“Making the Future Accessible, Access and Inclusion in the Climate Movement”: A conversation with Ha
By Ally Lloyd (she/her)
“It is hard to distill, but I think that an accessible and inclusive climate movement looks like a space where care, listening and communication are built into every aspect of organising.” Being able to visualise a fully accessible and inclusive climate movement is an incredible thing. Today I was lucky enough to have lunch with Hannah from Young Friends of the Earth Scotland (YFoES) and, over delicious carrot and turnip soup, got to do just that. We talked about what an accessible climate movement could look like and I got to hear about the work that Hannah and the Access and Inclusion working group at YFoES are doing to get us there.
The YFoES Access and Inclusion working group is a group of young people, most of whom are Disabled and have lived experience of Disability. As someone who is not Disabled, Hannah shared that, for her, being part of the group meant listening, learning, and being part of conversations that changed her experiences and perception of the climate movement. It was these conversations that led to the idea for the workshop, “Making the Future Accessible: Access and Inclusion in the Climate Movement”, being born. They wanted to include as many people as possible in the conversations, the learning and unlearning they had done as a working group.
Working to everyone’s strengths, and centering the lived experience of Disabled people in the group and beyond, they set about creating the workshop. They designed the workshop to be collaborative and discussion based. It was designed to give people an understanding of what accessibility and inclusion are, how it fits into the climate movement, and to empower people to be able to make tangible change. The overall tone of the workshop is one of hope, and it finishes with participants reflecting on what they can do to be part of changing the climate movement. Hannah said that many participants leave feeling inspired to learn more and to begin having these conversations in their own communities.
It is clear that the workshop is nothing but a positive force and I was excited to hear from Hannah what the plans were for the workshop going forward. She shared that her biggest hope was to have more people involved – more people getting the opportunity to facilitate it and more people taking part in it. They want to take the workshop to as many different people and as many different groups as possible, because when it comes to creating an inclusive and accessible climate movement, we all need to be part of the change.
If you are reading this and feeling even half as hopeful and inspired as I was by the end of our conversation, why not take part in one of the workshops? If you would like to hear more about them and take part as an individual or as part of a group, then reach out to the YFoES Steering Group (firstname.lastname@example.org).
(Originally published 5/11/21)