The Social Worker’s Role in Sustainability
Yesterday, I had the opportunity to attend an event at my alma mater, James Madison University. March is National Social Work Month, and each year JMU’s social work department hosts a celebration for current students and alumni. It’s always wonderful to reconnect with professors and to be in a room surrounded by passionate social workers and aspiring students.
This year’s celebration theme was “Water is Life”, correlating with the national theme “Promoting Community and Environmental Sustainability”. Believe it or not, water access is a social justice and social work issue. Social workers stand up for social justice and access to clean water for all living things. The profession believes water is a right, and social workers advocate for the 1.8 billion people around the world who are exposed to contaminated drinking water.
I am proud to be part of a profession that takes an active role in sustainability. Social workers stand up by comforting people who are experiencing devastating illnesses and crises caused by environmental disasters. They show up to assist survivors of drought, floods and hurricanes. They speak out against environmental racism such as the placement of low-income or minority communities in the proximity of environmentally hazardous or degraded environments, such as toxic waste, pollution and urban decay.
I am proud to be part of a profession that believes in promoting community and environmental sustainability.