Deep Ecology and Ecofeminism: Social Work to Address Global Environmental Crisis


Klemmer, Cary L., and Kathleen A. McNamara. 2019. “Deep Ecology and Ecofeminism: Social Work to Address Global Environmental Crisis.” Affilia: Journal of Women and Social Work: 1-13.

Authors: Cary L. Klemmer, Kathleen A. McNamara


There is emerging global agreement that environmental change is one of the greatest threats to ecosystems, culture, health, and economies of humankind. In response to these environmental changes and the expected human vulnerability they will continue to produce, the American Academy of Social Work and Social Welfare has highlighted intervention to address the human impacts of the changing climate as one of the profession’s grand challenges. This article troubles the often anthropocentric worldview from which such responses emerge and proposes a framework informed by the wisdom of deep ecology and ecofeminism. Born from critical methodologies that question the rigid bifurcation and valuation of male/female and human/nonhuman, these perspectives invite social workers to think in novel ways about environmental challenges. We argue that the social work profession, which has historically sought to disturb power dynamics and reprioritize society’s needs, is uniquely situated to think holistically about responding to this crisis. By honoring the interrelated nature of human and nonhumankind, social workers can more mindfully lead the social planning and advocacy efforts necessary to meet this grand challenge.

Keywords: climate change, deep ecology, ecofeminism, feminist theories, social work practice

Topics: Economies, Environment, Climate Change, Feminisms, Ecofeminism, Livelihoods

Year: 2019

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