Environmental Justice and Climate Change

collage of earth with tear, nuclear reactor, people watching wildfire, flooding

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.

Earn up to 25 CEs Live and On Demand Environmental Justice: through the social work lens nov 1-2 2023 Register Now NASW Virtual forum 2023

Register Now for the 2023 Virtual Forum 

Explore how social work can drive positive change for the environment and create a more just and sustainable world at the 2023 Virtual Forum —Environmental Justice: Through the Social Work Lens. Register now for this two-day virtual event, which will be held on Wednesday, November 1, and Thursday, November 2, 2023. Earn up to 25 CEs live and on demand. Keynotes, plenaries, and breakout sessions will address a wide range of topics such as mental health/climate anxiety, ecosocial work, environmental health disparities, activism, racism, ethics, and much more!

As an NASW member, you get a discounted rate to attend the NASW Virtual Forum — Environmental Justice: Through the Social Work Lens — held on November 1-2, 2023.

Top Resources

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.”


Climate, Health, & Social Work Practice

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.

Embracing Climate Justice Work: Global Lessons and Applications for Social Workers in Everyday Contexts

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.

The Person in a Warming Environment: Social Work Ethics and Global Warming

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.