Accessible Sustainability

Hannah Taddonio

The main discourse about living a more sustainable lifestyle is aimed at what products we can buy or avoid to offset climate change, but did you know many people cannot make those changes and end up feeling powerless? My younger brother is on the autism spectrum, so when I started transitioning to a low-waste lifestyle, I noticed some ecofriendly products do not take his safety into account, such as reusable straws or eating unprepared and unpackaged foods. Eco-Ableism is a form of ableism described as the neglect/oversight by non-disabled environmental activists to recognize that some of the climate actions and/or sustainable products they promote are not created with disabled people in mind and can make their lives unnecessarily more difficult.
Accessible Sustainability is a social media campaign on Instagram where New Paltz students and community members can learn about inclusive sustainability, understand the issue of Eco-Ableism and see campus resources for positive change as well as events related to these topics. It is a beginner’s guide to eco-consciousness that brings people with disabilities to the forefront of these conversations and informs followers on the many ways to help.