The International Federation of Social Workers – Global Definition of the Social Work Profession: “Social work is a practice-based profession and an academic discipline that promotes social change and development, social cohesion, and the empowerment and liberation of people. Principles of social justice, human rights, collective responsibility, and respect for diversities are central to social work. Underpinned by theories of social work, social sciences, humanities and indigenous knowledge, social work engages people and structures to address life challenges and enhance wellbeing.
According to the National Association of Social Workers (NASW), social work is “a profession devoted to helping people function the best they can in their environment”. The Bureau of Labor Statistics explains, “Social workers help people solve and cope with problems in their everyday lives.” Let’s sum it up with “social Workers assist individuals and communities to function as effectively as possible in the major domains of living.”
REMINDER: Social work skills are highly transferable
Social workers possess valuable skills including advocacy, building rapport, active listening, critical thinking, and cultural competency. Macro social work skills include legislative advocacy, program planning, community organizing, resource development, and grant writing. And the list goes on…
Social work education, training, and skill development place the social work profession in a perfect position to advance our connection with nature and promote environmental justice and sustainable development.
Social work is in a perfect position to encourage spending time outdoors as a self-care practice, exercise opportunity, and mood booster.
Social work is in a perfect position to address food insecurity, food system health, and food deserts.
Social workers is in a perfect position to champion clean water, fresh air, and forestation.
Social work is in a perfect position to advocate for affordable housing, energy-efficient appliances, and investing in renewable energy.
Social work is in a perfect position to promote the benefits of home gardening, regenerative farming, and growing indoor plants.
Social work is in a perfect position to raise awareness about decreasing your carbon footprint, upcycling, and sourcing local products.
Social work is in a perfect position to encourage community engagement, cooperative economics, and intergenerational living.
BONUS: A social work license may not be required in many instances.
I’m challenging the outdated, narrow view of social work so that more social workers realize they can do anything they want to do professionally with their social work degree.
Are you curious about how to pivot into environmental or eco-social work?
Set up a 20-minute consultation and let’s chat about how I can support you as you explore green social work and green jobs.
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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