Environmental hazard and disabled people: from vulnerable to expert to interconnected

David Abbott*, Sue Porter

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Why are disabled people disproportionately affected by the impacts of environmental hazard, and is it really only their relative poverty that makes them so vulnerable? What might disabled people contribute from their experience of negotiating barriers to designing responses to the challenges of environmental hazard? Can the lived experience of inter-dependency, as opposed to individual independence, contribute to the radical rethinking of our relationships with the environment, other sentient beings and each other? Drawing on a short scoping study, this article reviews the multiple causes of disabled people's vulnerability, and goes on to ask whether the experience disabled people enables them to become valued contributors, rather than just members of a vulnerable group. We also explore possible reasons for the lack of inclusion and diversity within the environmental movement, and suggest that the disability and environmental movements might make a more common cause.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)839-852
Number of pages14
JournalDisability and Society
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2013


  • environment
  • hazard
  • disabled people's expertise
  • inter-dependency

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