Environmental Social Work Blog

Welcome to the blog

  • Publications and News

    Portfolio: https://www.social-environmentalinnovation.com/published

    NASW

    https://www.socialworkers.org/Careers/NASW-Career-Center/Explore-Social-Work/Understanding-Micro-Mezzo-and-Macro-Social-Work-Practice?fbclid=IwAR0WamHcytA-_bOhedBW5_08D7BG4iV8ELix1KhVPfmH1sXwi5B48urtM4E

    Guest Speaker

  • 30 Awesome Startups Taking on the Water Market to Follow – Welp Magazine
    30 Awesome Startups Taking on the Water Market to Follow – Welp Magazine
    — Read on welpmagazine.com/30-awesome-startups-taking-on-the-water-market-to-follow/ Very proud to be apart of the aqualumos team! Here’s an infographics to help you learn about PFAS and Health
  • SEP 30th Eco Readers Meeting Link

    Tonights Reading:

    https://www.academia.edu/38896011/Fallacy_of_ecomessianism_observations_from_Latin_America

    To join the video meeting, click this link:

    https://meet.google.com/dbb-tjpu-izr
    Otherwise, to join by phone, dial +1 440-754-0412 and enter this PIN: 501 236 831#

    To view more phone numbers, click this link: https://tel.meet/dbb-tjpu-izr?hs=5

    TThe Host: Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke, B.S., MSW is the Founder and CEO of Environmental Social Work LLC, based out of Connecticut. Gabrielle has a focused area of study in International Social Work and majored in Policy Practice Social Work at the University of Conncticut. Founded Dec. 2019.

  • #MacroSW 9/10/2020 Environmental Social Work with Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke

    Welcome back. The fall 2020 chat season kicks off this Thursday at 9:00 PM ET. Our first chat will cover environmental social work with guest host …

    #MacroSW 9/10/2020 Environmental Social Work with Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke
  • #MacroSW 9/10/2020 Environmental Social Work with Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke
    Excited to join #macroSW
    Welcome back. The fall 2020 chat season kicks off this Thursday at 9:00 PM ET. Our first chat will cover environmental social work with guest host Gabrielle Conrad-Amlicke, The Environmental Social Worker (@ecosocialwork_).  Gabbi is the CMO with http://www.aqualumos.com which works on water remediation for PFAS.  She makes all the content and infographics in addition… — Read on macrosw.com/2020/09/09/macrosw-9-10-2020-environmental-social-work-with-gabrielle-conrad-amlicke/
  • Eco readers group tonight
    Join with Google Meet: https://meet.google.com/dbb-tjpu-izr
  • Mensual Eco Readers Club

    A Monthly Club for Social Workers

    This Months Reading

    • Meeting held: August 26, 2020
    • Sign up here

    The Oppression of Women and Nature: Ecofeminism as a Framework for an Expanded Ecological Social Work

    Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 2002 Fred BesthornDiane McMillen

  • Chemical Exposures, Health, and Environmental Justice in Communities Living on the Fenceline of Industry

    Recent Findings

    “More people are living near oil and gas development due to the expansion of unconventional extraction techniques as well as near industrial animal operations, both with suggestive evidence of increased exposure to hazardous pollutants and adverse health effects. Legacy contamination continues to adversely impact a new generation of residents in fenceline communities, with recent studies documenting exposures to toxic metals and poly- and perfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs). Researchers are also giving consideration to acute exposures resulting from inadvertent industrial chemical releases, including those resulting from extreme weather events linked to climate change. Natural experiments of industrial closures or cleanups provide compelling evidence that exposures from industry harm the health of nearby residents” Credit to Author

    Chemical Exposures, Health, and Environmental Justice in Communities Living on the Fenceline of Industry

  • A Call for Collaborative Action: The Creator’s and The Academic’s

    Contact: gabrielle@environmentalsocialworkers.com

    Phone: 203-470-5990 

    old paint swatches = bookmarks

    The first skills you develop as an academic master something along the lines of that which involves examining for limits and on the inverse I think we all have a sharp tongue for building up the hype as we entangle you into our informative critiques. Eating publishings as bed time snacks is just the way I like it, it gives me time to digest the typically dense science. I awake to my self a MSW with new insight and the urge to share this digestible version. You get it?

    Privilege is one factor that Hoefer (2005) (find the citation below & digest*) doesn’t specifically identify, he speaks about education however from my understanding there is a long history through which privilege (through economics, race, and gender) influences one’s access to engaging in a political role (or personal agenda). I believe that I am qualified to engage in policy practice because at the root of my drive to engage in my personal experience. Hoefer (2005) would classify my personal experience through the lens of personal values. I value the way in which I grew up, Hoefer (2005) speaks of utilizing ones “24 hours” that conceptually make up the day.

    Throughout my young adult life I spent a large portion of time outside of the home and in my community. My community is rural and facilitated a way for me to engage with friends in natural environment settings, for example, in the deep woods, by lakes, hiking trails, and various nature preserves. Through these experiences, I came to value solitude, creativity, and skills I developed through my engagement with nature. Hoefer (2005) describes how values and education lead to a sense of responsibility. Hiefer (2005) describes how values, education, and our sense of responsibility collectively result in our identified interest. I start of my policy engagement came artistic engagement. 2012 was the year I was accepted into The School of the Museum of Fine Art’s Boston at Tufts- I dual degree’ed in psychology, my thesis was always rooted in nature; through my clay work… and themes of psychology just maintained the sparks of inspiration at the core of both my artist self and role as self-identified “helper.” 

    As I continued my education, I fell into coursework which sparked my interest in ecopsychology. As a result, I developed critical thinking and skills towards understanding empirical research, which allowed me to recognize scientific findings towards how Natural spaces are actually, immensely beneficial for mental and psychological wellbeing. My interest in advocacy followed suit. Marston & McDonald (2012) recognize that the social work practice has begun to embrace evidence-based social work and policy practices, summarizing professional desire(s) of the social work field as seeking, “certainty in the face of deeply conflictual and fraught practice contexts” (p.1028). Likewise, I agree with Hiefer (2005) in the way that he establishes how higher education produces more political involvement, as I never saw myself working from a policy standpoint until I arrived at Graduate school. When this is added with Marston & McDonald’s explanation I identify that I am qualified to engage in policy practice due to the way education has sparked my professional desire to seek out certainty, hence, I engage in policy practice in a way that utilized my skills. 

    However, even as my professional self seemingly moves further away from my actively creating artist self… figuratively it never does. I am artist at the core- we are all artists. I propose that at this moment the only thing which has changed are the tools held in my hand and the means by which my artistic “thesis-theme-message” (whatever we may call it in the both the high-class art scene and the street art scene) each artist has a message… how we convey that message varies. 

    Hoefer (2005) articulates that, “feeling anger at unfairness is often the precipitating factor for involvement” (Hoefer, 2005) in policy work. While in Boston completing my undergraduate degree, I began feeling angry that I lacked access to natural spaces. This was largely due to limited availability and the overall design of a city. From a policy standpoint, infrastructures, such as transportation mitigated the ecological consciousness of those in highly urban settings. Social problems occur when the presence of nature is limited and resources are abused, each one of us, social workers, and clients play a part in contributing to this social problem. Jewett & Garavan (2019) eloquently describe that “for us to seek healing we need to recognize who we are and the system of which we are a part” (p. 45). A specific social problem that we all contribute to is the abuse of earth water resources. 

    Here I use the word Social Work in a controversial manner, Social Work is anyone willing to be a change agent, big or small. To have a MSW is just a refined skill. In light of this, I recognize that when I’m not in my role as a social worker I fall into other roles. Through relational skills and meaning-making, in both our professional and personal lives, social workers draw from these experiences to engage in advocacy practice, policy practice, and potentially influences political involvement. Both when we experience injustice and see injustice imposed upon our clients, community, a friend, or family member. Policy limits and benefits us (social workers) and our clients. Due to this social worker should be even more passionate about policy because, in the same way, legislation affects our clients it also affects us. 

    Artists, creators, and designers, have an important role in policy practice. From my view they can assist in identifying social problems, in return, they potentially have the ability to engage with the macro social worker support them in understanding the complexity of the issue. Social problems are multidimensional and do not occur in a vacuum. With the many moving parts that make up a social problem, one must think critically about how the problem is identified and the outcomes or consequence that occur. To illustrate this further, a micro-social worker (someone working directly with clients) might notice an influx of clients experiencing water contamination, Standing Rock is a relevant example. If the micro-social worker notices an influx of negative health outcomes of the water upon the population they serve they may act in micro ways such as creating a support group for parents. This in itself would be a micro practice however it transcends into a way to influence the macro practice of social work if the micro-social worker has the skills to present the problem. This might be through joining a collision or a group that works on advocacy. However, the dynamic which bridges micro practice to needs to be strengthened, Mosley (2013) articulates that we need more knowledge and better-defined techniques about the organizational context of advocacy.

    For example, Jewett & Garavan (2019) are able to use their professional skills to analyze a dialogic engagement and create conclusions through field research towards the abuse of water (social problem) and the, “ re-affirmation of indigenous perspectives revived… by the visceral connections with water that were exemplified in the Standing Rock protests against the Dakota pipeline” through this, they are able to make the argument that the “the recovery of these primary modes of relating to natural elements is crucial to healing current ecological and social stress” (Jewett & Garavan, 2019). 

    Policy practice is a realistic role for all social workers and all people; I advocate for connections between the creator and the analyzer- the academic and the artist. However, we will only be able to bridge the gaps and be prepared for such activities and challenges to come if “professionally” specific skills are utilized in both fields. Artists voices cannot stay in the walls of the gallery. What if artists learned to take action, I want to support this action in the same way I want to cultivate it in micro social workers and their clients- getting up and testifying on the policy at the state capitol is scary for anyone… but deep down, as artists we know what makes people have a shift in consciousness…. It’s emotions, what evokes emotion? You already know, vibrant language, truth, color, a statement conveyed in a brief poetic justice. . We must find our voices, our collaborative voices, the tools which comfort and sooth the creator in each of us, that persistent internal dialogue is something we must listen to. I ask what will it take to makes each of us take action? 

    Exploration of Art in environment Talking Point’s
    • Richard Serra’s Tilted Arc (1981) served as a public sculpture that is inadvertently recognized as “Art as Intervention.” Tilted Arc now represents how public sculpture must (or does) disturb or disrupt those subjected to it. By examining the public removal of Tilted Arc we begin to understand how necessary it is for the public to have a relationship with the art around them, even if it is a negative one. I attempts to support us the development of critical thinking… what does  Art as Intervention mean? (1) the analysis of art as a tool to persuade people to re-examine their surroundings – deconstruct the laws of what feels comfortable – the ideology of ownership culture (2) two studies of art and nonart issues of the same time period Tilted Arc was removed
    • Community activists have begun to rise and “demand that the government stop dumping social problems onto their streets and start demonstrating a commonsense concern with the quality of life in the city’s neighborhoods” (Kwon, 2004). Through extensive planning, the constructed site-specific artwork will produce cohesion within the land. Urban parks, recreation centers, and green spaces often stand as hallmarks. The more the art-work[1]“disappeared into the site, either by appropriating urban street furniture (benches and tables, street lamps, manhole covers, fencing), or by mimicking familiar architectural elements (gateways, columns, floors, walls, stairways, bridges, urban plazas, lobbies, parks), the greater it’s social value” (Kwon, pg. 69). Likewise, playgrounds, basketball courts, pools, shelters, sidewalks, and safety features produce positive park use. Adolescents “are more likely to engage in physical activity, and achieved their highest physical activity levels, when using built environments located outdoors” (Blossom et al., 2015). Although, site-specific art “has rarely gone beyond the idea of responding to established ideas, or facts about communities to participating in a public sphere where such factors can be examined and contested” (Yngvason, 1992). The main critique is that the planning of architects and urban planners is so far removed from the community that the development of infrastructure consequently causes limits to the human in-environment. There is a need for assimilation of both facets of environment and social assimilation (Yngvason, 1992). If science understands that adolescents show links between exposure to nature to both stress reduction and attention restoration (Craig, 2010), and the presence of an even acute access to nature moderates (or buffers) the impact of life stress on children (Wells, 2003). Society ultimately has a duty to provide adolescents with green spaces.

    References

    Hoefer, R. (2005). Advocacy practice for social justice: Getting involved. Chicago, Illinois: Lyceum Books, Inc. 

    Marston, G., McDonald, C. (2012). Getting beyond ‘Heroic Agency’ in Conceptualizing Social Workers as Policy Actors in the Twenty-First Century. British Journal of Social Work. 1022–1038doi:10.1093/bjsw/bcs062

    Mosley, J. (2013). Recognizing new opportunities: reconceptualizing policy advocacy in everyday organizational practice. doi: 1O.1093/sw/swtO20

    Chas Jewett, Mark Garavan, Water is life – an indigenous perspective from a Standing Rock Water Protector, Community Development Journal, Volume 54, Issue 1, January 2019, Pages 42–58, https://doi.org/10.1093/cdj/bsy062


    [1] Artwork is used to describe “works of art” crafted by developers, designers, architects, exc.