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Study information

Disability, Social Justice and Climate Resilient Development

Module titleDisability, Social Justice and Climate Resilient Development
Module codeHPDM164Z
Academic year2023/4
Module staff

Dr Sarah Bell (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Module description

This is a fully online module.

Climate disruption poses major risks to human health and livelihoods, in ways that are compounding and creating new forms of health inequality, particularly at the intersections of poverty, ethnicity, race, gender, age, disability and nationality. Disabled people – comprising 15% of the global population – are disproportionately exposed to such risks, experiencing higher mortality and morbidity during extreme weather events and fewer opportunities to participate in climate action.

Beyond the moral imperative to ‘leave no-one behind’, as foregrounded by the UN Sustainable Development Goals, an inaccessible response to the climate crisis will limit the proportion of the population who can inform, contribute to and progress the transformations required.

The module introduces core concepts of disability, social justice and climate-resilient development. It integrates conceptual, applied and research-led learning activities to explore how insights from critical disability studies can inform societal transformations towards climate resilient development and a liveable future for all.

Module aims - intentions of the module

You will develop a critical understanding of disability and social justice in the global context of accelerating climate disruption. The module aims to equip individuals with advanced knowledge, understanding and skills to understand and address the climate emergency in ways that protect health and reduce wider social inequalities.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Demonstrate critical appraisal of the contemporary theories and concepts that underpin disability, social justice and climate resilient development
  • 2. Explain, using pertinent global examples, key political, economic and social considerations for embedding disability and social justice in climate resilient development

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 3. Critically analyse and reflect on how different socio-cultural contexts and individual experiences shape perspectives of – and responses to – varied facets of disability, social justice and climate disruption.

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 4. Communicate key concepts and reflections clearly and competently in a range of formats

Syllabus plan

While the module’s precise content may vary from year to year, an example of an overall structure is as follows:

  • Conceptualising disability, climate justice and climate-resilient development
  • Understanding eco-ableism and intersectionality
  • Climate governance – towards disability-inclusive climate mitigation, adaptation and disaster-risk reduction
  • Embedding cross-cultural perspectives in disability-inclusive responses to climate disruption
  • A range of place-specific real-world examples are embedded throughout the module, alongside student-led research-based reflective learning activities.

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled learning and teaching activities15All student online sessions: lectures, Q&A sessions, small-group discussions in tutorials and seminars in synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom, workshops in synchronous sessions on Teams/Zoom
Guided independent study35Session preparation and follow up work utilising resources provided on ELE including asynchronous structured materials (such as short pre-recorded lectures, podcasts, asynchronous workshop activities, discussion forum posts and so on)
Guided independent study100Reading and assignment preparation

Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Class discussions and small group work activitiesEach taught session1-4Facilitator and peer feedback in synchronous or asynchronous online discussion
Small group oral presentation 10 minutes + Q&A1-4Written

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Reflective essay1002000 words1-4Written

Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Reflective essay (100%) 2000 wordsReflective essay1-4Typically within six weeks of the result

Re-assessment notes

Please refer to the TQA section on Referral/Deferral: 

Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Abbott, D. and Porter, S. (2013) Environmental hazard and disabled people: from vulnerable expert to interconnected. Disability & Society, 28(6): 839-852.

Bell, S.L., Tabe, T., Bell, S. (2020) Seeking a disability lens within climate change migration discourses, policies and practices. Disability and Society, 35(4): 682-687.

Eriksen, S., Grøndal, R., Sæbønes, A-M. (2021) On CRDPs and CRPD: why the rights of people with disabilities are crucial for understanding climate-resilient development pathways. Lancet Planetary Health,

Gaskin, C.J., Taylor, D., Kinnear, S., Mann, J., Hillman, W., Moran, M. (2017) Factors Associated with the Climate Change Vulnerability and the Adaptive Capacity of People with Disability: A Systematic Review. Weather, Climate and Society, 9(4): 801-814.

Görgens, R. and Ziervogel, G. (2019) From “No One Left Behind” to Putting the Last First: Centring the Voices of Disabled People in Resilience Work. In: Watermeyer, B., McKenzie, J., Swartz, L. (eds) The Palgrave Handbook of Disability and Citizenship in the Global South. London, Palgrave MacMillan: 85-102.

Jodoin, S., Ananthamoorthy, N., Lofts, K. (2020) A Disability Rights Approach to Climate Governance. Ecology Law Quarterly, 47: 73-116.

Polack, E. (2008) A Right to Adaptation: Securing the Participation of Marginalised Groups. IDS Bulletin, 39(4): 16-23.

Sultana, F. (2021) Critical climate justice. The Geographical Journal,

Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

  • ELE – Faculty to provide hyperlink to appropriate pages

Indicative learning resources - Other resources

  • An up-to-date reading list of journal articles will be provided and maintained on ELE, as well as a range of current podcasts, weblinks and video links to relevant resources in this emerging field.

Key words search

Global health, disability, impairment, disability justice, climate change, climate resilience, climate adaptation, climate justice, environmental change, disaster risk reduction, development, social justice

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date