Session: What Is Social Work's Role in a Just Transition: Exploring Implications for Research and Practice (Society for Social Work and Research 28th Annual Conference - Recentering & Democratizing Knowledge: The Next 30 Years of Social Work Science)

All in-person and virtual presentations are in Eastern Standard Time Zone (EST).

SSWR 2024 Poster Gallery: as a registered in-person and virtual attendee, you have access to the virtual Poster Gallery which includes only the posters that elected to present virtually. The rest of the posters are presented in-person in the Poster/Exhibit Hall located in Marquis BR Salon 6, ML 2. The access to the Poster Gallery will be available via the virtual conference platform the week of January 11. You will receive an email with instructions how to access the virtual conference platform.

227 What Is Social Work's Role in a Just Transition: Exploring Implications for Research and Practice

Saturday, January 13, 2024: 9:45 AM-11:15 AM
Treasury, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Cristina Gomez-Vidal, PhD, MSW, University of California, Merced
Rachel Forbes, MSW, University of Denver, Cristina Gomez-Vidal, PhD, MSW, University of California, Merced, Joonmo Kang, PhD, University of Kansas and Amy Krings, MSW, PhD, Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work
In response to urgent climate threats, social work researchers and practitioners are working to promote global market, governance, and lifestyle shifts toward a sustainable and less carbon-intensive society. Yet, social workers also encounter and work with individuals, families, and communities who are, in some ways, negatively impacted by these changes. Consequently, the path forward for social work to support the transition to a sustainable economy while also addressing associated harms can make it challenging to discern social work's role in these political, economic, and social conflicts. In this roundtable, we consider ways social workers might reduce the negative impacts during a transition to sustainability. To this end, we introduce what a coalition of labor and environmental advocates call a "Just Transition" – a philosophical and political framework to build a sustainable economy, providing new opportunities for people to thrive. The Just Transition framework emphasizes that changes in production should not reinforce racial and social inequities for communities that bear the heaviest burdens caused by climate and environmental injustice. This roundtable seeks to generate dialogue about the unique roles that social work research and practice can play in a Just Transition. We are especially interested in imagining how social workers and social work research might help resolve political and social tensions associated with a transition – including those driven by fear of losing one's livelihood, culture, ways of living and knowing, and even identity. *Understanding points of community engagement and social work intervention will be of focus for discussion. To this end, we first provide context about Just Transition, its history, principles, and potential. Presenter one will provide an overview of its framework, including its associated impacts on individuals, families, and communities. Presenter two will present critiques of the Just Transition, including its potential and limitations relating to racial and social inequities. Presenter three will introduce the Sunrise Movement, a national youth-led political movement to stop the climate crisis, focusing on the experiences of social work students who are part of it. Finally, presenter four will present opportunities for social work researchers, educators, and practitioners to participate in Just Transition movements. With this context in mind, we will prompt audience discussion about current and potential intersections between social work and a Just Transition. We will consider likely strategic and ethical dilemmas and how social workers can support the development of vibrant, democratic, and sustainable communities that incorporate social and racial justice.
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