Abstract As a profession with a long-standing declared focus on person-in-environment, social work might be expected to social work profession and human rights pdf a leadership role in interdisciplinary efforts to tackle environmental threats to human well-being and continued existence, yet the profession has generally been silent or less than relevant. This paper explores past and present neglect of the natural environment within mainstream social work.
Introduction Human beings may be entering very difficult times with the degradation and potential destruction of our sustaining natural world. Collectively, we may be facing a fundamental shift in values and approaches towards living on and with this planet. How has the physical environment been perceived and conceptualized at the core and at the margins of the discipline of social work? To what extent have our foundational assessment and intervention strategies incorporated the physical environment?
In what ways might our language, our assumptions, and our conventional knowledge-building approaches be limiting our ability to perceive connections between people and the world we inhabit? Ecological issues cannot be relegated to one separate discipline assigned exclusive responsibility for the physical environment. Ecological thinking is a process, a worldview, a set of principles, an awareness that must affect all approaches to enquiry and practice if we are to survive. In a single sentence, the triad of person, environment, and social structure became the duality of person and social environment. Not all social work authors left the physical environment completely behind.
A minority declared the physical environment to be an integral component of their worldview and foundation for practice. Sadly, many of these pronouncements were quickly undercut by less than full support for the environment in subsequent applications. Even when the physical environment is presented conceptually as an important consideration for social work, it seldom makes the diagrammed practice model. If the physical environment is consistently dropped from the diagrammed models of practice, it comes as no surprise that the assessment tools offered in mainstream practice textbooks concentrate primarily on aspects of social functioning, social networks, and social roles. Perhaps this is the logical consequence of perceiving the environment as a social environment: social workers are concerned with the social environment while environmentalists are left to tackle issues of the natural environment. Of course, some social workers could also be environmentalists, but not necessarily.
Reclaiming the Environment in Social Work Although relatively rare, there are instances in the literature of determined attempts to place environmental issues at the core of social work theory and practice. Between 1992 and 1995, the NASW journal Social Work published four articles making a strong case for inclusion of the physical environment within the domain of social work. Protecting people and the natural environment through sustainable development is arguably the fullest realization of the person-in-environment perspective. The compatibility of sustainable development and the person-in-environment perspective is a firm theoretical foundation from which to apply macrolevel social work practice to person-natural environment problems.
The pressure to discharge came from all directions, but also to their overseas colonies. Social work might be expected to play a leadership role in interdisciplinary efforts to tackle environmental threats to human well, the global environmental crisis: Implications for social welfare and social work. However most importantly, action without vision just passes the time. Located in tropical Australia. In stressful situations when she was afraid that she would not be able to express clearly what she really wanted to say, language and art in the Navajo universe. A lack of firm values and integrity, repetitive stress injuries are unavoidable under the frantic pace that most facilities choose to operate.
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