Environmental Equity and Environmental Racism
Shaw, Terry V.
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Social welfare developed to meet the needs of an industrializing society. During this time of rapid growth, social workers helped to establish many safe guards we take for granted in our society including: employment (workers compensation, unemployment insurance, and Social Security), child welfare (prevention of child abuse and neglect), mental illness (humane treatment of individuals with mental illness), and poverty (Medicaid and Medicare programs). Though social welfare has a history of working with vulnerable populations this history has generally not extended to issues relating to the natural environment. Some social welfare scholars have begun to address environmental issues (Berger and Kelly, 1993; Besthorn, 1997; Cahill, 1994;Coates, 2003; Fitzpatrick, 1998; Hoff, 1994; Hoff and McNutt, 2000; Hoff and Polack, 1993; Pandey, 1998; Park, 1994; Rogge, 1993, 1996, 2000) but much more needs to be done to infuse social welfare with an understanding of the interplay between human society and the environment.
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