The Body, the Earth. The Participation of Disabled People in the Environmental Discourse

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.33182/joe.v3i1.3071

Keywords:

Disability, mermaid, Hanna Cormick, witness, climate crisis

Abstract

The essay aims to challenge the position of disability within environmental analyses and activism. I explore the broad environmentally focused discourse: namely, I will refer to the sociocultural texts, ideologies and worldviews that are implicated in the accounts of the environmental crises provoked by climate change. Which subjects have a voice, and which tend to remain in the background? Should the environmental discourse be understood as “neutral”, because of what is at stake on a global level? I will consider these concerns through the lens of disability. Firstly, I will explore how disability usually functions as a signpost for two issues: (I) disabled people are represented as victims of the precarious living conditions exacerbated by climate change and environmental devastation and, (II) disability is employed as a cautionary tale regarding the outcomes of environmental devastation. Secondly, I will examine a performance called “The Mermaid”, by Australian artist Hanna Cormick, which addresses the intersection of disability and environmental damage. I will read Cormick’s work through Donna Haraway’s concept of witness, proposing an update of environmental discourses. The aim behind this new framework is to positively situate disabled people: they should play an active role in addressing toxicity, capitalist extractivism and the entangled nature between the human subject and the environment.

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Published

2024-01-04

How to Cite

Montalti , C. . (2024). The Body, the Earth. The Participation of Disabled People in the Environmental Discourse. Journal of Ecohumanism, 3(1), 31–43. https://doi.org/10.33182/joe.v3i1.3071

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Section

Special Issue Articles