Climate change and environmental degradation are among the key environmental aspects of human is endowed (Rao, 2020). Social work professionals play a major role in the marginalized community. Environmental justice, co-preparedness are some of the actions addressed by the community. The research proposal to seek to identify the role social worker can play in dealing with the environmental crisis. It is important to explore the role of social workers dealing with the concern for environmental degradation and climate change. The research seeks to add to the literature in development of approaches to by transforming curriculum and physical intervention building new knowledge. An ideological shift in the social work profession to build an understanding of physical as well as social environment to encourage action on environmental issues (Gray, 2015). Key attention is drawn to the development of a knowledge base for social work professionals to respond effectively to climate change and environmental degradation. The study would aim to identify the role of social workers in macro, community and clinical intervention as part of actions on upsurge environmental issue.
A sustainable world is not possible without taking into account the human dimension of the environmental crisis. Currently, the growing concerns of environmental change with poverty and social inequality have placed the importance of sustainable development as critical. The qualitative research proposal will include phenomenology research methodology with the theoretical underpinning of social constructivism. The key significance of the research is that it will help social workers to understand what role they should identify and potential solutions for mitigating environmental issues. The research to critically document the methodology s and outlines the implication of social work education its practice and limitations.
Q1What role can social workers in Australia play in dealing with an environmental issue?
Q2 What barriers social workers experience in action on an environmental issue?
Environmental degradation has seen increased global recognition and has been highlighted as an imminent issue along with climate change (Sugirtha, 2015). The environment crisis stems from disparity among individuals. The increased interest in environmental issues and concern has emerged as a response to the manifestation of destruction that has emphasized the impact of globalization and development efforts by social work. Environment crisis refers to ecological damage leading to climate change and unexpected worsening of environment (Shajahan, 2018)
Texteria (2015) highlights the importance of advocacy to promote a green environment and reducing environmental injustice. The author stress capacity building and empowerment of the individual, families for a human-centered development and argues social worker should focus both on social inequality and poverty. Gray (2012) emphasis adequate training for professionals on building existing skillsets and addressing simultaneously environmental issues. Drolet (2015) suggests building green social work for improving the quality of life of marginalized populations to secure policy changes. Affirming and protecting the rights of Indigenous people by social workers will protect the marginalized at risk of environmental crisis. A remarkable impact of environmental justice includes the development and compliance of policies in commercial organizations corresponding to environmental sustainability. Environment injustice shows failure to ensure equitable distribution of resources and wellbeing. According to Dominelli (2014) the limited exploration on social worker in formulation for action for environment justice will deaccelerate the shift to green social work.
Gray (2015) highlights the environment practice and role of social workers in conducting assessments by encouraging funding agencies to incorporate environmental concerns in funding applications. The author further states social worker's expertise in community action and engagement will be indispensable as it promotes strength-based efforts. Rao (2015) suggests a resolution and advocacy at the grassroots level can build a resilient community and amplify longstanding disparities. The author further states that strength-based practice social workers can eliminate unjust equity in understanding climate assessment and poverty reduction issue. Development of green environment approach and familiarity in social work program will help in exploring the connection of environment and social worker. Drolet (2015) put forward the concept of green social workers for social workers to prevent future crises. The impact of climate change, environmental injustice need social consciousness and role of social worker for implementing policy change. Dismantling low-income communities mediating solutions for social workers for risk assessment and enhanced public participation role to elicit local knowledge. Nesmith (2015) states by adopting transformative learning theory more flexible and reflective result can be determined. The author favors social workers should be involved in environmental issues expanding the knowledge base for global expansion to recognize political forces. Zalph (2010) put forward the importance of social work to accommodate the” person in environment” by encouraging a level of practice and intergroup relations. Gray (2015) to echo his support on the action by a social worker at the global and local level, the author points that social research coursework should focus on climate injustice, community-supported agriculture for social workers to act as facilitators for active citizenship and advocacy. The economic excess and level of inequality determined in society make it more prominent for environmental content. Rao (2015) in his research observed that the environment issue had little attention in the social work, this has been addressed as climate change disaster, health, livelihood, and vulnerability has changed rapidly in the current time. The author further states teaching and learning practice should be centered on the integration of social, economic, and environmental dimensions in social worker practitioners. Sustainability and environmental justice are growing at global levels hence subsequent actions for role of practitioner should be at forefront. The social worker needs to be prepared for challenges and adopting new approaches and innovations.
Several studies highlight the social work educator's integration and ways to frame environmental concerns for vulnerable populations. Texteria (2015) highlights improving social work professional ability to respond to environmental injustice. Nesmith (2015) highlights environmental hazards and the importance of social work education for evolving environmental policies. The author highlights the evaluation of social policies using social functioning at a large level. Environment justice movement requires a vast set of network of an activist for studying the effects of human activities for building tribal system According to Faruque (2013) the broader perspective of social work distance from economic determinism He stressed on contemporary social work scholars to examine the personal political dimension for structural realties to expand social work in the remote and cultural area. The environmental justice movement also requires a active individual researchers, and experts located across Australia. According Sugirtha (2015) the social work, practice aim to improve social conditions and equality. Since climate change disproportionately impacts marginalized group central solutions on social work and main actors is required for social consciousness for evaluating social functioning.
The major emphasis shows the disproportionate experience of environmental degradation. Social workers are prepared including crisis preparedness and capacity building. The key solution focused on educating social workers and expanding social work practice in education for consideration to the environment is highlighted by the studies. The research does not identify the barrier to the limitation of environmental deregulation and barriers that limit social worker. The development of mainstream solutions does not state how social workers can be positioned for equitable action macro-environment justice intervention through coursework. The literature lacks explicit research on the role of social workers in the environment and bringing changes that would adhere to challenges faced by a social worker. The importance of interlink between social workers role as researcher, educators, clinical and community members. It further does not propose or identify cultural mindset of social work on physical environment
This study will follow the qualitative research design. The research methodology includes selection, determination, and analysis of the information on the topic. The research methodology is very crucial for a research as it ensures that the research is being performed in the best manner where the tools and techniques that are used to meet the research significance. The research approach is designed for broader aspects of informants' view to undertaking an analysis of the role and barrier in environmental issues. According to Alston (2012), the qualitative approach is appropriate when research is phenomenology seeking to understand complex issues. Phenomenology will help to understand informant meaning and help to adjust new issues and views as they emerge during the course of research (Alton, 2012). The research will address multiple perspectives approaches by a social worker about the environmental crisis and the perceived barrier faced by them. The research will be appropriate as the issue does not has a universal understanding. In conducting the study social worker role and barrier based on the personal experience of informants will be conducted. The importance here is placed on the interpretation of experience allowed to create a deeper understanding of the issue underlying. The research will utilize the emphasis of experience as a detailed account rather than the development of existing literature.
The research is rooted in social constructivism. According to Rubin (2013) social constructivism as a framework of social reality is developed through interactions. In conducting the research their role of social workers can help in environmental justice based on their life experience to determine what can be done for social work actions in the future. The research will focus on interaction determining as inductive approach to encourage appropriate responses from the informants.
The sampling strategies will focus on Social workers who live close to Adelaide due to the time constraint of the research. The informant needs to identify the minimum criteria as social workers. The participants will be aged between 22-45 years. The research will be composed of 50 participants. The request will be sent through the Australian Association of Social Workers. Overall the informants will reflect on a heterogeneous group in terms of social work roles and trained social workers. This will not include social workers who do not consider environmental issues under their current purview and have never dealt with these issues may alter research results.
The research will be conducted through open-ended, in-depth, semi structures interviews. A semi-structured approach will allow creativity in answer and simultaneously provide consistency between interviews. The primary data collection will be through first-hand information based on a telephonic interview. Interviews will be conducted in 45 to 60 minutes in length.
The interview question will be developed to address the gaps that emerged in the literature review. Interview questions will be created reflectively in an attempt to limit leading response on subjective opinion on the topic. All summary transcriptions will be recorded and encrypted. The interview will be conducted via telephone. The study will disseminate to the chosen participants the participants who have expressed interest will be provided with an information sheet, this will include the length of the interview, confidentiality, and limitation. The secondary data relevant will be collected from online journal and publications
The data collected from the interview will be transcribed and patterns emerging through the data will be identified, coded, and summaries. The interpretation and coding will be done until the data saturation position. The data saturation is described as the generation of insights that cannot longer be produced (Rubin 2013). The recurrent themes will be analyse and grouped to identify the narrative elements as stated by the informants. Each case will be compared to each new case during which developed themes and sub themes are develops for overall thematic categories. Inconsistent data will be eliminated with the approach this will contribute towards identifying the barrier ascertained by social worker.
The research has several limitations, the first is the candidate recruitment, and participants as a limited sample of 50 is considered the research cannot be generalized with the results. The candidate selection will be limited to geographical area. The main limitation of using convenience sampling that it impacts transferability outside of social work. Another limitation associated is related to data collection of using semi-structured interviews that may lead up to inherent bias. The limitation concerning research study can be informants are a social worker who already believed that social work will be taking action. This may impact the mindset while approached for an interview can result biased opinion.
The conduct will follow ethical guidelines. All informants will be provided with consent and information formation.
Confidentiality will ensure all data recordings consent forms will be password protected. During phenomenology, social workers will be informed of how the information will be accessed and how findings will be disseminated. Privacy will be central in research on admission of research by the informants while constituting results and request for discretion will be entertained. Bracketing will be undertaken to endure reflectivity when researching possible influence over the process, participants, and outcomes (Humphries, 2017). Acknowledging subjective assumption will reduce the cultural background in the research. Personal bias will be eliminated through reflexivity that requires the researcher to be mindful of the world view, experiences, and preconceived notions. As researcher, the power imbalance will be acknowledged and it would be aimed to minimize as much as possible. During interviews, a unified polite demeanor will be maintained for comfort of the informants and ease at conversation between the researchers on the underlying questions of the research. The participants will be informed their right to withdraw or stop during the conduct of the interview. Triangulation as the potential of my personal bias on the research, I will engage in the active process of triangulation during the research process by including designing research, analyzing data, and writing the report. Sources of triangulation include my colleagues, review of work, and my reflective journal and interview notes.
By using the qualitative method the experience and barrier will be unfolded in the research.
Furthermore, the findings and recommendations of this research will help social workers to navigate the environmental crisis. This will help social workers in promoting environmental justice by incorporating support policies and practices. The research will provide social workers with a better understanding of environmental issues on social work solution understanding perception in academic intervention. The mitigation of environment issues require adaptability of social workers and change in learning behavior by identifying and eliminating barrier on understand social worker perspective. Social work professionals can effectively advocate the needs of the client and communities for adapting to climate change.
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