Thursday, May 19, 2022
HomeOpinionEditorialLet’s get serious about climate justice

Let’s get serious about climate justice

The Morrison government’s record on climate has been appalling. Yet we know climate action is central for many Australians going into this month’s federal election.

Will enough people vote for leaders who will give climate action more than lip service? (The Morrison government, in announcing its 2022-2023 budget, mentioned the word “climate” only once.)

School Strike for Climate (SS4C) is one group that won’t leave the planet and its inhabitants’ futures to chance – and it is inviting people to strike again on May 6.

Kayla is an SS4C organiser whose work now centres around upholding accessibility in the climate movement.

“Disabled people often cannot access protests because it is not wheelchair accessible, interpreters are not present, the environment is very overwhelming, and there generally isn’t a predisposed expectation of accessibility,” she says.

“Ableism is rife across all aspects of society and fighting for climate justice comes hand in hand with disability justice.”

Kayla tells us about a UN resource which shows how climate change affects people with disabilities disproportionately and another piece by Nicole Howard about how ableism manifests in the environment movement and how that can change.

Kayla also says: “The climate crisis is not an unaccompanied struggle. It occurs because of ableism, capitalism, colonialism and so many other systems. Here at SS4C, we need to ensure that everyone, from all walks of life, can participate in this movement.”

To achieve this, she adds, a range of initiatives and accommodations will be available for all people – disabled or not – to use at the rally on May 6, which include:

  • Regulation of COVID safety
  • An AUSLAN interpreter
  • Seating at the front of the rally
  • The provision of ear plugs
  • A chillout zone
  • A briefing and resources for marshals on disability

Kayla and other SS4C strikers will want national leaders in place who are serious about committing to emission reduction targets and not those who say they are “blessed” not to have children with disabilities.

How will you vote?

See resources in link under May 6 heading:

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