Deep Ecology's contributions to social work: a ten-year retrospective
Besthorn, F. H. (2012), Deep Ecology's contributions to social work: A ten-year retrospective. International Journal of Social Welfare, 21: 248–259. doi: 10.1111/j.1468-2397.2011.00850.x
Besthorn FH. Deep Ecology's contributions to social work: A ten-year retrospective In the last decade, a new generation of social workers have made great strides incorporating environmental awareness into their theoretical formulations and practice modalities. This is a welcome development for a profession often conspicuously absent in the emerging international consensus that Earth's capacity to support life is in deep trouble. Beginning in the 1980s and 1990s, a few intrepid North American social workers began to raise the alarm concerning the scope and extent of environmental decline. Several social work scholars implored the profession to play a more active role in raising ecological awareness and take a seat at policy and practice forums debating environmental issues. Deep Ecology, founded by the late Norwegian philosopher Arne Naess, offers a comprehensive philosophical framework upon which social work might draw in the development of its conceptual orientations. This ! article examines the current manifestations of Deep Ecology as a philosophy and socio-political movement. It briefly assesses the evolution of social work's nascent interest in the natural environmental, examines historical precursors influencing Deep Ecology, reviews several key concepts of Deep Ecology, discusses ongoing applications of deep ecological ideas to several disciplines and suggests how deep ecological ideas might help inform social work's understanding of social justice.
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