Environmental Justice and Climate Change
NASW shares your concern about the global threat of climate change and the risks to vulnerable communities. Environmental justice is one of NASW’s Social Justice Priorities. NASW continues to support and complement independent efforts by social workers to address climate change within the profession.
Activities and Coalitions
NASW has been an affiliate of the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health since it was founded in 2017 and is an active member. NASW was a co-sponsor of the Consortium’s Annual Meetings in 2019 and 2020 and participates in many of the Consortium’s advocacy activities. In partnership with the Consortium, NASW endorsed a call to action and an open letter to President Trump asking that the United States return to the Paris Climate Agreement.
NASW works in close partnership with sister social work organizations to advance awareness and competency related to environmental justice. These initiatives include:
In 2020, NASW joined the American Psychological Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, American Public Health Association, Climate Psychology Alliance, and many other groups to form the Social Climate Leadership Group. This working group is focused on developing strategies to address the mental health needs of individuals and communities in the face of climate change. The working group met in 2020 to create a vision for action to enhance emotional resilience, social ties, and civic capacity to respond to climate and ecological change.
NASW has an environmental policy statement in Social Work Speaks, 11th Edition.
NASW’s national conferences have offered breakout sessions on related topics, such as “Environmental Public Health Emergency: Evidence-Based Practice Leads to Optimal Health Programs.”
This webinar educates participants about the health effects of climate change as they relate to social work practice. Presented by NASW and the Medical Society Consortium on Climate & Health.
The social work profession has a long history of involvement in climate justice work. The ecosocial lens provides a way of centering this work in current social work practice.
Climate change poses a significant threat to people around the world. It poses a more significant threat to marginalized populations. Social workers uphold their ethical responsibilities by advocating for policies and practices that can create sustainable communities, limit damage to the environment by human activity and help people adapt to a changing climate.