13: The environment

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The environment, with climate and biodiversity crises, has to now be a major emerging focus for community work practice. Theory is needed, however, to structure this focus. This chapter explores the links between environmental and social justice. Environmental crises tend to affect disadvantaged communities more. Community voice is essential in any community response here, though the role of the community worker can be complicated by the varying interests involved, including local activists and activists from outside the community. In terms of theory, we also need to look at how extending our understanding of community to include the non-human can increase the reach of social justice. Discourses of the environment, like the climate emergency and the valuing of the natural, can be further ways of obfuscating and consolidating power.

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