Ecology & Environment Justice

  • Description: Using their social work lens, knowledge and skills, social workers address environmental crises and protect and restore well-being for people, other species and the planet. Issues such as climate change, biodiversity loss, pollution, natural resource depletion, and other urgent environmental problems are rooted in structural inequalities, oppression, extractive economies and lack of understanding of social–ecological systems and interdependencies.  This area of social work looks at the systems that contribute to the problems and looks for solutions.

    Your work in the social work field could include: 

    • Developing and advocating for policies that promote the health of people and the planet 
    • Working on projects to support circular and regenerative economies locally, nationally or internationally 
    • Working with non-governmental organizations and local, regional and national governments on issues such as environmental racism, air pollution, food security, biodiversity preservation, and energy justice 
    • Apply social–ecological systems science and understandings in all work settings to improve relationships humans have with other species and the natural environment

    Typical Career Path: This is considered a non-traditional career path for social workers, therefore most positions will not hold the typical “social work” titles.  It is critical to keep in mind the marketing of your transferrable skills to align with expectations in a non-profit, governmental or corporate setting.  Persistence and networking will be important as you speak with hiring managers unfamiliar with your skillset. Unless you want to work within higher education, a master's degree is considered the terminal degree.   In some arenas, it is helpful to have a science background.

    Transferrable skills to showcase within a job search can include:  impact assessments, benefits & harm assessments, program development, building code understanding, socio/environmental impact assessments, conflict resolution, dialoguing across differences, coalition building, policy advocacy, strategic planning, and communication tools (infographics, podcasts, websites, social media, etc.)

    Sample Job Titles: Environmental Health Specialist, Environmental Health Professional, Environmental Justice Organizer, Policy Analyst, Community Planner, Natural Resource Specialist

    Licensure & Training: A clinical license is not required for most entry-level positions. Most operate successfully with their MSW degree credentials.


          Colorado Environment:  Environmental Organization List & Environmental Groups in Colorado List

          Colorado Food Insecurity Organizations:  Colorado Blueprint to End Hunger, Colorado Health Institute, Feeding America/Colorado

    Salary Statistics: There are a number of salary scales available online; however, these resources are recommended.

    Job Boards: There are several job boards to consider; however, the following list are often used within this career field:

    • PCO - DU/GSSW's Job Board
    • Diversity for Social Impact - Offers and Extensive List of Job Boards including, but are not limited to, environmental policy, sustainable development and engineering, agriculture and forestry, biodiversity, and environmental health.
    • Green Jobs Network - Green Jobs Network is the #1 global community of professionals dedicated to environmental and social impact.Find or post a job todayon our job boards forenvironmental jobs and social impact jobs.
    • Colorado Non-profits Job Board
    • Sustainability-Jobs - Best Place for Premier Climate Change and Environmental Sustainability Jobs.
    • Conservation Job Board The world’s largest and most-visited career website in conservation, ecology, forestry, wildlife, and fisheries.
    • ClimateBase- Discover impactful jobs at the world’s leading climate tech companies and environmental nonprofits.
    • Environmental Career Center - The Environmental Career Center provides employers and job seekers with comprehensive career, and staffing services in the environmental, sustainability, natural resources, energy, and green jobs sectors. 
    • GreenBiz - GreenBiz advances the opportunities at the intersection of business, technology and sustainability. Through its website, events, peer-to-peer network and research, GreenBiz promotes the potential to drive transformation and accelerate progress.  Job Board.
    • Idealist - Idealist connects millions of idealists – people who want to do good – with opportunities for action and collaboration all over the world.
    • Climate Change Careers - Search the latest jobs at organizations solving climate change, or the latest courses in climate science, renewable energy, electric vehicles and more.

    Alumni Panel Discussion: 

        GSSW Zoom-in & Learn: Ecological Justice Social Work, Alumni & Community Partner Panel.

        October 28th@ 3PM MST.  Virtual & FREE to all GSSW students & alumni.  Register on PCO or email

    Articles of Interest:

    These Colorado Programs Are Combatting Hunger with Nutrition Free Meals

     Enviromental Careers Guide: Today's In-Demand Green Jobs

    Job Search for Macro Social Workers:  Cast a Large Net to Make A Big Impact.

    Resource Links:


This portfolio last updated: 18-Oct-2021 2:27 PM