Social Work and Environmental Justice: A Call to Action

Social Work and Environmental Justice

The environment and social justice are two of the most important issues facing our world today. Social workers are uniquely positioned to address both of these issues, as they have a commitment to helping those who are most vulnerable and a skillset that is well-suited to working with communities to create change.

What is environmental justice?

Environmental justice is the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, color, national origin, or income with respect to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies. It ensures that communities are not disproportionately exposed to environmental hazards and that they have a voice in decisions that affect their environment.

Why is environmental justice important to social work?

Environmental justice is important to social work because it is a fundamental human right. Everyone has the right to live in a clean and healthy environment, and social workers have a responsibility to ensure that this right is protected. Additionally, environmental injustice can have a disproportionate impact on marginalized communities, and social workers are committed to working with these communities to address their needs.

What can social workers do to promote environmental justice?

There are many things that social workers can do to promote environmental justice. Some of these include:

  • Advocating for environmental policies that protect the most vulnerable. Social workers can use their knowledge of the law and their relationships with policymakers to advocate for environmental policies that protect the most vulnerable communities.
  • Educating the public about environmental justice. Social workers can help to educate the public about environmental justice and the disproportionate impact that it can have on marginalized communities.
  • Working with communities to develop and implement environmental justice projects. Social workers can work with communities to develop and implement environmental justice projects that address the specific needs of their community.


Social work and environmental justice are two fields that are increasingly intersecting. As the effects of climate change become more severe, social workers will play an increasingly important role in helping communities to adapt and thrive. By working to promote environmental justice, social workers can help to ensure that all people have the right to live in a clean and healthy environment.

Here are some additional resources for social workers who are interested in learning more about environmental justice:

  • The National Association of Social Workers (NASW): NASW has a number of resources on environmental justice, including a toolkit for social workers and a list of environmental justice organizations.
  • The Council on Social Work Education (CSWE): CSWE has a set of environmental justice competencies for social workers.
  • The Environmental Justice and Social Work (EJSW) Network: EJSW is a network of social workers who are working to promote environmental justice.
  • The Climate Justice Alliance (CJA): CJA is a coalition of organizations working to build a just and sustainable future.


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