In Wheelchairs, They Marched to Stop Climate Change

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Some marched through Manhattan last week. Others rolled. Their message: As terrifying as climate-change induced superstorms are for everyone, they're that much more so when you depend on wheels to move or electricity to breathe.

Photo by: Sarah Mortimer

Some marched through Manhattan last week. Others rolled. Their message: As terrifying as climate-change induced superstorms are for everyone, they're that much more so when you depend on wheels to move or electricity to breathe.

There are over 900,000 disabled people living in New York City, all of whom stand more at risk as temperatures rise and weather conditions becomes more unpredictable.

During storms Irene and Sandy, thousands of disabled New Yorkers discovered that the city was unprepared to accommodate their needs during extreme weather emergencies. The latter storm left many disabled residents trapped inside their homes, cut off from food and water and in some cases, unable to access life support systems, such as ventilators.

In a lawsuit that was filed by the Brooklyn Center for Independence of the Disabled and the Center for Independence of the Disabled New York, a federal judge last November ruled that the city had been in violation of the Americans With Disabilities Act by failing to develop adequate evacuation plans for people with disabilities living in high-rise buildings.

Last Sunday, a group that calls themselves “Crips for the Climate” gathered at the People’s Climate March to call attention to the issue of climate change and explain its specific importance to New York’s disabled community.