World Environment Day-PWDs And Environment

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World environment day is dated back to 1972 when the United Nations established its Environment Programme (UNEP) following a conference held in Sweden.

The day was then named World Environment Day, which was first observed on 5 June a year later with the slogan ‘Only One Earth’.

Environment Day is celebrated globally and advocates for a greener and pollution-free planet.

The relationship between human beings and the environment has a great impact on climate change hence every human being has a role to play in Climate change, including persons with disabilities.

Each year’s celebration focuses on a different theme in a bid to address a number of important aspects of the environment. The theme for 2023 is the campaign #BeatPlasticPollution and Ecosystem Restoration.

The aim of this year’s theme is to act as a reminder that people’s actions on the plastic matter, as the material continues to seep into the world’s oceans, soil, and forestry causing irreparable damage. 

To mark World Environment Day, people adopt eco-friendly practices in order to have a greener and clearer Earth.

Persons with disabilities with their unique insights about their own situation and barriers play crucial roles in proposing creative and relevant solutions to improve their communities and protect the environment.

According to an article by Global Green Grants Fund, Pollution and unsafe jobs in environmentally destructive industries not only affect health but can also cause permanent disabilities.

The article further notes that policies to mitigate the impacts of environmental degradation frequently fail to consider disability rights. For example, during climate change-related emergencies, deaf persons and those with visual disabilities may not have equal access to warning alerts, and persons with physical disabilities are not always able to access shelters.

Global green funds article recommends that discussions around environmental conservation should include PWDs.

In their initiative which recognizes the rights of persons with disabilities, the organization funds persons with disabilities working to promote environmental justice.

Here’s how they do it:

Encourage consultation to identify the needs and strengths of persons with disabilities in local communities in relation to their environmental health, resource-based livelihood needs, access to resources, and land rights.

Create accessible information and spaces where persons with disabilities can learn about and engage in decisions about climate change and environmental policy.

Provide funding to activist groups founded and led by people with disabilities who are advocating for just compensation, decision-making, and rights at the policy level when affected by corporate environmental degradation, pollution, or land grabbing.

Advocate for accessible disaster risk reduction efforts to ensure that persons with disabilities are not left behind: make sure warning signals are accessible and that escape routes and shelters can accommodate persons with disabilities.

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