Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis


School for Social Work


Climatic changes, Social service-Environmental aspects, Eco-social work, Person-in-environment, Scope of practice, Climate change adaptation, Social workers concerns


Although many professions and citizen groups are actively working to create practice models and policies that will help people adapt to climate change, the social work profession is not currently engaging with this issue. If the social work profession would join these other groups and create its own practice models based on meeting the physical, psychological, and social needs that result from climate change, then the core social work value of creating a just society and empowering underrepresented populations can be strengthened in climate change adaptation work. This qualitative, exploratory study asked eleven social workers what concerns they have for their clients or community with regards to adapting to a changing climate; what professional actions they would need to take to help with these concerns; what support they would need to successfully complete the action; and how this relates to justice. This sample population of this study formed two distinct groups: social workers who were highly involved in eco-activism over a long period of time; and the general sample. The highly engaged sample engaged in eco-activism outside of the clinical social worker setting and they reported the need for more community support and involvement. The general group worked in a variety of clinical settings and reported the need for more structural support in order to help clients adapt to climate change.




iv, 79 p. Thesis (M.S.W.)-Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Mass., 2011.