Session: Advancing Climate Action through an Intergenerational Justice Framework (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.

288 Advancing Climate Action through an Intergenerational Justice Framework

Sunday, January 14, 2024: 8:00 AM-9:30 AM
Treasury, ML 4 (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
Fiona Doherty, MSW, Ohio State University
Fiona Doherty, MSW, Ohio State University, Carson De Fries, MSW, University of Denver, Colleen Cummings Melton, MSW, University of Denver, Anthony Traver, MSW, Ohio State University and Leslie Hasche, PhD, University of Denver
The next ten years are a critical time to integrate equity and justice perspectives into global aging and climate change agendas. As anthropogenic (i.e., human-caused) climate change continues to intensify and produce adverse impacts on well-being, the number of older adults, a group facing disproportionate climate change impacts, is increasing exponentially. Older adults are more vulnerable to climate change impacts (e.g., storms, flooding, droughts, extreme heat) due to a variety of intersecting physiological, psychological, economic, and social factors. Despite their vulnerability, older adults are largely excluded from climate decision-making, disregarding their expert knowledge and lived experiences. Further, older adults are often blamed for climate change, contributing to ageism and deepening generational divides. A growing number of scholars call for intergenerational approaches for enhanced understanding, solidarity, and cooperation in the context of climate change. All generations (past, present, and future) have a mutual responsibility to care for each other and this social contract can lead to a variety of benefits both inside and outside of the climate change domain. As the social work discipline strives for a more age-friendly and climate-resilient future, there are many opportunities to embrace an intergenerational lens and integrate the voices of older adults in climate action. Intergenerational justice examines the moral obligations and relationships across generations, focusing on equity in economic, psychological, and sociological contexts between generational cohorts. This framework can guide climate action by promoting equity-based solutions and relationship-building among different generations. Intergenerational justice focuses on long-term planning and objectives that consider the abilities, equity issues, and resources within current generational groups and the potential needs of future generations, which is essential as we work toward a just and resilient future for people and planet. In this session, members of the roundtable will provide an overview of the disproportionate impacts of climate change on older adults and the importance of engaging older adults as key stakeholders in climate action and decision-making. Presenters will introduce intergenerational justice theory and its connection to issues of climate change. Next, presenters will share specific examples of how intergenerational justice has been and can be applied to climate issues in social work research. Intergenerational and co-generational activism toward climate action will be discussed, including how to build solidarity between youth activists and older adults engaging in climate action, as well as the importance of Indigenous elders' traditional ecological knowledge. The Age-Friendly Community model provides guidance on how community members of all ages can co-create social and built environments that prioritize sustainability and resilience. Roundtable members will then share findings from their own systematic reviews on older adults in extreme heat and wildfire contexts in order to identify future opportunities to promote intergenerational justice. Finally, the discussant will respond to the information shared by the roundtable and facilitate a discussion with the attendees.
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