Browsing Faculty Works School of Social Work by Title "Rethinking Social Work's Interpretation of 'Environmental Justice': From Local to Global"
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Rethinking Social Work's Interpretation of 'Environmental Justice': From Local to GlobalThis article challenges social workers to expand their understanding of the “person-inenvironment” perspective and become more active in addressing current environmental crises. Although social work scholars have begun to explore the relationship between social work and the natural and built environment and professional organizations mandate the integration of this content into practice and education, these goals remain unrealized, particularly in the U.S. To address these issues more effectively, social work educators will need to distinguish between understanding persons in their environment and environmentalism, and between environmentalism and environmental justice. This article analyzes the emergence of the environmental justice movement in the U.S. and other nations and its relationship to environmental racism. It presents a case study of a local environmental justice effort to demonstrate how social workers can use their knowledge and skills to make important contributions to environmental justice and sustainability. It also discusses the potential of “green social work” and transformative learning theory as tools to help social work educators better equip students make strategic alliances across professions, disciplines, and systems to address contemporary environmental crises.