Is social work green prefession?

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Question Description

The article describes that Research is being done in eco social work field. Read the article and answer the following questions

1.what is the title of the article and who is/are author/authors?

2.what question was the researcher/ researchers trying to answer?

3.what method did the author/authors use to answer this question?

4.what type of data did they obtain?

5.what were the key findings from the research?

6.How might these funds apply to social work practice?

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Article Is social work a green profession? An examination of environmental beliefs Journal of Social Work 13(1) 3–29 ! The Author(s) 2011 Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav DOI: 10.1177/1468017311407555 jsw.sagepub.com Terry V Shaw University of Maryland, Baltimore, USA Abstract  Summary: Social work has developed to meet the needs of an industrializing society. As environmental concerns have increased, national, and international social work organizations have called on social workers to incorporate issues of the environment into their professional practice. Although there is a small body of literature related to social work and the environment, the profession has not fully embraced the need to incorporate these issues into social work education or practice. This cross-sectional survey in the United States of a random sample of National Association of Social Workers (NASW) members (n ¼ 373) was designed to gauge the environmental knowledge and attitudes of social work professionals.  Findings: Though social work shares many of the same underlying tenets of groups interested in environmental justice, results suggest that social workers as a profession are no more, nor less, environmentally friendly than the general population.  Applications: By failing to incorporate ecological issues facing the United States and abroad, our current social policies are at best not sustainable, and at worst dangerous for our continued social well-being. Social workers can play a leading role through an understanding of the interrelationship that exists between people and the environment, the integration of environmental issues into their social work practice, and advocating for vulnerable populations. Keywords social work, ecologic environment, environment, NASW, NEPS Corresponding author: Terry V Shaw, Assistant Professor, School of Social Work, University of Maryland Baltimore, 525 West Redwood Street, Baltimore, MD 21201, USA. Email: tshaw@ssw.umaryland.edu 4 Journal of Social Work 13(1) Concern for the health of the environment has increased substantially over the last several decades. We are beginning to understand the extent of human effects on the natural environment and the impact of these effects, such as the loss of habitats for animals due to sprawl, flooding and landslides caused by deforestation and attempts to contain rivers, air and water pollution caused by exhaust, runoff and inadequate storage of toxic substances, and global warming, to name a few. It is becoming ever more apparent that the natural environment cannot be ignored. Recent data from several polls suggest that people are not satisfied with the environmental status quo. A 2005 US Gallup poll found that 63 percent of respondents in the United States believed that environmental quality was getting worse, not better (up from 57% in the 2003 poll) (Saad, 2005). In the United Kingdom, a 2007 national survey found that 82 percent of respondents feel that humans are severely abusing the environment (Hayward, Turtle, Carpenter, & Hanson, 2007). A global survey of 22,000 people in 21 countries by the British Broadcast Corporation found that overall, 79 percent of respondents agree that human beings are affecting the environment (BBC, 2007). These results suggest that people are concerned about the natural environment and believe that more should be done to help alleviate society’s strain on the environment. The field of social work was developed to meet the needs of a rapidly industrializing society. One of the profession’s founders, Jane Addams, utilized a holistic view of the life experiences of people in relation to where they lived and worked to examine the environmental causes of poverty and uncover methods to improve life for people in their neighborhoods (Leiby, 1978). The Settlement House movement identified many of the problems facing the poor not as individual problems, but as systemic issues that needed to be addressed and reformed. Settlement houses, like Hull House in the United States, used survey research to assess the needs of individuals in their neighborhoods and then moved to address those needs through political activism, community organizing, and the provision of needed services. The activities and social advancements that have their roots in the settlement house movement had positive impacts on the natural environment for people living in urban areas. Some advances that came out of the settlement houses include: child labor laws; worker safety regulations; public health reforms (clean drinking water); inner-city sanitation; the establishment of the juvenile court system; widows’ pensions; and social insurance (Leiby, 1978; Reisch & Andrews, 2001). Though social welfare has a history of working with vulnerable populations, the profession has moved away from issues relating to the natural environment and environmental justice. Several social welfare scholars have again begun to explore the links between social welfare and the natural environment (Berger & Kelly, 1993; Besthorn, 1997; Cahill, 1994; Cahill & Fitzpatrick, 2002; Coates, 2003; Estes, 1993; Fitzpatrick, 1998; Hoff & McNutt, 2000; Mary, 2008; Midgley, 1995; Pandey, 1996, 1998; Park, 1994; Rogge, 1993, 1996; Rogge & Combs-Orme, 2003; Shaw, 2008). The topic has not yet received widespread attention in the field of social welfare, however, there is evidence that this trend might be changing. Recently, in the United States, the National Association of Social Workers Shaw 5 (NASW) adopted a policy statement on the natural environment stating: . . . social workers have a professional interest, beyond the personal vested interest everyone shares, in the viability of the natural environment, including the noxious effect of environmental degradation on people, especially oppressed individuals and communities, and they have a professional obligation to become knowledgeable and educated about the precarious position of the natural environment. (NASW, 2003a) The International Federation of Social Work is even more direct in calling social workers and professionals in the social sciences to become aware of, and integrate, issues of environmental responsibility into their practice, calling on social workers to: . . . recognize the importance of the natural and built environment to the social environment, to develop environmental responsibility and care for the environment in social work practice and management today and for future generations . . . and to ensure that environmental issues gain increased presence in social work education. (IFSW, 2004) Based on the increasing concern surrounding environmental issues, the disproportionate environmental effects felt by individuals likely to be served by social workers and the lack of attention to environmental issues in social work, coupled with the social work professions call for social work involvement, it is important to assess social workers’ knowledge and attitudes regarding the environment. This study seeks to contribute to the literature regarding social workers’ knowledge and perception of the natural environment through an exploration of social worker attitudes towards the environment. It can be argued that social workers share many of the same traits as those found to be more environmentally friendly (politically liberal, primarily female, and not as socio-economically well-off) (Albrecht, Gordon, Hoiberg, & Nowak, 1982; Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978; Dunlap, Van Liere, Mertig, & Jones, 2000; Geller & Lasley, 2000; LaTrobe & Acott, 2000; NASW, 2003b; Tarrant & Cordell, 1997; Tarrant, Bright, & Cordell, 1997). Additionally, the similarities between the goals of environmental justice and the mission of social work suggest that social worker attitudes and perceptions of the environment should more closely resemble those of environmental justice organizations than the population as a whole. This question will be explored by comparing the results of social workers on the New Environmental Paradigm Scale (included as a part of the survey instrument) with past results in the literature that focused on the general population and environmental groups in the United States. The examination of the environmental attitudes and perception of social work professionals will lead to a better understanding of the relationship between social work and the environment. A dialogue in the field of social work needs to begin regarding the similarities between the goals of environmental justice and the 6 Journal of Social Work 13(1) mission of social work. As the preamble to the NASW Code of Ethics states, the profession of social work actively works to promote social justice (NASW, 1999). Literature related to social work and the environment Several prominent social welfare scholars have written about the intersection of the natural environment and the profession of social work. These can be separated into distinct areas of social welfare according to the focus of their scholarly work: social work practice, and education and social policy. Social work practice and social work education Social work in the West has long prescribed to a person-in-environment perspective. However, the definition of person-in-environment is still a somewhat contentious issue. Rogge and Cox (2001) note there is disagreement and some confusion concerning the expansiveness of the person-in-environment construct. A narrower conceptualization of person-in-environment looks at environment as referring to the social environment only (Brower, 1988; Rogge & Cox, 2001). A broader conceptualization would allow social work professionals to provide a more holistic assessment and intervention and would mirror the eco-social approach in European social work (Matthies, Narhi, & Ward, 2001). The broader conceptualization also mirrors the activities of the settlement houses where personal and physical issues were examined. This perspective stretches the meaning of environment to encompass the social environment, the physical environment, and the potentially harmful physical and mental effects of environmental pollution on individuals. Berger and Kelly (1993) explain that human activity has altered the environment in ways harmful to humans and other species. The greatest impacts are: increasing human population; the introduction of synthetic compounds that accumulate in the human body (through air, water, and food consumption); and changes in the surface of the planet (building of dams and deforestation) (Berger & Kelly, 1993). Geographic displacement caused by war, poverty, and disease affect a large section of the developing world. Berger and Kelly (1993) suggest that social work professionals are in a good position to facilitate societal acceptance of these realities and to develop means to address the root causes. Social work as a profession needs to develop a meaningful ecological policy that can be incorporated into all levels of social work practice. Park (1994) agrees with the need to incorporate the natural environment into social work practice calling for the use of the natural environment as a teaching tool. Germain and Gitterman (1987) introduced the ecological model of social work practice more than 30 years ago. The ecological perspective requires that people and environments (physical and social) be viewed as a single system. The person and the environment are understood in terms of their relationship upon each other (Germain & Gitterman, 1987). Social work educators and Shaw 7 practitioners should expand their understanding of the ecological perspective, like the person-in-environment perspective, to include the natural environment. Bartlett (2003) addresses the means of incorporating issues of environmental justice into social work practice. Social work assessments can include questions relating to a client’s awareness of any health hazards they might be exposed to (including occupational hazards or proximity to hazardous sites in their community). These assessments can lead to community empowerment activities (Bartlett, 2003). Social policy Several social work scholars have been calling for movement away from current growth-based models of social policy to policies more inline with the social and environmental realities of our time. Hoff (1998) points out that traditional models of social welfare are based on models of the economy that do not take into account the key role of finite natural resources base. These models do not offer the stability needed to move toward a sustainable society and have outlived their usefulness for guiding social policy-making. Hoff (1998) calls for a new social policy integrating the three pillars of environmental protection, social development and environmentally and socially sustainable economic development. Carrilio (2007) presents a global perspective by stating that social work with its unique person-in-environment focus can play a key role in international sustainable development efforts. Midgley (1994, 1995) puts forward Social Development Theory, the synthesis of economic and social development, as a workable alternative to the traditional growth based theories of social welfare. Shaw (2008) agrees with this assessment and suggests a means of incorporating ecological ideals into Social Development. Dominant social paradigm The dominant social paradigm in many Western countries and certainly in the United States over the last several decades includes acceptance of free markets, a belief in a strong individual work ethic, the belief in economic growth, and an acceptance of science and technological advancements as a means to overcome problems. This dominant social paradigm (DSP) is defined by Smith as ‘a cluster of beliefs, values, and ideals that influence our thinking about society, government, and individual responsibility’ (Smith, 1995, p. 6). Milbrath (1994) agrees that the DSP is centered on a rational economic model and its priority is economic growth and development and states that the DSP ‘emphasizes immediate materially oriented gratification; hierarchy and authority; competition, domination, and patriarchy; and freedom as long as it serves economic priorities’ (p. 279). The pursuit of immediate gratification and continuous economic growth suggests that all other issues (including the natural environment) are, at best, of secondary importance. 8 Journal of Social Work 13(1) New Environmental Paradigm The environmental justice movement is an attempt to break away from the DSP and move into a New Environmental Paradigm (NEP) (Novotny, 1995). According to Milbrath (1994), the NEP places emphasis on the sustainability of the natural environment to continue to meet the needs of society. NEP moves away from the DSP by emphasizing ‘simplicity and personal enrichment, cooperation, partnership and egalitarianism, and freedom so long as it serves ecological and social imperatives’ (Milbrath, 1994, p. 279). In social work, the movement away from the DSP and towards NEP is exemplified through the call for the incorporation of environmental concerns into the field of social welfare (Berger & Kelly, 1993; Besthorn, 1997; Cahill, 1994; Cahill & Fitzpatrick, 2002; Coates, 2003; Estes, 1993; Fitzpatrick, 1998; Hoff & McNutt, 2000; Midgley, 1995; Pandey, 1998; Park, 1994; Rogge, 2000; Rogge & Cox, 2001; Shaw, 2008). There have been numerous studies attempting to measure environmental attitudes. These studies have relied on four main scales: 1) the Environmental Attitude and Knowledge scale developed by Maloney and Michael (1973); 2) the New Environmental Paradigm scale (NEP) developed by Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) and updated in 2000 by Dunlap et al. and renamed the New Ecological Paradigm Scale; 3) the Environmental Concern scale developed by Weigel and Weigel (1978); and 4) the Awareness of Concern scale by Stern, Dietz, & Kalof, (1993). Of these instruments, the New Environmental Paradigm Scale has been used most often in studies of environmental attitude (Albrecht et al., 1982; Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978; Dunlap et al., 2000; Geller & Lasley, 2000; LaTrobe & Acott, 2000; Tarrant & Cordell, 1997; Tarrant et al., 1997). The Environmental Attitude and Knowledge scale, however, was the only instrument used in a study on a population specifically including social workers (Benton, 1994). This study was designed to compare the environmental attitudes of faculty members in the areas of Business, Social Work, and Education. Using a self-administered questionnaire with a 31 percent response rate, Benton (1994) concluded that non-business faculty (including social work) were more knowledgeable and had more ecologically friendly attitudes than did the business faculty. These results suggest that business schools lag behind non-business schools in educating their students of the importance of environmental factors. Unfortunately, Benton did not break out the non-business faculty by discipline, so no specific information on social work faculty attitudes is available. The New Environmental Paradigm Scale (NEPS) The New Environmental Paradigm scale (NEPS) is the most often used measure of environmental attitudes. The NEPS has been used to compare the environmental attitudes of environmental organizations to the general population (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978; LaTrobe & Acott, 2000), to compare farmers to the general population Shaw 9 (Albrecht et al., 1982), to compare hunters to non-hunters (Tarrant et al., 1997), and to examine the change in environmental attitudes of the general population between 1978 and 1990 (Dunlap et al., 2000). Most of the studies using the NEPS have been done in the United States using mailed questionnaires with response rates ranging from 50.1 percent to 70.1 percent. The exception is the study by Tarrant et al. (1997) that used a telephone survey with a participation rate of 48.3 percent. The original NEPS was found to have internal consistency reliability (Cronbach alpha ¼ 0.81) (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978). The updated NEPS (the New Ecological Paradigm Scale) was found to have slightly higher internal consistency reliability (Cronbach alpha ¼ 0.83) (Dunlap et al., 2000). The NEPS was found to have predictive validity in all of the studies comparing the general population to a more environmentally conscious group (Albrecht et al., 1982; Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978; LaTrobe & Acott, 2000). The NEPS was also found to have construct validity with other measures of environmental attitudes (Dunlap et al., 2000; Tarrant et al., 1997). Of the studies above, two in particular bear mentioning based on their inclusion of a general population category: the Dunlap et al. (2000) study and the LaTrobe and Acott (2000) study. Dunlap et al. (2000) conducted a follow up of the Dunlap and Van Liere (1978) study of 676 residents of Washington State. In the 14 years between the two studies, there had been a general increase in the population scores on the NEPS. However, because the 2000 study utilized the updated 15 question NEPS instead of the original NEPS, the authors were unable to compute if these differences were statistically significant. LaTrobe and Acott (2000) compared a group from the general population of Gillingham, England (n ¼ 92) to a random sample of members of environmental organizations (n ¼ 171). The authors found a significant difference between the groups in their mean scores on the NEPS, with the members of the environmental group having the higher (and more pro-environmental) score. In the literature, several socio-demographic characteristics have been suggested as having an effect on environmental attitudes. The following characteristics have been found to be predictors of a pro-environment attitude: liberal political beliefs (Dunlap & Van Liere, 1978; Hodgkinson & Innes, 2000; Tarrant et al., 1997; Uyeki & Holland, 2 ...
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