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Climate Change, Social Work, and the Transition Away from Fossil Fuels: A Scoping Review

Climate change is a crisis in our midst. This scoping review examines practices to transition away from fossil fuels in the social work literature, to inform social work engagement in climate mitigation and in support of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals 7 (Affordable and Clean Energy) and 13 (Climate Action). We searched peer-reviewed and grey literature, applying the inclusion criteria: (1) published on or since 1 January 2005; (2) social work literature; (3) examines at least one topic related to the transition away from fossil fuels; and (4) describes, examines, or evaluates a specific form of practice for the transition away from fossil fuels that occurred or is occurring. Fifty-eight items met the inclusion criteria, containing 79 practices. The most frequent practice types were “organizing or advocacy” and “energy at home”. Common targets of change were individuals/households and private industry. The most organizing against private industry was led by Indigenous or Tribal nations. More social work engagement in the transition away from fossil fuels is needed, including engagement that embraces an ecosocial approach. Local organizing, advocacy, and program development are an area of strength and an intervention scale at which social workers can influence multi-prong efforts to transition away from fossil fuels. New social work policy analysis and advocacy at global, national, and state levels is also recommended.

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Academic Editors: Komalsingh Rambaree, Jennifer Boddy and Sandra Engstrom
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Journal article - open access
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