Scotland's Climate Fringe: Special environmental event for people with learning disabilities ahead of COP26

A special environmental event for people with learning difficulties is taking place tonight as part of Scotland’s Climate Fringe.

By Ilona Amos
Tuesday, 21st September 2021, 12:30 pm

The online discussion, Climate Change and Us, has been organised by the Scottish Commission for people with Learning Disabilities (SCLD) and environmental coalition Stop Climate Chaos, with the aim of helping people understand the effects of global warming and how they can tackle it.

Attendees will also be able to ask questions to Scottish politicians and give first-hand experiences of challenges they face in living a greener lifestyle.

Around 50 people are expected to take part in the session, which is happening on Tuesday evening, with MSPs Maggie Chapman and Mark Ruskell from the Scottish Greens, the SNP’s Fiona Hyslop and Scottish Labour’s Monica Lennon signed up to appear on the panel.

A special online event for people with learning disabilities has been organised as part of Scotland's Climate Fringe and will allow participants to question politician, express their views and explain some of the difficulties they face in living a greener lifestyle

Organisers are anticipating participants with learning disabilities will want to find out how to make environmental and climate change issues more accessible and easier to understand, including making information available in easy-read format and measures to make recycling easier for those with learning or mobility difficulties.

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Michael McEwan, a 38-year-old freelance journalist from Glasgow who has cerebral palsy, is joining the event.

He said he believed the discussions were important, allowing people with disabilities to connect with others and give their views on the climate crisis and the extra challenges they face.

“This sort of event is good because it helps keep people informed, but also allows them to have their say,” he said.

“It’s more powerful to hear from the people themselves and they can ask questions and give feedback.

“I don’t think you can beat that.”

A spokesperson for SCLD said: “We know that the impact of climate change will impact on different groups in a disproportionate way, including those with disabilities.

“Yet the national debate we have about this issue of such importance often has barriers stopping all people taking part.

“If we truly want a fair and human-rights-driven approach to tackling the climate crisis, then that must mean ensuring everybody in society is informed and has the chance to contribute.

“Although COP26 is an event of global significance, it must support all of us to contribute in the small places in our local communities where we can all make a difference.”

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