Climate Change, Water, Sanitation and Energy Insecurity: Invisibility Of People With Disabilities

  • Gregor Wolbring University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, Dept. of Community Health Sciences, Specialization Community Rehabilitation and Disability Studies
  • Verlyn Leopatra University of Calgary, Faculty of Medicine, Bachelor of Health Sciences student.


The problems associated with climate change, energy scarcity, water and sanitation insecurity and severe natural disasters are at the forefront of both national and international policy agendas. Increasingly, people with disabilities are those most critically affected by these environmental challenges; however, literature addressing the implications for people with disabilities remains scarce. The well-being of people with disabilities is threatened by this invisibility. Here, we present survey results that suggest how women, children, people with disabilities, indigenous people, ethnic minorities, and industry in both high and low income countries are perceived to experience these environmental challenges. Respondents ranked people with disabilities between first and third in regards to experiencing climate change impact, energy scarcity and water and sanitation insecurity. Our results emphasize the need to make the impacts of climate change, energy scarcity and water and sanitation insecurity experienced by people with disabilities a priority for local and global discourses, public policy formation and academic research.