temporalities of contagion. Crip and queer mark out, and indeed, flaunt the failures of normativity. And, in their fierce assertion of the possibility of an outside or more-than-one, crip and queer share a striking range of political and imaginative affinities. Feminist scholars have variously theorized queer and crip as unsettling, strange, twisted, unintelligible, or disruptive (Ahmed 2006; Butler 1993; Kafer 2013; McRuer 2006; Muñoz 2009; Kuppers 2011; Sandahl 2003; Chen 2012; Puar 2012; Johnson 2015; Clare 2001; McRuer and Mollow 2012). Building upon and extending these insights, this issue traces the multiple and unexpected ways queer and crip influence and infect one another” (p. vii).
Fritsch, K., Hamraie, A., Mills, M., & Serlin, D. (2019). Special Section: Crip Technoscience. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 5(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v5i1.
“This special section of Catalyst maps the central nodes of the emerging field of crip technoscience, which we situate at the intersection of feminist technoscience studies and critical disability studies. Crip technoscience marks areas of overlap between these fields as well as productive disciplinary and political tensions. Our section brings together critical perspectives on disability and science and technology in order to grapple with historical and contemporary debates related to digital and emerging technologies, treatments, risk, and practices of access, design, health, and enhancement” (pp. 1-2).
Goodrow, G. (2019). Biopower, disability and capitalism: Neoliberal eugenics and the future of ART regulation. Duke Journal of Gender Law & Policy, 26(139), 137-155.
Discourse around reproductive and contraceptive technology in the United States is typically organized around ideas of autonomy, privacy, and free choice. The dichotomy of ‘pro-choice’ and ‘pro-life’ structures all debates on the topic, and the political framework of neoliberalism channels discussion into prepackaged frameworks of cost-benefit analysis and the primacy of free market choice. However, an examination of history and present policy developments paints a different picture. This Note argues that access to and regulation around contraception, abortion, and overall reproductive health and technology has been informed by and continues to interact with ideas of biopower and both positive and negative eugenics, and that neoliberal conceptions of free reproductive choice ignore the implications of this connection. Part II traces the history of the eugenics movement in America, exemplified by forced and coerced sterilization of people considered mentally or physically ‘degenerate,’ particularly those confined to institutions, and explores the rhetoric in early contraceptive-focused treatises and court decisions that reflect eugenicist views. Part III analyzes the modern trends on legal access to and regulation of reproductive and contraceptive technology and its interaction with race, socioeconomic status, and, in particular, disability (one of the more anxiety-producing categories of humanity in the neoliberal era). In Part IV, the Note goes on to argue that construction of a rational and compassionate legal framework where a woman’s right to choose is preserved (or revived) and the humanity of disabled persons is also respected is not only possible, but essential. A truly feminist reproductive framework must be built on justice, not market choice, and must respect both the agency and autonomy of pregnant women and the humanity and individual subjectivity of disabled persons. Policy strategies towards this end will not be easy, but attention to all the intersectional and overlapping factors that affect women’s reproductive decision-making, especially with regard to disability and reproductive technology, can change the way we view and value disabled personhood in our society.
Gottlieb, R. S. (2015, January). Disability and environment: Cautions and questions. In J. W. Belser (Ed.), Religion, Disability, and the Environment [Special Issue]. Worldviews, 19(1), 74–78. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685357-01901006.
“The essays in this issue utilize and advance current thinking about intersections of environmental crisis, disability, politics, morality, and religion. They are passionate and creative, challenging both common sense and the theoretical status quo. They utilize resources from culture, philosophical critique, political movements, and current events. My critical comments are made in the same spirit as the essays themselves, and in appreciation for the authors’ intellectual accomplishments. I write as the father of a 28 year old daughter, Esther, who has multiple physical, neurological, and development disabilities” (p. 74).
Grassi, S. (2017). “Queer natures”: Feminist ecocriticism, performativities, and Ellen van Neerven’s “Water.” LEA – Lingue e letterature d’Oriente e d’Occidente, 6, 177-192. DOI: https://doi.org/10.13128/LEA-1824-484x-22336.
This paper brings together queer ecological thought, ecofeminism, and feminist ecocriticism to explore forms of embodied resistance against intersectional, complex oppressions of women, races, and lands. It looks at the award-winning Indigenous Australian writer Ellen van Neerven’s short story, ‘Water’ (from the 2014 collection, Heat and Light) to canvas an anti-essentialised queer feminist politics and ethics of care through which to shape utopian futures after sovereignty, after the West, after patriarchy, after whiteness.
Grossman, S. J. (2019, May). Living lexicon for the environmental humanities: Disabilities. Environmental Humanities, 11(1), 242-246. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-7349532.
In this brief entry, I give shape to the affective ties [between disability (visible and invisible) and ravaged environments] by exploring the relation between physical disability and ravaged environments as one of resonance and echo and not as a canonized history or a tested theory. I draw on my personal history, as well as emerging work in disability studies and environmental humanities, in order to literalize these resonances and echoes across nature-cultures” (p. 242).
Groulx, M., Freeman, S, & Lemieux, C. (2022, March). Accessible nature beyond city limits – A scoping review. Journal of Outdoor Recreation and Tourism, 37. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jort.2022.10049.
The health and well-being benefits of nature contact are well known, but inequitably distributed across society. Focusing on the access needs of persons with a disability, the purpose of this study was to systematically examine research on the accessibility of nature-based tourism and recreation spaces outside of urban/community settings. Following a scoping review methodology, this study sought to examine policies, services, physical infrastructures, and regulatory standards intended to enable equitable use of nature-based settings by individuals of all ages and abilities, particularly persons with a disability. In total, 41 relevant studies were identified and analyzed. Findings indicate that there are considerable gaps in the provision of services and information that enable self-determination in the use and enjoyment of nature, and that accessibility in nature-based settings is conceptualized through three interrelated policy/design pathways: the adaptation pathway, the accommodation pathway, and the universal design pathway. As a whole, accessibility policy and standards research specific to natural settings outside of urban/community settings is highly limited.
Management implications: There are growing calls to promote inclusive nature experiences in tourism and recreation spaces outside of community settings. Management of such spaces must reconcile equity concerns with a host of other priorities like environmental conservation. In the case of promoting universal accessibility, few studies offer insight into the detailed standards that must be met to create barrier-free access, let alone how to integrate such standards with other management priorities. Transdisciplinary research partnerships that involve management personnel, environmental and public health researchers, and persons with a disability are needed to identify effective management synergies.
Grue, J., & Lundbad, M. (2019). The biopolitics of disability and animality in Harriet McBryde Johnson. In N. Watson & S. Vehmas (Eds.), Routledge Handbook of Disability Studies (2nd ed.) (pp. 117-126). New York and London: Routledge.
“This chapter represents a multidisciplinary and collaborative approach to an enduring problem in disability studies, namely the valuation of different lives and kinds of lives. The authors believe that this problem can be explored in interesting ways if disability studies and human animal studies interact more closely. Historically, the academic fields that study disability and animality have not been in close communication. In fact, their relationship can perhaps more accurately be described as being wary of the implications of findings in the other field. We feel, however, that communication – and collaboration – may turn out to be essential. This is partly because key problem areas that concern both fields, including the criteria according to which different lives are valued and what exactly constitutes a life that is worth protecting, are also approached through other lines of inquiry, including the neo-utilitarianism that is most closely associated with the philosopher and ethicist Peter Singer. In Singer’s approach (admittedly simplified), capacities for higher cognitive functions and for suffering often become the major criteria that are deployed across species boundaries in order to determine the relative value of different beings, and thereby the lives of many animals and disabled people are potentially devalued. The 2002 debate between Singer and Harriet McBryde Johnson, one of the major disability activists of her generation, is one of the points of departure for this chapter. In a much vaunted encounter at Princeton University, USA, Johnson defended the intrinsic value of the lives of human beings with disabilities, while effectively refusing to countenance Singer’s position that species boundaries cannot by themselves constitute grounds for distinguishing between different forms of life. In this chapter, we delve deeper into what lies beneath the Singer-Johnson encounter, along with Johnson’s other writing, to consider the broader issues at stake. The chapter is structured as a dialogue. This reflects our desire not to conflate or artificially collapse animality studies and disability studies into a single disciplinary endeavour, but rather to find those areas and problems to which both fields have something important to contribute. We hope that the text will read not as a debate, but as an exploratory conversation with the shared purpose of finding out what disability studies and animality studies can teach each other, as well as other disciplines” (p. 117).
Hamraie, A. (2018). Enlivened city: Inclusive design, biopolitics, and the philosophy of liveability. Built Environments, 44(1), 77-104. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2148/benv.44.1.77.
Shortly after the United States announced its withdrawal from the Paris climate accords, mayors of global cities committed to addressing climate change via urban-scale projects aimed at promoting liveable, sustainable, and healthy communities. While such projects are taken for granted as serving the common good, this paper addresses the ideological dimensions of planning liveable cities with health promotion in mind. Liveability, I argue, is a normative ideology wherein liveliness and activation perform affective roles, associating urban design methods with feel-good imagined futures while rendering built structures as polemics against disabled and racialized populations. Using Nashville, Tennessee, a mid-sized US city, as a case study, the paper parses the progressive vision of the liveable city from the ideologies, political economies, and development practices that simultaneously activate some lives while excluding others.
Hamraie, A., & Fritsch, K. (2019). Crip technoscience manifesto. In K. Fritsch, A. Hamraie, M. Mills, & D. Serlin (Eds.), Special Section on Crip Technoscience. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 5(1), 1-34. DOI: https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v5i1.29607.
As disabled people engaged in disability community, activism, and scholarship, our collective experiences and histories have taught us that we are effective agents of world-building and -dismantling toward more socially just relations. The grounds for social justice and world-remaking, however, are frictioned; technologies, architectures, and infrastructures are often designed and implemented without committing to disability as a difference that matters. This manifesto calls attention to the powerful, messy, non-innocent, contradictory, and nevertheless crucial work of what we name as ‘crip technoscience,’ practices of critique, alteration, and reinvention of our material-discursive world. Disabled people are experts and designers of everyday life. But we also harness technoscience for political action, refusing to comply with demands to cure, fix, or eliminate disability. Attentive to the intersectional workings of power and privilege, we agitate against independence and productivity as requirements for existence. Instead, we center technoscientific activism and critical design practices that foster disability justice.
Hart, D. (2022). Finding the Weight of Things: Larry Eigner’s Ecrippoetics. University of Alabama Press.
Larry Eigner (1927–1996) wrote thousands of poems in his lifetime, despite profound physical limitations caused by cerebral palsy. Using only the thumb and index finger of his right hand, Eigner generated a torrent of urgent and rich language, participating in vital correspondences as well as publishing widely in literary magazines and poetry journals.
While Eigner wrote before the emergence of ecopoetics, his poetry reflected a serious engagement with scientific writing and media, including Rachel Carson’s seminal Silent Spring. Eigner was writing about environmental disasters and climate change long before such concerns took on a moral incumbency. Similarly, Eigner was ahead of his time in his exploration of disability. The field of disability studies has expanded rapidly in the new millennium. Eigner was not an overtly biographical poet, at least as far as his physical limitations were concerned, but his poetry spoke volumes on the idea of embodiment in all its forms.
Finding the Weight of Things: Larry Eigner’s Ecrippoetics is the first full-length study of Eigner’s poetry, covering his entire career from the beginning of his mature work in the 1950s to his last poems of the 1990s. George Hart charts where Eigner’s two central interests intersect, and how their interaction fueled his work as a poet-critic—one whose work has much to tell us about the ecology and embodiment of our futures. Hart sees Eigner’s overlapping concerns for disability, ecology, and poetic form as inextricable, and coins the phrase ecrippoetics here to describe Eigner’s prescient vision.
Hemingway, L., & Priestly, M. (2014). Natural hazards, human vulnerability and disabling societies: A disaster for disabled people? Review of Disabiilty Studies, 2(3).
The policy and research literature on disaster management constructs disabled people as a particularly “vulnerable group.” In this paper, we combine concepts from disaster theory and disability theory to examine this assumption critically. Drawing on primary, secondary and tertiary sources, we assess the vulnerability of disabled people in two globally significant disasters: Hurricane Katrina in August 2005 and the Asian tsunami of December 2004. In both cases, disabled people were adversely affected in terms of their physical safety and access to immediate aid, shelter, evacuation and relief. Using a social model analysis we contest the view that this vulnerability arises from the physical, sensory or cognitive limitations of the individual and show how it may be attributed to forms of disadvantage and exclusion that are socially created. The paper concludes that “natural hazards” are realised disproportionately as “human disasters” for disabled people, and most notably for disabled people in poor communities. Social model approaches and strong disabled people’s organisations are key to building greater resilience to disaster amongst “vulnerable” communities in both high-income and low-income countries.
Heylighen, A. (2008). Sustainable and inclusive design: A matter of knowledge? In R. Imrie & H. Thomas (Eds.), The Environment and Disability: Making the Connections [Special Issue]. Local Environment, 13(6), 531-540. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830802259938.
In analysing parallels between sustainable and inclusive design, the paper investigates reasons for architects’ disappointing uptake of these approaches so far. A common reason seems to be the lack of knowledge that has the applicability required by architectural practice. Researchers produce knowledge on why and how we should accomplish more sustainable practices in building, which rarely filters down to practicing architects. Vice versa, the knowledge developed through architects’ design experiences rarely feeds back into academic research. Moreover, in the case of inclusive design, the user side represents a valuable body of knowledge as well: through their specific interaction with buildings/spaces, users with disabilities appreciate qualities and detect misfits most architects are unaware of. If the uptake of sustainability and inclusiveness in architecture is to be improved, the major challenge thus seems less a need to generate more knowledge than a need to make more effective use of what is already available.
Hickman, L. N. (2015). Lead me beside still waters: Toxic water, Trisomy 21 and a theology of eco-social disability. In J. W. Belser (Ed.), Religion, Disability, and the Environment [Special Issue]. Worldviews, 19(1), 34-50. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1163/15685357-01901003.
Artist Ena Swansea paints a provocative paradox in ‘One’ from her ‘4 Seasons’ quadtych: Is the child in the bathtub playfully holding a bubble, the orb of our global commons, or a crystal ball that portends an ominous future? As the viewer is confronted with the image of a child who, in the middle of an ordinary daily routine, is up to his armpits in a pool of blood red water, the question of water toxicity becomes central in the painting. Working from that image, this paper explores the interaction between water toxicity and Trisomy 21, proposing the need for a ‘precautionary principle’ to guide decisionmaking. The rationale for that principle is developed here through a study of communities with heightened links between water toxicity and Trisomy 21, a deepened theology of water across worldviews drawing on the work of John Hart’s Sacramental Commons, and a proposed model for ‘eco-social disability.’ Because scientific studies linking toxic water and Trisomy 21 are inconclusive, the precautionary principle serves as a guide to prevent the potential disabling effects of toxic water causing unjust generation of disablement.
Hilton, E. (2022, May). Building a more inclusive climate movement: Climate change and disabilities. Journal of Environmental Health, 84(9), 34-36.
In November 2021, world leaders gathered at the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference of the Parties (COP26) to discuss global climate policy and the urgent need to address harmful emissions that arc accelerating global warming and extreme weather events devastating communities worldwide. Given the importance of this event and the need to hear from diverse voices, it was disappointing that the Israeli Energy Minister Karine Elharrar could not attend the first day of discussions because she uses a wheelchair and the meeting venue was not accessible. Climate change is accelerating with visible impacts around the world. Climate change can also cause increased disease and worsened physical, mental, and community health conditions. Exacerbating the outsized impact of climate change factors on people with disabilities is the fact that actions being pursued by those in the environmental and environmental justice movements can be at odds with the needs of people with disabilities.
Hughes, B. (2019). The abject and the vulnerable: The twain shall meet: Reflections on disability in the moral economy. The Sociological Review Monographs, 67(4), 829-846. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0038026119854259.
The meaning of impairment is often Janus-faced. On the one hand, it is associated with defect, deformity, monstrosity and other tropes that carry the weight of ontological ruin, haunting narratives of physical, mental or sensory catastrophe that disturb the normate sense of being human. Impairment is invested with the debilitating social and moral consequences that symbolise disability. Disavowed and repudiated by the non-disabled community, disability represents the murky, shadow side of existence that separates normal embodiment from its benighted, abject ‘other’. Disgust – on the part of non-disabled, ‘clean and proper’ subjects – is the likely emotional response to the pollution and impropriety that disability represents. The emotional relation between the two parties may be mired in normate repulsion.
Hyatt, B. (2021, August 18). Disability-Inclusive Local Climate Action Planning in the United States. Vibrant Environment Blog [Website]. Washington, DC: Environmental Law Institute.
“In order to protect people with disabilities from the worst impacts of climate change, local planners must build disability-inclusive climate action plans that draw upon lessons learned domestically from previous natural disasters and from abroad. They must take decisive steps to ensure the active participation of people with disabilities in the climate action planning process. If carried out effectively, these actions will save lives.”
Iengo, I. (2022). Endometriosis and environmental violence: An embodied, situated ecopolitics from the Land of Fires in Campania, Italy. Environmental Humanities, 14(2), 341–360. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/22011919-9712412.
This toxic autobiography seeks to open the conversation around the intersecting injustices marking the epistemological, material, political, and porous entanglements between endometriosis, the bodily inflammatory chronic condition the author is affected by, and the toxic waste fires raging in the territory known as the Land of Fires, between the provinces of Naples and Caserta, in southern Italy. Thinking with the sprouting intersection of environmental humanities and disability justice, while rooted in a critical environmental justice and transfeminist standpoint, the article uncovers the toxic embodiment where bodies and places are enmeshed. Although a growing body of literature acknowledges the role of chemical buildup and endocrine-disrupting toxins in the occurrence of endometriosis, the author delineates the epistemic injustices that keep this relationship silent in mainstream medical discourses. Through the blend of environmental memoir, embodied knowledge, activist campaigns, and medical literature, the article exposes the accumulation of environmental, medical, ableist, misogynist, and capitalist slow violence that living with endometriosis brings about. While emerging from the materiality of experiencing trauma and pain, the article reclaims the emancipatory possibilities that can be articulated. From the politicization of an “invisible” illness standpoint, the article proposes a toxic autobiography in which transfeminist, environmental, and disability justice politics are collectively affirmed through situated ecopolitics of response-ability that accounts for interdependence and self-determination of marginal bodies and territories.
Ignagni, E., Chandler, E., Collins, K., Darby, A., & Liddiard, K. (2019, June). Designing access together: Surviving the demand for resilience. In K. Aubrecht & N. La Monica (Eds.), Survivals, Ruptures, Resiliences: Perspectives from Disability Scholarship, Art and Activism [Special Issue]. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 8(4), 293-320. DOI: https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v8i4.536.
Together we engaged in a project to co-design and co-create a fictional near-future world that would enable us to interrogate our present techno-social dilemmas. Accessibility was central to our workshop for the way that access is always central to enacting crip, mad, Deaf, and spoonie communities. Without access, we cannot meet, discuss, share, struggle, fight, dismantle or create. Crucially, access was tied to our desire to co-create crip near-futures.
Imgrund, M. (2018, August 8). Eco-ableism: What it is, what it matters and how it affects disabled people. Eco Warrior Princess [Website/Blog].
Blog post defining and discussing “eco-ableism” in response the author’s research into environmental activism and calls to ban plastic straws, without considering the consequences to disabled people.
Imrie, R., & Thomas, H. (2008) Guest editorial: The interrelationships between environment and disability. In R. Imrie & H. Thomas (Eds.), The Environment and Disability: Making the Connections [Special Issue]. Local Environment, 13(6), 477-483. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830802259748.
“This issue of Local Environment contributes to the process of bridging the gulf between the two social movements and sets of substantive and theoretical concerns, which, we argue, have much to learn from, and contribute to, each other. Inevitably, this collection of papers touches on a selective sub-set of issues, often suggesting scope for further research. In particular, they identify, and take forward, themes of dependence/community, or how disabled people are able to forge ways of changing environmental contexts; the role of experts and their knowledge; and the development of policy-related tools to facilitate environmental learning and change. The papers highlight that a great deal remains to be done to map and relate the discussions in the sprawling cross- disciplinary literatures that are characteristic of both environmentalism and disability” (pp. 478-479).
International Disability Alliance. (n.d.). Towards COP26: Enhancing Disability Inclusion in Climate Action [Disability Inclusive Climate Action COP26 Advocacy Paper]. New York and Geneva: Author.
“This document highlights the disproportionate impact of climate change and the possible adverse impacts of climate mitigation and adaptation activities on persons with disabilities. It also proposes measures to ensure the inclusion and participation of persons with disabilities and their representative organisations in climate-related decision-making” (p. 1).
Jampel, C. (2018). Intersections of disability justice, racial justice and environmental justice. Environmental Sociology, 4(1), 122-135. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/23251042.2018.1424497.
This paper argues that environmental justice (EJ) scholarship, activism and policy that aims to ‘be intersectional’ by definition needs to include disability and ableism and, moreover, will benefit from specifically considering disability as a category of analysis. Incorporating intersectionality into EJ work means considering the implications of intersectional theory for collective liberation, for explanations of the sources and consequences of multiple systems of oppression and for theorizing connections among related justice struggles. This paper first takes each of these in turn, providing an explanation of what constitutes an intersectional approach. It then demonstrates how a disability justice approach further enriches ongoing work at the intersections of EJ and racial justice.
Jandrić, P,. & Ford, D. R. (Eds.). (2022). Postdigital ecopedagogies: Genealogies, contradictions, and possible futures [Postdigital Science and Education Series] (pp 3–23). Springer. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-030-97262-2.
This book conceptualizes ecopedagogies as forms of educational innovation and critique that emerge from, negotiate, debate, produce, resist, and/or overcome the shifting and expansive postdigital ecosystems of humans, machines, nonhuman animals, objects, stuff, and other forms of matter. Contemporary postdigital ecosystems are determined by a range of new bioinformational reconfigurations in areas including capitalism, imperialism, settler-colonialism, and ontological hierarchies more generally. Postdigital ecopedagogies name a condition, a question, and a call for experimentation to link pedagogical research and practice to challenges of our moment. They pose living, breathing, expanding, contracting, fluid, and spatial conditions and questions of our non-chronological present. This book presents analyses of that present from a wide spectrum of disciplines, including but not limited to education studies, philosophy, politics, sociology, arts, and architecture.
Jodoin, S., Ananthamoorthy, N., & Lofts, K. (2020). A Disability Rights Approach to Climate Governance. Ecology Law Quarterly, 47(1) 73-116. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.15779/Z38W37KW48.
Despite international recognition of the greater vulnerability of persons with disabilities to climate change, disability issues have received little attention from practitioners, policy makers, and scholars in this field. As countries move forward with measures to combat climate change and adapt to its impacts, it is critical to understand how these efforts can be designed and implemented in ways that can respect, protect, and fulfill the human rights of disabled persons. Drawing on the human rights model of disability enshrined in the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, we set out a disability rights approach to climate governance that identifies the differential impacts of climate change for disabled persons and outlines the principles, obligations, and standards for designing and adopting accessible climate mitigation and adaptation policies and programs. On the whole, we argue that States should identify and pursue synergies between the realization of disability rights and the pursuit of initiatives to decarbonize their economies as well as prepare their societies against future climate impacts. In addition to fulfilling the rights of persons with disabilities and fostering a more inclusive world, disability-inclusive climate solutions can have resonant outcomes that can enable a greater share of the population to contribute to the emergence of carbon neutrality and enhance the climate resilience of society as whole.
Kafer, A. (2005). Hiking boots and wheelchairs: Ecofeminism, the body, and physical disability. In B. S. Andrew J. C. Keller, & L. H. Schwartzmann (Eds.), Feminist interventions in ethics and politics: Feminist ethics and social theory (pp. 131-150). Lanham, MD: Rowman.
“In this essay, I trace the ways in which ecofeminisms—theories and practices that link the oppression of women and other marginalized groups to the degradation of nature–continue the repudiation of disability that occurs in mainstream discourses about the environment. Most ecofeminist analyses of difference and marginalization, for example, neglect to incorporate examinations of disability oppression, and the issue of disability access is rarely raised. Moreover, many ecofeminist accounts of nature are predicated on an assumption of the nondisabled body, enacting an implicit theoretical disavowal of disability and disabled bodies. Ecofeminisms tend to assume that an engagement with nature requires a deep immersion experience in nature, and that such an immersion experience requires a nondisabled body. There appears to be no room within ecofeminism for the disabled body” (p. 132).
Kafer, A. (2013). Bodies of nature: The environmental politics of disability. In Feminist, queer, crip (pp. 129-148). Bloomington: Indiana University Press.
‘Although concern with the environment has long been an animating force in
disability studies and activism, “environment” in this context typically refers to the
built environment of buildings, sidewalks, and transportation technologies. Indeed,
the social model of disability is premised on concern for the built environment, stressing
that people are disabled not by their bodies but by their inaccessible environments.
(The wheelchair user confronting a flight of steps is probably the most common illustration
of this argument.) Yet the very pervasiveness of the social model has prevented
disability studies from engaging with the wider environment of wilderness, parks,
and nonhuman nature because the social model seems to falter in such settings. Stairs
can be replaced or supplemented with ramps and elevators, but what about a steep
rock face or a sandy beach? Like stairs, both pose problems for most wheelchair users,
but, argues Tom Shakespeare, “it is hard to blame the natural environment on social
arrangements.”1 He asserts that the natural environment—rock cliffs, steep mountains,
and sandy beaches—offers proof that “people with impairments will always be disadvantaged
by their bodies”; the social model cannot adequately address the barriers
presented by those kinds of spaces.2 I, too, recognize the limitations of the social
model and the need to engage with the materiality of bodies, but I am not so sure that
the “natural environment” is as distinct from the “built environment” as Shakespeare
suggests. On the contrary, the natural environment is also “built”: literally so in the
case of trails and dams, metaphorically so in the sense of cultural constructions and
deployments of “nature,” “natural,” and “the environment.”
Disability studies could benefit from the work of environmental scholars and activists who describe how “social arrangements” have been mapped onto “natural environments” (pp. 129-130).
Kenney, M. (2019). Fables of response-ability: Feminist science studies as didactic literature. In K. Fritsch, A. Hamraie, M. Mills, & D. Serlin (Eds.), Special Section on Crip Technoscience. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 5(1), 1-39. DOI: https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v5i1.29582.
Recent literature in feminist science studies is rich with stories about how we are constituted by and in relation to (sometimes toxic) chemicals. Scholars such as Natasha Myers, Mel Chen, and Eva Hayward have written vivid accounts of the chemical ecologies of late industrialism, arguing that we cannot think of bodies as separate from environments. In this article, I read feminist scholarship on chemical ecologies as fables of responseability, stories that teach us to attend and respond within our more-than-human world. Amplifying their didactic registers, I pay attention to moments in the texts that are speculative, poetic, and personal, moments that work on the bodies, imaginations, and sensoria of their readers. By reading these texts together, I hope to both acknowledge the didactic work that feminist science studies scholars are already doing and encourage others to experiment with telling their own fables of response-ability.
Kett, M., Sriskanthan, G., & Cole, E. (2021, December). Disability and Climate Justice: A Research Project. New York: Open Society Foundations.
“We commissioned this report in order to learn more about the interconnections between climate and disability, and to listen to practitioners on the ground around the world, with the aim of developing a set of recommendations to move the agenda of reciprocal engagement forward” (p. 4).
Kim, E. (2019). Continuing presence of discarded bodies: Occupation harm, necroactivism, and living justice. In K. Fritsch, A. Hamraie, M. Mills, & D. Serlin (Eds.), Special Section on Crip Technoscience. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 5(1), 1-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v5i1.29616.
This essay explores the coexistence of struggles against the foreclosure of disabled people’s lives and against occupational illness, debilitation, and deaths caused by the manufacturing process of electronics in South Korea. Starting from the two activist campsites set up in Seoul and the historical backgrounds of occupational health movement, I draw on two documentary films, The Empire of Shame (2014) and Factory Complex (2015), that depict workers who became ill and those who died due to toxic exposure at semiconductor manufacturing plants. Beyond commemoration, necro-activism emerges in the form of persistent involvements of dead bodies, mourning, and objects representing death as important agents for making claims for justice. Taking into account political and historical differences of locations in which disabled people are positioned differently in the global order redirects us from the language of worth toward sociality, collective reframing of suffering and disability, and justice as an ongoing practice of everyday life and afterlife.
King, M. M., & Gregg, M. A. (2022, January). Disability and climate change: A critical realist model of climate justice. Sociology Compass, 16(1), e12954. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/soc4.12954.
Existing literature on climate change as an issue of environmental justice documents the heightened vulnerability of people with disabilities to the effects of climate change. Additionally, there are numerous studies showing that access to information is a prerequisite for perceiving risk and taking action. Building on this work, our review seeks to understand how physical disability relates to perceptions of climate-related risk and adaptations to climate-related events. We introduce a critical realist model of climate justice to understand the relationships between the environmental features that disable, risk perception and information seeking, and adaptive capacity and resilience to climate change. In understanding the vulnerability and adaptive capacity of people with disabilities to climate change, this review synthesizes research on one of the U.S.’s largest minority communities with the goals of better understanding how vulnerable populations cope with climate change and integrating them into climate action and policy.
Kosanic, A., Petzold, J. Martın-Lopez, B., & Razanajatovo, M. (2022, April). An inclusive future: Disabled populations in the context of climate and environmental change. In O. P. Dube, V. Galaz & W. Solecki (Eds.), Open Issue 2022 [Themed Issue]. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 55(101159). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cosust.2022.101159.
Climate and environmental change impacts are projected to increase, constituting a significant challenge for meeting the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) while disproportionately affecting disabled populations. However, current research lacks knowledge on context-specific impacts of climate and environmental change on disabled populations. We use the environmental justice perspective that emphasises distributional, recognitional, and procedural dimensions regarding disabled populations to understand impacts and adaptation concerns and their implications for achieving the SDGs.
Kuppers, P. (2022). Eco Soma: Pain and Joy in Speculative Performance Encounters [Art After Nature Series]. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
In Eco Soma, Petra Kuppers asks readers to be alert to their own embodied responses to art practice and to pay attention to themselves as active participants in a shared sociocultural world. Reading contemporary performance encounters and artful engagements, this book models a disability culture sensitivity to living in a shared world, oriented toward more socially just futures.
Eco soma methods mix and merge realities on the edges of lived experience and site-specific performance. Kuppers invites us to become moths, sprout gills, listen to our heart’s drum, and take starships into crip time. And fantasy is central to these engagements: feeling/sensing monsters, catastrophes, golden lines, heartbeats, injured sharks, dotted salamanders, kissing mammoths, and more. Kuppers illuminates ecopoetic disability culture perspectives, contending that disabled people and their co-conspirators make art to live in a changing world, in contact with feminist, queer, trans, racialized, and Indigenous art projects. By offering new ways to think, frame, and feel “environments,” Kuppers focuses on art-based methods of envisioning change and argues that disability can offer imaginative ways toward living well and with agency in change, unrest, and challenge.
Traditional somatics teach us how to fine-tune our introspective senses and to open up the world of our own bodies, while eco soma methods extend that attention toward the creative possibilities of the reach between self, others, and the land. Eco Soma proposes an art/life method of sensory tuning to the inside and the outside simultaneously, a method that allows for a wider opening toward ethical cohabitation with human and more-than-human others.
This text is also available via Open Access on the University of Minnesota Press website. As noted on the press’s website, “Retail e-book files for this title are screen-reader friendly with images accompanied by short alt text and/or extended descriptions.”
Landorf, C., Brewer, G., & Sheppard, L. A. (2008). The urban environment and sustainable ageing: Critical issues and assessment indicators. In R. Imrie & H. Thomas (Eds.), The Environment and Disability: Making the Connections [Special Issue]. Local Environment, 13(6), 497-514. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830802259896.
Later life is a diverse experience but for some it is associated with a variety of impairments that impact on quality of life. Attention to date has focused on supporting ageing in place through modification to the home environment to compensate for increasing levels of impairment. This paper explores a further link between later life and the environment beyond the home. In doing so, the paper argues that the disabling impact of the urban environment on older people should be an essential consideration in the urban sustainability debate. A multi-dimensional framework combining sustainable development and ageing in place criteria is used to test the extent to which three sustainable urban environment assessment tools address the issue. The findings suggest that the capacity of an urban environment to support ageing in place is not being assessed as an integral element of a sustainable urban environment. Identifying factors that influence healthy later life will allow the inclusion of a later-life perspective in future urban sustainability planning and assessment models.
Leone, M. L. (2019, Spring). Reframing disability through an ecocritical perspective in Sara Mesa’s Cara de pan. In E. Fernández & V. L. Ketz (Eds.), Re-imagining Female Disabilities in Luso-Hispanic Women’s Cultural Production [Special Issue]. Journal of Gender and Sexuality Studies / Revista de Estudios de Género y Sexualidades, 45(1), 161-184. DOI: https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.14321/jgendsexustud.45.1.0161.
This article establishes a dialogue between disability studies and ecocriticism to analyze Sara Mesa’s novel Cara de pan (2018), which narrates the relationship between a thirteen-year-old girl bullied at school and a fifty-four-year-old man with an atypical appearance who fixates on limited topics. The analysis examines the hegemony of normativity and dominant social narratives about disability, gender, and sexuality. Grounded in the idea that people with disabilities actively intervene in their environment, the essay argues that the characters’ environmental empathy supports the need for a diversity of experiences and perspectives, positively resituating disability and autism.
Leong, G. (2020). The impacts of climate change on persons with disabilities: An interdisciplinary approach to disability, climate change and policy studies. Pacific Rim International Conference on Disability and Diversity Conference Proceedings. Honolulu, Hawai’i: Center on Disability Studies, University of Hawai’i at Mānoa.
The overall intent of this study is to address the impacts and expected impacts of climate change and disasters on persons with disabilities (PWD), while exploring international policies for resilience initiatives. As a portion of the overall study, this paper was motivated by the recent United Nations Human Rights Council (UN-HRC) (2019) resolution adoption on climate change and the rights of persons with disabilities, which urges governments to adopt a disability-inclusive approach when dealing with climate change strategies. The objective of this paper is to explore academia & research’s role in adaptive capacity approaches to adopting the UN-HRC resolution through a multidisciplinary intersection of disability, climate change and policy studies. The objective is supported by empirical research, theoretical models, and inclusive strategies aimed to improve the safety and quality of life for PWD. This paper’s scope is covered through the development of a resilience framework that includes vulnerability index: exposure, sensitivity, and adaptive capacity (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC], 2008); and three sets of engagement: theory, application, and praxis (Cho, Crenshaw, & McCall, 2013). Ultimately, the paper’s proposed framework will present an evidence-based, disability-inclusive resilience approach to addressing climate change aimed to influence public perception and policy decision-making. This paper is a tool for disability, climate change, and policy studies academics/researchers, and government officials interested in academia & research’s contribution to resilience planning.
Linett, M. V. (2020). Literary bioethics: Animality, disability, and the human [Crip Series]. New York: NYU Press.
Uses literature to understand and remake our ethics regarding nonhuman animals, old human beings, disabled human beings, and cloned posthumans.
Lundbad, M. (Ed.). (2020, Autumn). Animality/Posthumanism/Disability [Special Issue]. New Literary History, 51(4). DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/nlh.2020.0040.
“The title and focus of this special issue is meant to foreground the potential and pitfalls of thinking through critiques of ‘the human’ in relation to animality and disability within the framework of posthumanism, broadly conceived” (p. v).
Articles in this special issue include:
- Animality/ Posthumanism/ Disability: An Introduction
- Being Human, Being Animal: Species Membership in Extraordinary Times
- Companion Thinking: A Response
- The Art of Interspecies Care
- Beyond Caring: Human-Animal Interdependency: A Response
- We Have Laws for That: A Response to Jack Halberstam
- Abnormal Animals
- Restriction, Norm, Umwelt: A Response
- Disanimality: Disability Studies and Animal Advocacy
- The Political Economy of Disanimality: A Response
- On the Transhumanist Imaginary and the Biopolitics of Contingent Embodiment
- “Where Are You Taking Us?”: A Response
- The Biopolitical Drama of Joseph Beuys
- Animal Death as National Debility: Climate, Agriculture, and Syrian War Narrative
- Atmospherics of War: A Response
Lundblad, M., & Grue, J. (2021). Companion prosthetics: Avatars of animality and disability. In S. McHugh, R. McKay, & J. Miller (Eds.), The Palgrave Handbook of Animals and Literature (pp. 557-574). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.
“Avatar is rife with prosthetic relationships that blur the lines between human and animal, human and machine, and even animate and inanimate objects, raising the possibility of more productive conversations about the interface between disability and animality. Our argument in this chapter is that the problematic aspects of the film are not only inter-related, but also productive for developing what we will call companion prosthetics. We develop this concept from origins in disability studies, animality studies, and human-animal studies, illustrating the fertile new ground that exists when these fields meet” (p. 2).
Lupinacci, J., Happel-Parkins, A., & Lupinacci, M. W. (2018). Ecocritical contestations with neoliberalism: Teaching to (un)learn “normalcy.” In S. Gaches (Ed.), Preparing Teachers to Confront Neoliberal Discourses and to Teach Children Equitably [Special Issue]. Policy Futures in Education, 16(6), 652–668. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F1478210318760465.
This article seeks to address often overlooked cultural assumptions embedded within neoliberalism; specifically, the researchers explore what ecofeminist Val Plumwood describes as centric thinking, leading to a logic of domination. The authors argue that social justice educators and activists who are committed to critiquing neoliberalism must take into consideration the ways in which a logic of domination undergirds the unjust and destructive social and economic ideologies and policies that constitute neoliberalism. The authors examine and share pedagogical moments from experiences in teacher education seeking to: (a) challenge and disrupt dualistic thinking; (b) interrupt perceptions of hegemonic normalcy—referring to a socio-cultural process by which actions, behaviors, and diverse ways of interpreting the world are perceived by dominant society as ‘fitting in’ and being socially acceptable; and, (c) contest false notions of independence—the degree to which an individual is perceived as able to meet their social and economic responsibilities on their own—as measures of success in schools and society. The authors detail how they work with(in) teacher education programs to introduce how an ecocritical approach, drawing from ecofeminist frameworks, identifies and examines the impacts of neoliberal policies and practices dominated by ‘free’ market ideology. The authors assert that educators, especially teacher educators, can challenge harmful discourses that support the problematic neoliberal understandings about independence that inform Western cultural norms and assumptions. Concluding, the authors share a conceptualization for (un)learning the exploitation inextricable from the policies and practices of neoliberalism.
Martínez Benedí, P. (2020, Fall/Winter). A Different Side of the Story: On Neurodiversity and Trees. Iperstoria No. 16, 259-277.
This essay analyzes Richard Powers’s The Overstory (2018), a novel that ostensibly demands an eco-critical reading, under the lens of neurodiversity. Focusing on the idiosyncrasies of sensory perception in autism, the essay explores the atypical engagement with the more-than-human that neurodiversity (and specifically autism) fosters—a kind of engagement that deeply destabilizes neuro-normative, human-centered subjectivity, opening up to more egalitarian ways of relation with the environment. In a novel populated by neurodivergent characters with a keen ecological sensibility, Powers comes close to imagining this kind of non-hierarchical connection with the natural world. The essay explores how neurodiversity works in the novel at a characterological, thematic, and structural level, functioning as a bridge between human and non-human scales. In this way, neurodiversity finely glosses and articulates the kind of animistic, environmental message that Powers instils in his Pulitzer prize winning novel.
Mathers, A. R. (2008, August). Hidden voices: The participation of people with learning disabilities in the experience of public open space. In R. Imrie & H. Thomas (Eds.), The Environment and Disability: Making the Connections [Special Issue]. Local Environment, 13(6), 515-529. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13549830802259912.
The self-advocacy of people with learning disabilities (PWLD) is an issue of high current importance. In the UK 210,000 people have severe and profound learning disabilities, whilst 25 in every 1000 of the population in England has a mild to moderate learning disability (Department of Health, Valuing people: a new strategy for learning disability for the 21st century, London, Stationery Office, 2001). At the most restricted end of the communication spectrum, PWLD are often forgotten members of their communities, whose label “learning disabled” wrongly causes confusion and fear. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 ensured “reasonable” adjustments must be made to environments and buildings so they are accessible to all. However, DDA legislation remains a predominately physical access issue with great attention focused on the built environment and little attention given to the experience of place or external environments. Researchers argue that it is attitudes and interactions in the person–environment relationship that have allowed our “disablist” society to label and segregate members of its community as “disabled”. The research comprised a longitudinal study working with PWLD participants at two sites in Yorkshire and in the northeast of England. This paper examines the resulting visual communication toolkit, able to unlock the experience of public open spaces by PWLD and, when used in context, to aid greater social participation.
“Past and present catastrophes, such as Hurricane Katrina and the current COVID-19 pandemic, have shown how disabled people are often forgotten by society. The threat of climate change, flooding, heatwaves, droughts and wildfires will undoubtedly heighten their state of vulnerability. What will it take for society to value disabled lives?
According to the social model of disability, mental or physical impairments are not necessarily disabling by themselves. In most cases, they are turned into disabilities due to a society that fails to account for differences from the normative
We live in a deeply inaccessible society, where many are cut off from jobs, town halls, art galleries, educational institutions, restaurants, cinemas and other physical locations needed for personal development, socialisation and entertainment. This is because their bodies and mind, outside of their control, do not conform to how society thinks a human should function. Therefore, it is of little surprise when climate change threatens them disproportionately.”
Mitchell, D. T., Antebi, S., & Snyder, S. L. (Eds.). The Matter of Disability: Materiality, Biopolitics, Crip Affect [Corporealities: Discourses of Disability Series]. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3998/mpub.9365129.
The Matter of Disability returns disability to its proper place as an ongoing historical process of corporeal, cognitive, and sensory mutation operating in a world of dynamic, even cataclysmic, change. The book’s contributors offer new theorizations of human and nonhuman embodiments and their complex evolutions in our global present, in essays that explore how disability might be imagined as participant in the ‘complex elaboration of difference,’ rather than something gone awry in an otherwise stable process. This alternative approach to materiality sheds new light on the capacities that exist within the depictions of disability that the book examines, including Spider-Man, Of Mice and Men, and Bloodchild.
Nocella, A. J., Bentley, J. K. C., & Duncan, J. M. (Eds.). (2012). Earth, animal, and disability liberation: The rise of the eco-ability movement. New York: Peter Lang.
This provocative and groundbreaking book is the first of its kind to propose the concept of Eco-ability: the intersectionality of the ecological world, persons with disabilities, and nonhuman animals. Rooted in disability studies and rights, environmentalism, and animal advocacy, this book calls for a social justice theory and movement that dismantles constructed «normalcy», ableism, speciesism, and ecological destruction while promoting mutual interdependence, collaboration, respect for difference, and inclusivity of our world. Eco-ability provides a positive, liberating, and empowering philosophy for educators and activists alike.
Nocella, A. J., & George, A. E. (in press). Vegans on speciesism and ableism: Ecoability voices for disability and animal justice [Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation]. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3726/b18574.
This powerful intersectional social justice book examines animal, disability, and environmental oppression and justice. Located in disability studies, sociology, environmental justice, food justice, and critical animal studies, this book engages the reader in an intersectional ecological manner for an inclusive interdependent global community. This outstanding collection of original articles by scholars from around the world discusses the need to acknowledge the relationships among nonhuman animals, those with disabilities, and the environment. Adaptive sports from mountain biking to rock climbing is saving the lives of those with disabilities from extreme depression and suicide at the same time those with disabilities are becoming some of the most loyal advocates for defending the environment from human destruction. Those with disabilities are being welcomed into the animal rights movement and also introduced to nonhuman animals not as merely service animals, but as friends, allies, and companions.
Nocella, A. J., George, A. E., & Lupinacci, J. (Eds.). (2019). Animals, disability, and the end of capitalism: Voices from the eco-ability movement [Radical Animal Studies and Total Liberation Series]. New York: Peter Lang Publishing, Inc. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3726/b14134.
Animals, Disability, and the End of Capitalism is a collection of essays from the leaders in the field of eco-ability. The book is rooted in critical pedagogy, inclusive education, and environmental education. The efforts of diverse disability activists work to weave together the complex diversity and vastly overlooked interconnections among nature, ability, and animals. Eco-ability challenges social constructions, binaries, domination, and normalcy. Contributors challenge the concepts of disability, animal, and nature in relation to human and man. Eco-ability stresses the interdependent relationship among everything and how the effect of one action such as the extinction of a species in Africa can affect the ecosystem in Northern California. Animals, Disability, and the End of Capitalism is timely and offers important critical insight from within the growing movement and the current academic climate for such scholarship. The book also provides insights and examples of radical experiences, pedagogical projects, and perspectives shaped by critical animal studies, critical environmental studies, and critical disability studies.
Nocella, A. J., George, A. E., & Schatz, J. L. (2017). The intersectionality of critical animal, disability, and environmental studies: Toward eco-ability, justice, and liberation [Critical Animal Studies and Theory]. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.
The Intersectionality of Critical Animal, Disability, and Environmental Studies: Toward Eco-ability, Justice, and Liberation is an interdisciplinary collection of theoretical writings on the intersectional liberation of nonhuman animals, the environment, and those with disabilities. As animal consumption raises health concerns and global warming causes massive environmental destruction, this book interweaves these issues and more. This important cutting-edge book lends to the rapidly growing movement of eco-ability, a scholarly field and activist movement influenced by environmental studies, disability studies, and critical animal studies, similar to other intersectional fields and movements such as eco-feminism, environmental justice, food justice, and decolonization. Contributors to this book are in the fields of education, philosophy, sociology, criminology, rhetoric, theology, anthropology, and English.
Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. (2020, April). Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change. New York: United Nations General Assembly.
The present analytical study is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 41/21. In the report, the impacts of climate change on persons with disabilities are examined; human rights obligations and the responsibilities of States and other actors
in relation to disability-inclusive approaches identified; and good practices shared. The
report ends with conclusions and recommendations.
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. (n.d.). Issues in focus: The impact of climate change on the rights of persons with disabilities: OHCHR and climate change [Website]. New York: United Nations General Assembly.
Reports OHCHR’s work on disability-inclusive climate action, including activities, events, and reports.
Ortiz, N. (2022, February). Crip ecologies: Complicate the conversation to reclaim power. Poetry Magazine. Chicago: Poetry Foundation.
“Crip ecologies describe the messy, diverse, and profoundly beautiful ecosystems which exist for disabled people. It is impossible to fit ourselves to a mold that nondisabled people adhere to, which allows capitalism (making money and paying money to live) to flourish, borders to be maintained, and uniform solutions to address some of our most pressing and urgent problems like climate change.”
Preece, B. (2018). Environments, ecologies and climates of crises: Engaging disAbility arts and cultures as creative wilderness. In B. Hadley & D. McDonald (Eds.), The Routledge Handbook of Disability Arts, Culture and Media Studies (pp. 281-294). New York: Routledge.
This chapter provides the premise that Western orientations towards our perceptions of the ‘environment,’ ‘ecology,’ ‘nature,’ and ‘wilderness’ are synonymous with many of our societal perceptions of disability. Though tension between current discourses of disability cultures and environmental restoration remains, people with disabilities are actively positioned to advocate on behalf of variance, deviance, and mutability. There is a tendency for non-disabled environmental justice advocates to highlight the disabling impacts of resource extraction or contamination in ways that treat the tragedy of disabled bodies as self-evident. The social interpretation of disability advocates through disability studies for an embracing of the disabled person into the social/built environment as a recognised necessary phenomenon on a continuum. The effects of the climate crisis have quite possibly forced the need for an exaggerated form of performance – an acceleration of the improvisatory – unto the more-than-human world: inextricably a co-performative paradigm.
Puar, J. K. (2017). The right to maim: Debility, capacity, disability [ANIMA: Critical Race Studies Otherwise Series]. Durham, NC: Duke University Press. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1215/9780822372530.
In The Right to Maim Jasbir K. Puar brings her pathbreaking work on the liberal state, sexuality, and biopolitics to bear on our understanding of disability. Drawing on a stunning array of theoretical and methodological frameworks, Puar uses the concept of “debility”—bodily injury and social exclusion brought on by economic and political factors—to disrupt the category of disability. She shows how debility, disability, and capacity together constitute an assemblage that states use to control populations. Puar’s analysis culminates in an interrogation of Israel’s policies toward Palestine, in which she outlines how Israel brings Palestinians into biopolitical being by designating them available for injury. Supplementing its right to kill with what Puar calls the right to maim, the Israeli state relies on liberal frameworks of disability to obscure and enable the mass debilitation of Palestinian bodies. Tracing disability’s interaction with debility and capacity, Puar offers a brilliant rethinking of Foucauldian biopolitics while showing how disability functions at the intersection of imperialism and racialized capital.
Purcell, S. (2019). Beckett and disability biopolitics: The case of Cuchulain. In S. Kennedy (Ed.), Samuel Beckett and Biopolitics [Special Issue]. Estudios Irlandeses, 14(2), 52-64. DOI: https://doi.org/10.24162/EI2019-9171.
In his depiction of the hero Cuchulain, Samuel Beckett interrogates how disability and compulsory able-bodiedness are foundational myths for the Irish Free State. Taking the interpolation of disability in biopolitics, this essay examines the normalising impulses in revivalist literature and criticism, exemplified by Lady Gregory, Standish O’Grady, WB Yeats and Daniel Corkery. Against this normalising, nationalising literature, I situate Beckett’s satirical renderings of Cuchulain in ‘Censorship and the Saorstat’ and Murphy, as evidence of a profound discomfort and frustration with the biopolitical mechanisms of governance in the newly-founded Irish State.
Ray, S. J. (2013, Spring). Normalcy, knowledge, and nature in Mark Haddon’s The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time. Disability Studies Quarterly, 33(3). DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.18061/dsq.v33i3.3233.
This article analyzes Mark Haddon’s 2003 novel, The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, using a combination of both disability studies theory and ecocriticism. The author argues that the novel’s main character, Christopher Boone, presents a social model of disability by challenging dominant society’s treatment of him as ‘not normal.’ Christopher is ostensibly diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome, although the novel never explicitly labels him as disabled in any way. Through Christopher’s views of nature, language, knowledge, and social constructions of disability, we learn that disability is an unstable category, and that dominant society can be disabling. Importantly, though, Christopher’s critique of society is, as the author argues, fundamentally environmental. That is, Christopher’s views of language, knowledge, and even the more-than-human world itself are central to his destabilization of the category of disability. Christopher’s environmental sensibility and critique of society’s disabling qualities emerge primarily through his discussions of language, which he finds suspect because it distances humans from the world it describes. Thus, the novel suggests that the disabling features of society that Christopher encounters are the same features that distance humans from nature, particularly through language.
Ray, S. J. (2009, August). Risking bodies in the wild: The “corporeal unconscious” of American adventure culture. In D. Mincyte, M. J. Casper, & C.L. Cole (Eds.), Sports and Environmental Politics II [Special Issue]. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 33(3), 257-284. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1177%2F0193723509338863.
At the heart of American adventure sports is the appeal of personal challenge that has roots in 19th-century “wilderness cults. Preserving wilderness and testing oneself against it were part of a search for moral, physical, and even national purity. But, as critics have begun to argue, racism, expansion, and exclusion underpin the wilderness movement. Although these exclusions have been identified, there has been less attention to these exclusions in contemporary adventure culture and environmental thought, which borrow values from the early wilderness movement and suggest that an environ-mental ethic arises from risking the body in the wild. By examining adventure culture through disability studies, this article exposes the relationship between environmentalism and ableism. It argues that disability is the category of “otherness” against which both environmentalism and adventure have been shaped and revises environmental thought to include all kinds of bodies.
Ray, S. J., & Sibara, J. (Eds.). (2017). Disability Studies and the environmental humanities: Toward an eco-crip theory. Lincoln & London: University of Nebraska Press.
Although scholars in the environmental humanities have been exploring the dichotomy between ‘wild’ and ‘built’ environments for several years, few have focused on the field of disability studies, a discipline that enlists the contingency between environments and bodies as a foundation of its scholarship. On the other hand, scholars in disability studies have demonstrated the ways in which the built environment privileges some bodies and minds over others, yet they have rarely examined the ways in which toxic environments engender chronic illness and disability or how environmental illnesses disrupt dominant paradigms for scrutinizing ‘disability.’ Designed as a reader for undergraduate and graduate courses, Disability Studies and the Environmental Humanities employs interdisciplinary perspectives to examine such issues as slow violence, imperialism, race, toxicity, eco-sickness, the body in environmental justice, ableism, and other topics. With a historical scope spanning the seventeenth century to the present, this collection not only presents the foundational documents informing this intersection of fields but also showcases the most current work, making it an indispensable reference.
Salvatore, C., & Wolbring, G. (2021). Children and Youth Environmental Action: The Case of Children and Youth with Disabilities. In C. Davey & M. Tataryn (Eds.), Studies and Sustainable Ecology [Special issue]. Sustainability, 13(17), 9950. DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/su13179950.
Youth environmental activism is on the rise. Children and youth with disabilities are disproportionally impacted by environmental problems and environmental activism. They also face barriers towards participating in activism, many of which might also apply to their participation in environmental activism. Using a scoping review approach, we investigated the engagement with children and youth with disabilities by (a) academic literature covering youth environmental activism and their groups and (b) youth environmental activism group (Fridays For Future) tweets. We downloaded 5536 abstracts from the 70 databases of EBSCO-HOST and Scopus and 340 Fridays For Future tweets and analyzed the data using directed qualitative content analysis. Of the 5536 abstracts, none covered children and youth with disabilities as environmental activists, the impact of environmental activism or environmental problems such as climate change on children and youth with disabilities. Fourteen indicated that environmental factors ‘caused’ the ‘impairments’ in children and youth with disabilities. One suggested that nature could be beneficial to children and youth with disabilities. The tweets did not mention children and youth with disabilities. Our findings suggest the need for more engagement with children and youth with disabilities in relation to youth environmental activism and environmental challenges.
Sánchez Barba, M. G. (2020). “Keeping them down”: Neurotoxic pesticides, race, and disabling biopolitics. In R. Lee (Ed.), Special Section on Chemical Entanglements: Gender and Exposure. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 6(1), 1-31. DOI: https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v6i1.32253.
Chlorpyrifos, the most widely used insecticide in the US, has gained great notoriety as a contested chemical substance after the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency refused to ban it in 2017. Arguing that scientific studies support their observations and suspicions that agricultural pesticides subtly produce neurological and cognitive harm, concerned groups continue to demand US regulatory agencies to ban this chemical. Their narratives demonstrate how the maintenance of unequal racial and capitalist orders across generational time is tied to small chemical exposures permitted by state regulatory agencies during critical temporalities in the life course. This essay shows the importance of including local perspectives in research that seeks to understand how concerns for the mass neurological and cognitive disabling emerge from lived experiences entangled in histories of racism, exploitation, and neglect. Interweaving feminist science and technology studies, queer theory, and critical disability studies, this analysis contributes to the limited scholarship on cognitive disabling in contexts of environmental injustice through exposure to industrially produced chemicals.
Santinele Martino, A., & Lindsay, S. M. (2020). The Intersections of Critical Disability Studies and Critical Animal Studies [Special Issue]. Canadian Journal of Disability Studies, 9(2). DOI: https://doi.org/10.15353/cjds.v9i2.
“The papers in this special issue build on an exciting, and fast growing, body of scholarship located at the intersection of critical disability studies and critical animal studies, shedding light on disablism and speciesism as interconnecting oppressions, how animality and disability are mutually constitutive, as well as the tensions and coalitions shared by these two related fields” (p. 1).
Articles in this special issue include:
- Normative Tensions in the Popular Representation of Children with Disabilities and Animal-Assisted Therapy
- Rights and Representation: Media Narratives about Disabled People and Their Service Animals in Canadian Print News
- At Both Ends of the Leash: Preventing Service-Dog Oppression Through the Practice of Dyadic-Belonging
- Interspecies Blendings and Resurrections: Material Histories of Disability and Race in Taxidermy Art
- ‘What on earth was he—man or animal?’: Posthuman Permeability in H.G. Wells’s The Island of Doctor Moreau
- Tricky Ticks and Vegan Quips: The Lone Star Tick and Logics of Debility
Saxton, M., & Ghenis, A. (2018). Disability Inclusion in Climate Change: Impacts and Intersections. In Climate Change and Intersectionality [Special Issue]. Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Equality and Diversity, 4(1).
The community of people with disabilities is uniquely affected by devastation brought on by climate change. This population is increasingly appearing on lists of “vulnerable” among many other groups in the social justice framework. Public policy in several countries, the Red Cross and United Nation’s documents have begun to include the voices of persons with disabilities among the planning constituencies. Yet the needs of this constituency are poorly understood regarding which measures could realistically enable survival in environmentally compromised circumstance. This very diverse group comprises approximately 10 to 15% of the global population, and within all other sub-populations, this figure will likely increase with climate change impact. Discriminatory attitudes and policies tend to simplify this multiply intersectional population to “people with special needs.” This simplification ignores the diverse, complex needs and circumstances of individuals with disabilities, for those with visual, hearing, and mobility impairments, and so on, as well as their various socio-economic cross-constituencies such as gender, ethnicity, age, etc. In this context, focus on climate change and disability is disturbingly rare. This article by U.S.-based authors explores key intersectional issues emphasizing their research in the U.S. related to disability and climate change impact, and recommending an educational, research and advocacy agenda for both the Climate Change and the Disability Rights movements.
Schmidt, J. (2022). Cripping environmental education: Rethinking disability, nature, and interdependent futures. Australian Journal of Environmental Education First View. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/aee.2022.26.
“In this article, I call for a cripping of environmental education as a necessary move in shifting away from the field’s current conceptions of disability as defect and deficiency, and towards disrupting the structures and processes that operate as normalizing technologies within ableism/sanism. Through an examination of the ways that the field of environmental education has/has not engaged critical disability politics, I illuminate how disability is not often included within environmental education literature. When it is, it is often through the use of disability as metaphor or through recommendations for best practices in accommodating disabilities. More often though within environmental education, disability has operated as a hidden curriculum, underpinning much of the field’s curricular, pedagogical, and even philosophical foundations. Through a cripping of the field these compulsory able-bodied/able-minded assumptions are made apparent. I suggest that by centering crip bodies and minds through cripistemologies, we might enable new ways of knowing, being in, connecting to, and understanding the natural world.”
Schweik, S. (2017). Agent orange, monsters, and we humans. In H. Davis Taïeb (Ed.), From the Monstrous to the Human [Special Issue]. ALTER, European Journal of Disability Research, 11, 65-77. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.alter.2016.12.005.
This paper recounts the work of the American artist collective Yelling Clinic, a group of artists who have direct experience of disability and war, in collaboration with Vietnamese disabled artists and activists in Vietnam in 2011. Focusing on the toxic ecological effects of the herbicide Agent Orange, the essay explores the ethics of Agent Orange representation, focusing on a series of art pieces (and the collaborations that produced them) that work not as documentary evidence of the ravages of dioxin, not as an archive of monstrosity, but as vibrant expressions of and within a complex nexus of disability arts cultures.
Slopek, C. (2021). Aboriginal speculations: Queer rhetoric, disability, and interspecies conviviality in The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf. In B. Burger, D. Kern, & L. Mattila (Eds.), Gender and Sexuality in Australian Speculative [Special Issue]. gender forum Issue 81.
The Anthropocene looms large in the 21st century, and queer and disabled people continue to be exposed to harassment and discrimination. What do these issues have in common, though? In Ambelin Kwaymullina’s speculative fiction novel The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf (2012), queer discourse collaborates with, promotes, and diversifies a non-anthropocentric world order, simultaneously implicating a dis-/ability dialectic. This article brings together queer, disability, interspecies studies and literary analysis to explore how Kwaymullina’s young adult novel creates links between queerness and interspecies relations and how disability comes into play. The rhetoric used against children with so-called special abilities in the novel, who come to occupy the structural position of the queer in Kwaymullina’s narrative at the expense of those living with disabilities, as well as the role interspecies conviviality plays for future community construction are focal points of the article. For the latter part, in particular, this article draws on Aboriginal knowledge systems to explore how The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf weaves these marginalised epistemologies into literature and thus changes the field of speculative fiction.
Socha, K. A., Bentley, J. K. C., & Schatz, J. L. (Eds.). (2014, May). Eco-Ability the Intersection of Earth, Animal, and Disability [Special Issue]. Journal for Critical Animal Studies, 12(2). Retrieved from: http://www.criticalanimalstudies.org/volume12-issue-2-2014/.
“This special issue focuses on eco-ability, which ‘explore[s] the intersection of dis-ability studies, environmental awareness, and nonhuman animal liberation'” (p. 1).
This issue includes the following articles and reviews:
- An Introduction to Eco-Ability: The Struggle for Justice, with Focus on Humans with Disabilities and Nonhuman Animals
- An Interview with Sunaura Taylor
- Grace for a Cure: Poisoned Ethics and Disabled-Nonhuman Images
- Foreignness and Animal Ethics: A Secular Vision of Human and Constructed Social Disability
- Applying the Argument from Marginal Cases to the Protection of Animal Subjects in Research: A Blueprint for Studying Nonhuman Animals in a Post-vivisection World
- Intersectionality and the Nonhuman Disabled Body: Challenging the Neocapitalist Techno-scientific Reproduction of Ableism and Speciesism
- Animal Crips
- Ability Privilege: A Needed Addition to Privilege Studies
- As the World Burns: 50 Simple Things You Can Do to Stay in Denial (2007)
- Avatar (2009) and District 9 (2009) – Animals, Aliens, and (Dis)abled Bodies: A Post-structural, Comparative Analysis
Shotwell, A. (2016). Against purity: Living ethically in compromised times. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
In Against Purity, Alexis Shotwell proposes a powerful new conception of social movements as custodians for the past and incubators for liberated futures. Against Purity undertakes an analysis that draws on theories of race, disability, gender, and animal ethics as a foundation for an innovative approach to the politics and ethics of responding to systemic problems.
Smith, A. F. (2021). Surviving sustainability: Degrowth, environmental justice, and support for the chronically ill. The Journal of Philosophy of Disability, 1, 175-199. DOI:
The quest for ecological sustainability—specifically via prioritizing degrowth—creates significant, often overlooked challenges for the chronically ill. I focus on type-1 diabetes, treatment for which depends on nonrenewables and materials implicated in the global proliferation of toxins that harm biospheric functions. Some commentators suggest obliquely that seeking to develop ecologically sustainable treatments for type-1 shouldn’t be prioritized. Other medical concerns take precedence in a post-carbon world marked by climate change and widespread ecological devastation. I challenge this view on three grounds. Its proponents (i) fail to treat type-1 as the public health issue it is, particularly within the context of what Sunaura Taylor calls disabled ecologies. They (ii) deny persons with type-1 an equal opportunity to pursue survival. And they (iii) presume without warrant that treating type-1 is an all-or-nothing affair. Indeed, research by biohackers points to suboptimal but potentially workable ways to make type-1 survivable in a post-carbon future—so long, I stress, as their findings are cripped in a manner that foregrounds the demands of environmental justice.
Stavrianos, A., & Pratt-Adams, S. (2022, June). Representations of the benefits of outdoor education for students with learning disabilities: A thematic analysis of newspapers. Open Journal of Social Sciences, 10(6), 256-268. DOI: https://doi.org/10.4236/jss.2022.106020.
Outdoor Education (OE) has been described as an education taking place in a natural environment where the students learn about their natural surroundings (Torkos, 2017). Outdoor education was one of the precursors of Environmental Education (EE). Outdoor education is a non-formal education and is classified as an educational approach which occurs outside the classroom and with a wide range of subjects such as the natural environment, culture, mathematics, music, physical science. This study adopts a qualitative paradigm in order to explore the integration of Outdoor Education in the philosophy of inclusion. Eight newspaper articles representing stances and opinions of stakeholders in education, were thematically analysed into explore popular representations of benefits of outdoor education for students with learning difficulties. The themes which emerged from the data were: an active attitude towards learning, a holistic approach—transferable benefits, Inclusion, Edutainment, and Experiential Learning. The key themes identified, indicate that learners within an outdoor education context seem to be active participants of the learning process. Moreover, outdoor education is expandable to the learners’ environments, while it seems that academically and/or socially less able pupils in particular, can benefit out of outdoor education.
Stein, P. J. S,. & Stein, M. A. (2022, January). Comment: Climate change and the right to health of people with disabilities. The Lancet Global Health, 10(1), e24-e25. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/S2214-109X(21)00542-8.
“Climate change exacerbates existing inequalities with indirect disproportionate effects on people with disabilities due to their lack of access to health-care services and increased exposure to social determinants of health such as poverty, and lack of access to education, employment, or adequate housing” (p. e24).
Stein, P.J.S., & Stein, M. A. (2022, February). Disability, human rights, and climate justice. Human Rights Quarterly, 44(1), 81-110. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1353/hrq.2022.0003.
The universally dire threat of climate change disproportionately affects marginalized populations, including the over one billion persons with disabilities worldwide. States that disregard the Paris Agreement, or exclude disabled persons from climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts, are violating agreed-upon human rights obligations. Notably, the rights contained in the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities, are threatened by climate change. To date, however, disability has largely been excluded from international climate change negotiations as well as national-level discharge of climate-related measures. By contrast, a disability human rights approach views disabled persons as disproportionately experiencing environmental threats and unnatural disasters due to their exclusion from state laws, policies, and services available to their non-disabled peers. Additionally, a disability human rights approach mandates the removal of exclusionary barriers and the implementation of positive measures to ensure the equitable treatment of individuals with disabilities. Achieving disability-inclusive climate justice requires “participatory justice”—empowering persons with disabilities to ascertain climate mitigation and adaptation approaches that are efficacious for, successfully implementable by, and accountable to disabled people. Disability-inclusive climate justice solutions are in synergy with universal climate justice goals and benefit entire societies, not “only” those with disabilities.
Taylor, S. (2017). Beasts of burden: Animal and disability liberation. New York: The New Press.
How much of what we understand of ourselves as ‘human’ depends on our physical and mental abilities—how we move (or cannot move) in and interact with the world? And how much of our definition of ‘human’ depends on its difference from ‘animal’? Drawing on her own experiences as a disabled person, a disability activist, and an animal advocate, author Sunaura Taylor persuades us to think deeply, and sometimes uncomfortably, about what divides the human from the animal, the disabled from the nondisabled—and what it might mean to break down those divisions, to claim the animal and the vulnerable in ourselves, in a process she calls ‘cripping animal ethics.’ Beasts of Burden suggests that issues of disability and animal justice—which have heretofore primarily been presented in opposition—are in fact deeply entangled. Fusing philosophy, memoir, science, and the radical truths these disciplines can bring—whether about factory farming, disability oppression, or our assumptions of human superiority over animals—Taylor draws attention to new worlds of experience and empathy that can open up important avenues of solidarity across species and ability.
Taylor, S. (2019). Disability and Interdependence. In S. King, R. S. Carey, I. Macquarrie, V. N. Millious & E. M. Power (Eds.), Messy eating: Conversations on animals as food (pp. 143-156). New York: Fordham University Press.
Even as a young child, Sunaura Taylor, now an artist, activist, and disability and animal studies scholar, understood that humans, animals, and the environment are intensely interconnected. Taylor’s ecological orientation is not simply an intellectual focus but rather a set of political beliefs she endeavors to embody in her everyday life, though she admits that doing so is rarely easy. Taylor’s work demands that audiences rethink the worthiness of vulnerability, of dependency, and of interdependency, particularly as these concepts speak to shared experiences among all living organisms in times of environmental turmoil and fragility.
United Nations General Assembly, Human Rights Council. (2020, April). Analytical study on the promotion and protection of the rights of persons with disabilities in the context of climate change: Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights. New York: Author.
“The present analytical study is submitted pursuant to Human Rights Council
resolution 41/21. In the report, the impacts of climate change on persons with disabilities are examined; human rights obligations and the responsibilities of States and other actors in relation to disability-inclusive approaches identified; and good practices shared. The report ends with conclusions and recommendations” (p. 1).
An easy-read version of the report is also available.
Walters, S. (2014). Unruly rhetorics: Disability, animality, and new kinship compositions. PMLA, 129(3), 471-477. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1632/pmla.2014.129.3.471.
“As intersections among rhetoric and composition, disability studies, and animal studies evolve, it will be necessary to develop ways of valuing the unruliness of interspecies- kinship compositions and to foster theories and practices for exploring them” (p. 476-477).
White, M. (2022). Greta Thunberg is ‘giving a face’ to climate activism: Confronting anti-feminist, anti-environmentalist, and ableist Memes. Australian Feminist Studies. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08164649.2022.2062667.
Anti-feminists, anti-environmentalists, and ableists use memes of activist Greta Thunberg, especially representations of her face, to angrily depict her as irrational and a monster. Participants in these interlinked groups create straw versions of feminist activists and distinguish men’s purported rational development of civilisation from emotional girls, women, and nature. Individuals perform such contemptuous operations, as I argue throughout this article, by misrepresenting Thunberg’s climate and feminist platform and shifting the debate from her environmental advocacy to her embodiment and emotions. I closely read these texts and employ academic literature on anti-feminisms, straw arguments, and straw feminisms to suggest how anti-feminists render simplified figurations. Given my consideration of how anti-feminist, anti-environmentalist, and ableist positions are enmeshed in dismissing Thunberg’s activism and physiognomy, I also outline environmental scholarship that addresses gender and disability studies literature on Asperger syndrome and enfreakment. These are complicated critical gestures, but they are necessary since the over 3,000 memes that I studied, and the associated politics, function by simultaneously dismissing girls, women, feminism, the environment, and people with disabilities. Such an analysis of online texts is pressing since anti-feminisms are designed to disqualify feminist thinking about oppression and the vitality of feminist dialogues with related political movements.
Wolbring, G. (2019, October 21). A culture of neglect: Climate discourse and disabled people. In A. Gorman-Murray & G. Gordon Waitt (Eds.), Climate [Feature Issue]. M/C Journal, 12(4). DOI: https://doi.org/10.5204/mcj.173.
“The scientific validity of climate change claims, how to intervene (if at all) in environmental, economic, political and social consequences of climate change, and the adaptation and mitigation needed with any given climate change scenario, are contested areas of public, policy and academic discourses. For marginalised populations, the climate discourses around adaptation, mitigation, vulnerability and resilience are of particular importance. This paper considers the silence around disabled people in these discourses.”
Wolbring, G. (2013). Ecohealth through an ability studies and disability studies lens. In M. K. Giaslason (Ed.), Ecological Health: Society, Ecology and Health [Vol. 15], (pp. 91-107). Emerald: London, UK. Available: http://hdl.handle.net/1880/49856.
Purpose – The goal of this chapter is to cultivate interest in the societal dynamic of ability expectations and ableism, a dynamic first thematized by the disabled people rights movement but which is also broadly applicable to the study of the relationship between humans, animals, and environments. Another aim of this chapter is to think about disabled people within ecosystem approaches to health through the ableism framework and to show that insights gained from disability studies are applicable to a broader study of health within contexts of environmental degradation. Building from this approach, the reader is invited to consider the utility of the conceptual framework of eco-ability ‘expectations’ and eco-ableism as a way to understand health within coupled social- ecological systems. Methodology/approach – This chapter uses an ability expectation and ableism lens and a disability studies and ability studies approach to analyze the relationship between humans, animals, and environments. Findings – Certain ability expectations and ableism are responsible for (a) the invisibility of disabled people in ecological health discourses; (b) the standoff between anthropocentric and biocentric/ecocentric approaches to health; and (c) the application of scientific and technological advancements to address problems arising out of current relationships between humans, animals, and environments. Originality/value of chapter – The reader is introduced to the concepts of ableism and eco-ableism, which have not yet been used in EcoHealth discourses and flags the need for further engagement with disability issues within the field.”
Wong, A. (2019). The rise and fall of the plastic straw: Sucking in Crip defiance. In K. Fritsch, A. Hamraie, M. Mills, & D. Serlin (Eds.), Special Section on Crip Technoscience. Catalyst: Feminism, Theory, Technoscience, 5(1), 1-12. DOI: https://doi.org/10.28968/cftt.v5i1.30435.
A personal essay on the recent efforts to ban single use plastic straws, and how this ban is problematic for disabled people.
Ziarkowska, J. (2022). Cherishing the Impaired Land: Traditional Knowledge and the Anthropocene in the Poetry of Gwen Westerman. In M. Premoli & D. Carlson (Eds.), Indigeneity and the Anthropocene II [Special Issue]. Transmotion, 8(1). DOI: https://doi.org/10.22024/UniKent/03/tm.1007.
In the article I propose to read the work of Sisseton Wahpeton Oyate poet Gwen Westerman from the perspective of environmental humanities and disability studies. Following the insights of Heather Davis and Zoe Todd, I would like to indigenize the field by emphasizing the importance of traditional Indigenous knowledge in the responses to the effects of the Anthropocene. In Westerman’s poetry, the Anthropocene and the accompanying destruction of the environment begin with settler colonialism, which has more serious consequences than the ecological crisis: the loss of traditional lifestyles, foodways, and languages. If Westerman’s speakers believe in Indigenous survival, it can be found in the preservation of traditions and attention to/care for the land that is polluted, altered, and in pain. The emphasis on the need to return the land to the state of balance stands in sharp contrast with the way the discourse of capitalism describes the polluted environment as overexploited, useless, and “impaired.” As Sunaura Taylor has eloquently argued in her presentation “Disabled Ecologies: Living with Impaired Landscapes”, such a use of the “impaired” modifier demonstrates the extent to which Western preoccupation with and privileging of ableism – able bodies which are productive under capitalism – has penetrated thinking about damaged environments. Again, in Westerman’s work, “impairment” is an invitation to a relationship with the land and its human, non-human, and inanimate beings. The condition of environmental change and pollution necessitates a new understanding of this relationship rather than its abandonment due to the capitalist logic of profit accumulation.
Zúñiga, D (2020). To think and act ecologically: The environment, human animality, nature. Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy Online Before Print. DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/13698230.2020.1772605.
Much work in care ethics and disability studies is concerned with the flourishing of human animals as an independent species. As a result, it focuses on how the built environments and the social structures that produce them restrict and exclude us. This paper addresses this problem and provides tentative first steps towards sketching an account of ethics that is structured around the interdependent nature of human and more than human life. I argue that our embodied existence places us in a shared condition of vulnerability with all forms of life on earth. This allows us to conceive of caring as an essential condition of the sustainability and well-being of social and ecological life systems. To this end, I discuss the notion of anthropocentrism – and the attendant notion of Anthropocene – and argue that the conception of human animality that underwrites it posits a disembodied and homogenous ‘anthropos’ that is equally responsible for and equally affected by unsustainable social systems. Further, I examine the debate that opposes realist and constructivist accounts of nature, and I argue that it is inadequate to look at nature through the lenses of the predatory social systems that are responsible for ecological injustices in the first place.