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.
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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 firstname.lastname@example.org