Session: The Green New Deal and Its Social Work Implications: A Critical Examination and Discussion (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

89 The Green New Deal and Its Social Work Implications: A Critical Examination and Discussion

Friday, January 17, 2020: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Liberty Ballroom J, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cluster: Sustainable Development, Urbanization, and Environmental Justice (SDU&E)
Samantha Teixeira, PhD, Boston College, Smitha Rao, MSc, Boston College, Shanondora Billiot, PhD, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Felicia Mitchell, PhD, Arizona State University and Claire Luce, MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
The Green New Deal (GND) resolution is a climate change-focused stimulus package introduced by legislators Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York and Ed Markey of Massachusetts in February of 2019. It calls for an ambitious, unified strategy to tackle climate change that moves the US to 100% clean energy through a package of programs including guaranteed employment, fair pay, healthcare, access to affordable housing, and robust workplace health and anti-discriminatory standards. The GND aims to address the unprecedented urgency of climate change and associated social and environmental problems. It has drawn fierce partisan debate and, paired with a presidential administration that has slashed budgets for environmental regulation, we are seeing an onslaught against environmentally and socially just policies that will have far-reaching consequences for the vulnerable populations that the social work profession is mandated to serve. In this roundtable, we will examine how social work researchers may join forces with the youth movements, environmental, and racial justice focused organizations who have been working to develop the GND.

This roundtable, comprised of a diverse panel of early career scholars working at the intersection of social and environmental problems, will critically interrogate the GND resolution and its social work implications through several lenses. We will draw on our experiences living and engaging in research with frontline environmental justice communities to discuss how social work expertise and lived experience can be married to promote equitable research and policy. We will describe the unique skills that social workers can bring to interdisciplinary environmental research to effect policy change including an emphasis on participatory approaches to lend credence to the experiences and expertise of frontline communities. Further, our presentation will privilege indigenous ways of knowing, describing how the GND may empower (or harm) communities who have borne the brunt of historical and policy-related trauma. Participants will have the opportunity to debate social work's role in prior social policy development, examining mistakes of past policies that perpetuated exclusion and marginalization in indigenous communities and communities of color.

The panel deliberation is of particular relevance to this year's conference theme of reducing racial and economic inequality because climate justice is reliant on socially just policies. The GND provides a venue for social workers to assert their leadership role through its focus on racial, economic, and environmental justice. Our professional imperatives and values force us to reckon with the crises facing our natural, built, and social environments in order to reduce racial, economic, and environmental inequality.

See more of: Roundtables