inSocialWork® is the podcast series of the University at Buffalo School of Social Work. The purpose of this series is to engage practitioners and researchers in lifelong learning and to promote research to practice and practice to research. inSocialWork® features conversations with prominent social work professionals, interviews with cutting-edge researchers, and information on emerging trends and best practices in the field of social work.

inSocialWork® is a bi-weekly series. New episodes will be released every two weeks. Please subscribe to receive our podcasts automatically, or come back on a regular basis for new content.

Creative Commons License


Subscribe directly using your preferred podcasting tool:

Suscribe: iTunesSubscribe: My YahooSubscription Link

Or, copy and paste this URL:

Episode 189 - Rachel Forbes, Dr. Andrea Nesmith, Meredith Powers, and Dr. Cathryne Schmitz: Environmental Justice

Interviewer: Louanne Bakk, PhD

Monday, April 11, 2016, 8:00:37 AM

Image of Rachel Forbes, Dr. Andrea Nesmith, Meredith Powers, and Dr. Cathryne Schmitz

In this episode, our guests discuss their contention that environmental social work and environmental justice represent a subset of our traditional conceptualization of social justice. Whether it is the water in Flint, Michigan or the effects of global warming, the disproportionate impact on vulnerable and marginalized communities requires that social workers practice beyond the micro level and enter into the arenas of advocacy, influencing policy-making, social action, and various other social work role sets.

Rachel Forbes, MSW, LSW, is an assistant professor of the practice of social work at the University of Denver Graduate School of Social Work. Rachel is the Western Colorado MSW program director and is also an adjunct professor at Colorado Mountain College, where she teaches in the Sustainability Studies Bachelor of Arts Programs. Courses that Rachel teaches across the two institutions include contemporary social work issues in western Colorado, fostering sustainable behavior, MSW foundation and concentration field seminar, and sustainability capstone, among other foundation-level sustainability studies courses. Rachel worked with the International Federation of Social Workers in her concentration year internship at Monmouth University, where she obtained her MSW in 2011. Rachel is a member of the CSWE Committee on Environmental Justice and the CSWE Council for Global Learning and Practice.

Ande Nesmith, Ph.D., is an assistant professor at the St. Kate's-St. Thomas Master of Social Work program. Her research examines the intersection of environmental justice and current social work practice and where practitioners see educational needs. She integrates environmental content into research, HBSE, and large client systems, including service learning with local communities and policy advocacy. Dr. Nesmith mentors students in preparing grant proposals and in implementing independent research projects on environmental justice.

Meredith C. F. Powers, MSW, is a sustainability faculty fellow and the project coordinator for the College of Social Work's Green Initiative at the University of South Carolina. As a doctoral candidate, her current research includes the professional socialization of social workers, ecological justice, and university-community partnerships for sustainability. Meredith also serves on the Environmental Justice Committee for the Council on Social Work Education (CSWE) and is a leader in the use of social media to impact social change and to engage in international collaboration, as she has established and administers the growing, online network 'Green/Environmental Social Work Collaborative Network' for social workers around the world who are committed to ecological justice.

Cathryne L. Schmitz, Ph.D., MSW, is a professor within the department of Social Work and the department of Peace and Conflict Studies at the University of North Carolina Greensboro. She is also an affiliate faculty member in Women and Gender Studies and a research fellow with the Center for New North Carolinians. Her scholarship focuses on analysis of the privilege/oppression nexus, critical multiculturalism, environmental sustainability, leadership, interdisciplinary education, global engagement, organizational development and community building, and peacebuilding. She is engaged in intercultural global education and knowledge building. She has numerous publications and is currently focusing in the areas of peace assessment, environmental justice, and organizational/community transformation.‚Äč

Download MP3 (37.8 MB)

Audio Transcript PDF document.

View Related Episodes (104)

APA (6th ed) citation for this podcast:

Episode 189 - Rachel Forbes, Dr. Andrea Nesmith, Meredith Powers, and Dr. Cathryne Schmitz: Environmental Justice. (2016, April 11). inSocialWork® Podcast Series. [Audio Podcast] Retrieved from

DISCLAIMER: The content shared by the presenter(s) and/or interviewer(s) of each podcast is their own and not necessarily representative of any views, research, or practice from the UB School of Social Work or the inSocialWork® podcast series. Any professional biographical information is current as of the publication date of the given podcast. Any changes to a presenter's professional biography after the date of publication are not reflected.

Get all episodes at the series' home page.

Return to previous page

Information on sharing/linking to our episodes