Hi from Canada.
My name is Paul Caune. I’m the executive director of Civil Rights Now which is a not-for-profit society that advocates for laws and to protect the civil rights of people with disabilities.
I live in Canada, as I said, which is one of the richest countries in the world.
I have multiple disabilities. I use a wheelchair. I use a portable ventilator, and I require daily assistance from home support workers.
During last summer’s heat dome, I had a very difficult time. It was the hottest summer I remember. The heat was excruciatingly painful. The air conditioning in my apartment wasn’t strong enough to keep me cool, and that became, as I said, excruciatingly painful.
I nearly called an ambulance to take me to the hospital, but I didn’t do that because the local ambulance system was overwhelmed by the increased demand caused by the heat dome.
I felt like the whole system was collapsing around me.
You have to plan ahead to protect your disabled citizens and the best way to do that is to speak to us directly, long before any emergency starts.
Hope is not a plan. Hope is not going to save the lives of people with disabilities, most of whom are poor, in any extreme weather caused by the climate crisis. What will save our lives is your learning from our lived experience.