The green social theory represents a newer branch of social work that has emerged in response to sustainability concerns of the global community. The theory is concerned with the impact of declining environmental stability on humans. Therefore, instead of focusing on immediate environments, green social work extends to the planet. It has been developed to address the impact of severe flooding, damage from hurricanes, global warming, and other influences. As mentioned by Annie Muldon, MSW, of Carleton University, “Attempts to improve social conditions may be lost if society lacks clear air, drinkable water, and adequate food” (as cited in Kapro, 2016, para. 4).
The green social theory stemmed from environmentalism as social and ecological issues should not be separated. It allows for redefining social work within the expansive socio-ecological debate. Within green social work, professionals can expand their understanding of current economic and ecological crises and study new perspectives and models for bringing global societies together. Since the “person-in-environment” principles have been overused, green social work underlines the importance of the “environment-in-person” aspect (Kapro, 2016).
Core Principles of Green Social Work
While green social work is being developed at this time, the available research allows us to single out some principles that guide it. For example, green social work entails a natural partnership between social work and environmental justice. Within the principle, environmental justice means that all people should experience high levels of environmental protection and that no one gets excluded based on their socioeconomic status, race, gender, education, or other characteristics. Social workers should recognize the importance of ecological unity, respect for diversity, and freedom from ecological destruction. The approach entails providing holistic and empathetic services that consider connections between natural environments and climate.
Reasons to Apply for Green Social Work
The application of green social work bears special relevance at this time because general practice is losing recognition, credibility, and fiscal, and conceptual support. At this time, the dominating perspectives of neoliberalism, politics of austerity, and welfare state activation present challenges to sustaining welfare systems as guarantors of social justice. Besides, the economic environment, characterized by free markets and dominant economic growth models, increases poverty and marginalization of communities while shrinking welfare states. Besides, the adverse impact of modernization and urbanization on the environment must be considered.
Key Challenges within Green Social Work
Green work sets out to address several key challenges, such as Western consumption models, industrialization, and urbanization. Besides, there are persistent problems that have affected societies consistently, such as climate change, global warming, resource inequality, as well as issues of energy consumption and negotiating global climate objectives. Green social work will help reach environmental justice, especially in territories directly affected by adverse environmental conditions. It can also help address the social consequences of environmental crises: the impact of poverty and mass migration.
The Big Tasks of Green Social Work
The big tasks of green social work are much broader than in general social work and entail the development of new models of society and principles of justice and sustainability. Besides, it is important to redefine humans’ relationship to social and ecological environments as well as recognize and rediscover Indigenous worldviews and reflect on ongoing post-colonial settings. Within the approach, social workers will build alternative models of thinking and integrate them into models of sustainable development through a multi-level approach to integrate aspects of agency, reflexivity, power, and resources.
Circumstances of Green Social Work Application
Green social work is applied in circumstances when the environments in which people live have a direct adverse impact on them. Specifically, professionals will apply for green social work when serving populations most affected by climate change and when addressing the needs of vulnerable people and communities that have not been fully explored. Besides, the approach is applicable when working in semi-arid, rural, and impoverished locations and when clients struggle to survive within adverse environmental conditions. Besides, food insecurity and famine are high on the agenda in the approach, especially when it comes to limited opportunities to work and sustain one’s living.
Green Social Work: Example A
Climate Change in Kenya
Powers et al. (2018) discussed an example of green social work application in the Kenyan rural communities of Mutito and Wamunyu. The communities struggled with the adverse impact of climate change and did not know how they could navigate aid systems. The involvement of international social workers helped create an Advisory Board to build understanding and support within the community. The Board helped seek financial aid from organizations to address community needs and improved the inclusion of communities’ participation in decisions about the environment. Through green social work, the communities were encouraged to achieve socio-political power through self-determination and empowerment.
Green Social Work: Example B
Bauxite Mining in Jamaica
Powers et al. (2018) also discussed the problems that the communities in protected Jamaican lands experienced with bauxite mining. Conservation organizations face conflicts of interest when addressing the challenge because both local and international companies are involved. However, with the help of green social work, it becomes possible to identify key roles in addressing the problem and gather relevant data. Practitioners take the role of community advocates who teach people about how to best deal with the environmental crisis. Practitioners can help navigate the socio-political dynamics within environmental justice to address power imbalance and establish rapport with the local governments.
Specific Skills for Green Social Work
While green social workers will use many of the general skills that practitioners use, they are applied through dedication to supporting the most vulnerable groups through environmental justice advocacy. Specifically, green social workers are expected to have critical thinking skills to operate effectively within dynamic environments as well as employ active listening to understand clients’ situations. Green social workers should be advanced communicators to take on active advocacy roles (Hope, 2021). Knowledge of environmental justice and cultural competence are also crucial. However, since social work within green theory can be highly draining, practitioners must know how to set boundaries and establish realistic expectations.
Comparison: Person in the Environment (PIE)
Green social work can be compared to the Person in the Environment theory, which is based on the principles that “fundamental to social work is attention to the environmental forces that create, contribute to, and address problems in living” (NASW, 2021). The theory suggests that each person is greatly influenced by the environment in which they exist, which means that problems and challenges are understood in the context of environmental influences. The theory extends to consider the impact of education, income, race, gender, ethnicity, and other characteristics and circumstances on well-being.
Green Social Work vs PIE
While both green social work and person-in-environment theories consider the importance of environmental influences, the approaches vary. Green social work focuses on the “Environment-in-person” principle while PIE is about the “Person-in-environment” perspective. Green social work considers the impact of broader environmental factors while PIE studies immediate environmental factors, which means it is more focused on persons and small groups in contrast to green social work. Both theories consider cross-cultural contexts but there is a difference in the number of practitioners needed and the nature of injustices being addressed.
Working with Underserved Populations: Green Social Work
Green social work applies to working with underserved, marginalized, and discriminated populations. Practitioners can engage in discussions on how climate change affects impoverished communities and what can be done. Because social workers are natural helpers, they are expected to focus on the specific needs of communities and push for improved life quality. There are extensive opportunities to help environmental refugees struggling with environmental degradation. Besides, at the macro level, social workers will challenge the socio-political powers and advocate for underserved groups.
Working with Underserved Populations: PIE
The person-in-environment approach applies to working with underserved, marginalized, and discriminated populations. The theory provides a person-centered perspective for alleviating the burden of physical, behavioral, and mental health struggles by allowing to explore access to human services to identify challenges and help address them. Social workers are expected to develop targeted service plan development based on the specific environmental circumstances of clients. It also calls for cross-cultural competence to serve clients with cultural and linguistic differences.
To conclude, green social work is a unique approach to social work that goes hand-in-hand with the recent trends in environmentalism. It provides an opportunity to look at the established socio-political structures and challenge them to reach environmental justice and the possibility to work at micro-, mezzo-, and macro-levels. The theory underlies the importance of the “environment-in-person” aspect, considering the impact of environmental deterioration and natural disasters and preparing communities to address them. Overall, through green social work, practitioners can ensure equal treatment and meaningful participation of all people regardless of their background, ethnicity, and social status.
Dominelli, L., & Ku, H-b. (2017). Green social work and its implications for social development in China. China Journal of Social Work, 10(1), 3-22.
Hope, D. (2021). Top five skills required to become an eco-friendly social worker. Web.
Kapro, K. (2016). What is green social work? Web.
NASW. (2021). Read the code of ethics. Web.
Powers, M. C. F., Willett, J., Mathias, J. & Hayward, A. (2018). Green social work for environmental justice: Implications for international social workers. In L. Dominelli (Ed.), The Routledge handbook of green social work. Routledge.
The Story “The Most Dangerous Game” By Richard Connell
The theme of relations with nature has always been important for society. The attitude and understanding of this concept have been changing along with the development of society and technologies. The idea of the individual as a part of the world was replaced by the belief that human beings are the rulers of nature and have the right to exploit it. However, in the 20th century, the ideas of humanism and the wiser attitude to the planed promoted a new shift in the perspective on these relations. Animals and nature became sympathized, and the necessity to protect them emerged. This process could not remain unnoticed by literature, which has always been used as the main tool to reflect communities’ moods and discuss some important ideas. The story The most dangerous game by Richard Connell also touches upon this problem.
The story offers a big game hunter from New York who arrived to haunt jaguars; however, because of the chain of events, he became hunted. Using a neutral tone at the start of the story, Connell introduces the main characters and their perspective on animals, whether they can think, and is it acceptable to haunt them. However, the tone alters when Rainsford becomes the victim and realizes the horror of being haunted and close to death. Changing roles, the author makes the readers feel what animals feel and understand their pain. It is a powerful method the writer uses to convey the central message. Thus, the purpose of Richard Connell’s The most dangerous game is to show how animals and humans are not so different when you look at it from a different perspective.
The story narrated by Richard Connell opens in traditional and understandable ways. Two men discuss their would-be hunting and the area. However, from the very first lines, the author introduces the central idea of the story. Rainsford and Whitney speak about hunting and how it feels for a man and an animal. They introduce the question, which is central for understanding the story “Who cares how a jaguar feels?” (Richard, 2007, p. 1). Immediately, they also answer it, “Perhaps, the jaguar does,” and support with the conclusion that they do not understand it (Richard, 2007, p. 1). The beginning of the story ends with Rainsford falling into the water and realizing that he will not be able to return to the ship. It means that a new part of his journey on the island begins.
In such a way, the author divides the whole story into two parts, which are living in normal conditions, or on board, and survival on the island. These two parts also have different moods and the main character’s attitude to haunting. Rainsford is met by General Zaroff, who is also a haunter and shares his experiences with the main character. Thus, the story’s climax comes after the main character’s recognition that “the ideal animal to hunt” mentioned by the general is a human being. (Richard, 2007, p. 7). Rainsford also becomes hunted, with the idea that he has to survive for three days to win and return safely. In such a way, the roles switched, and the hunter became the victim. Rainsford starts realizing the feelings animals have when being close to death, such as fear, the desire to live, and struggle (Richard, 2007, p. 9). As a result, he struggles with Zaroff to survive and return home.
The final part of the story is devoted the Rainsford’s attempts to survive and his struggle. The author shows how skills acquired when haunting help the main character to oppose the general and stay alive. These lines are also essential to understand the primary author’s idea. Connell shows that a human being is also an animal that can be killed. Everything depends on the perspective and the distribution of power. It helps to correlate animal sufferings with the experiences Rainsford has while trying to avoid being killed and survive. At the end of the story, the main character probably kills the general, trying to protect himself. It might be viewed as an allusion to killing humans by animals when they also try to struggle for their lives.
In such a way, the story narrated by Richard Connell touches upon the idea of haunting, its ethical side, and human nature. From the beginning of the story, Rainsford is sure that animals do not have feelings and that hunting is a good sport. However, the accident with the ship contributes to the reconsideration of his visions and the change of roles. The hunter becomes a victim, followed by another man with a gun. It helps to realize the horror of being in this situation, pain, and hope for survival. In such a way, the purpose of Richard Connell’s “The Most Dangerous Game” is to show how animals and humans are not so different when you look at it from a different perspective. Using an unusual plot device, Connell shows that people prefer to disregard others’ feelings to justify their actions and believe in their dominance over nature.
Richard, C. (2007). The most dangerous game. Arc Manor LLC.
Civil Rights Activists Luther King And Malcolm X
The 1960s brought enormous cultural and social change to the United States. The civil rights movement rose to prominence as the call for equality grew stronger in American society. Black activists joined the fight and began an active push for desegregation. The new generation, primarily represented by the student movement, participated in a growing number of protests, marches, boycotts, and sit-ins (Locke & Wright, 2019). Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X were the most renowned and respected leaders of black activism in the 1960s. Two leaders and two fighters — both were guided by the idea of justice and equality for African Americans. However, their vision of the ultimate goal and means of achieving it differed significantly.
As a Protestant Christian minister, Dr. Martin Luther King advocated for nonviolent civil actions. In 1957, he participated in the creation of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC), an organization that organized massive yet peaceful resistance against Jim Crow laws (Locke & Wright, 2019). The Birmingham campaign of 1963 is a perfect example of King’s ideas. Business boycotts, sit-ins, and peaceful marches forced the authorities to desegregate public accommodations in Alabama’s largest city (Locke & Wright, 2019). Overall, King urged for the integration of African Americans in society and racial conciliation at the national level.
In contrast, Malcolm X and his Nation of Islam (NOI) drew inspiration from the radical Black Power movement. In particular, Malcolm X advocated armed resistance, calling it “self-defense” and “intelligence” rather than “violence” (Locke & Wright, 2019, p. 332). In this regard, one can argue that Malcolm X opposed the conciliatory rhetoric of King and perceived African Americans as a united political force. He envisioned black Americans as a cohesive entity that protects black interests instead of relying on an interracial approach. Therefore, Malcolm X can be considered one of the founders of American black nationalism.
Locke, J. L., & Wright, B. (Eds.). (2019). The American yawp: A massively collaborative open U.S. history textbook. Vol. 2: Since 1877. Stanford University Press.