Green social work espouses a holistic approach to all peoples and other living things – plants and animals, and the physical ecosystem; emphasises the relational nature of all its constituent parts; and redefines the duty to care for and about others as one that includes the duty to care for and about planet earth.
By acknowledging the interdependency of all living things it allows for the inclusion of all systems and institutions in its remit, including both (hu)man-made and natural disasters arising from the (hu)made ones of poverty to chemical pollution of the earth’s land, waters and soils and climate change, to the natural hazards like earthquakes and volcanoes which turn to disasters through human (in)action. Green social work’s value system is also one that favours equality, social inclusion, the equitable distribution of resources, and a rights-based approach to meeting people’s needs to live in an ethical and sustainable manner. Responding to these issues is one of the biggest challenges facing social workers in the twenty-first century which this Handbook is intended to address.
Through providing the theories, practices, policies, knowledge and skills required to act responsibly in responding to the diverse disasters that threaten to endanger all living things and planet earth itself, this green social work handbook will be required reading for all social work students, academics and professionals, as well as those working in the fields of community development and disaster management.
Lena Dominelli holds a Chair in Applied Social Sciences in the School of Applied Social Sciences and is Co-Director at the Institute of Hazards, Risk and Resilience Research at Durham University where she has particular responsibility for work on vulnerability and resilience. She has held major large projects including those funded by the United Kingdom Research Councils – the ESRC (‘Internationalising Institutional and Professional Practices’), EPSRC (‘Climate Change, the Built Infrastructure and Health and Social Care Provisions for Older People’), and NERC (Earthquakes without Frontiers); and DfID (Department of International Development) and Wellcome Trust (Health Interventions during Volcanic Eruptions).