Do you have an interest in sustainability, conservation, agriculture, or policy?
Social work is in the perfect position to further environmental justice and promote sustainable development. As Sport Social Work and Financial Work continue to create new ways to expand their impact, I encourage social workers to explore the opportunities and possibilities in eco-social work.
Here are a few eco-social work definitions for your consideration:
- Eco-social work is a sub-field of social work that focuses on the systemic, symbiotic relationship that exists between all living organisms and ecological systems on the planet Earth. Environmental or Ecological Social Work is described as the place where the environment and humanity intersect.
- Eco-social work – also referred to as ‘green social work’ or ‘environmental social work’ – is concerned with how environmental issues, such as extreme weather events and climate change, affect people and communities. Green social work is a branch of social work that deals with the impact of the faltering environmental stability upon human populations.
- Eco-social work emphasizes the need for social workers to promote social justice through vital attention to the symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural world.
I have a bachelor’s degree in Sociology and I love independent study. Research allows me to satisfy my curiosity for knowledge and adventure. As usual, I have taken my natural interests and combined them with formal and informal research to create my own definition of eco-social work. My passion for community outreach, economic development, food security, nature, upcycling, and affordable housing all converge to form my present and future social work career development. I am continuing to define social work career success on my own terms while challenging the outdated, traditional view of social work.
I am taking this exact moment to encourage you to explore new ways to social work. Your social work skills are highly transferable.
If you are intrigued by green social work, explore green jobs. Green jobs are positions that focus on preserving or restoring the quality of the natural environment by using fewer natural resources or performing actions that benefit the earth. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics further distinguishes green jobs as being positions that create goods or offer services that benefit the environment or reduce the use of natural resources. It also classifies a job as a green job if it involves duties that focus on helping to make a company’s production processes more eco-friendly, often by using fewer natural resources. The primary characteristics of a green job include:
- Minimizing contamination and waste
- Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
- Contributing to the adaption to climate change
- Protecting or restoring various ecosystems
- Increased efficiency of energy and raw material use
- Reducing and removing pollution
- Recycling and reuse of materials
- Promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency
- Conserving natural resources
- Educating the public about environmental issues
(Taken from Indeed)
If you desire more job search specificity than “green jobs”, spend some time researching the following fields:
- Outdoor Education
- Waste management
- Disaster Preparedness
- Textiles/Ethically sourced clothing
- Urban planning
- Green building and construction
- Renewable energy
- Compliance/Health and Safety
- Climate Change
- And more…
I’m NOT pivoting into green social work…at least not in the traditional sense.
My transition season includes expanding how and where I social work. I’m doing what I do well and what comes naturally to me but on a deeper level.
My ultimate life and career goal is a culmination of my MSW concentration in Management and Community Organization and specialization in Social Action and Community Development.
My legacy requires a combination of mezzo and macro social work across various fields which includes green social work – green building, regenerative agriculture, waste reduction, environmental justice, and more.
- Farm Life: Defining Green Social Work on My Own Terms
- I Finally Leveled Up and Made the Commitment!
- The Social Work Rants Podcast Interview with Nicki Sanders
Take the lead in your career. It’s time to define social work career success on your own terms. If you’re ready to boldly and excitedly experience transformation in your career and life, let’s chat. Schedule your free 20-minute consultation.
Nicki Sanders, MSW, supports high-performing women of color in social work leadership in developing careers that feed their hearts, minds, and wallets. As Founder and CEO of Nicki Sanders Leadership Consulting, her mission is simple – to eliminate toxic workplaces by developing skilled, empathetic, and goal-oriented leaders who have the vision, support, and resources to create a culture where business prospers, and employees thrive individually and collectively. Nicki has an extensive background in nonprofit management leading high-functioning, multi-disciplinary teams, volunteer recruitment and retention, and social impact programming. She is an accomplished professor, coach, trainer, and group facilitator who has combined her gift for authentic relationships, Master of Social Work degree, and over 20 years of diverse work experience to create a life and career aligned with her values and purpose. Nicki is a lover of cupcakes, travel, and 80’s hip hop and R&B music.
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