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Home > Arhiva > 2022 > Numar: 2 > Promoting the Wellbeing of People Living in Poverty (and Social Workers) through Environmental Social Work Reflections Based on an Italian Case Study

 Promoting the Wellbeing of People Living in Poverty (and Social Workers) through Environmental Social Work Reflections Based on an Italian Case Study

  • Elisa Matutini (Ca' Foscari University – Venice, Department of Philosophy and Cultural Heritage of the Ca' Foscari University. E-mail:

In the social work literature, as well as in social work practices, great attention is paid to the role of the environment in defining models and intervention strategies to promote social change, development, cohesion, social emancipation and liberation of individuals. When we talk about the environment, we refer both to a social context in which people live and to the physical environment, made up of the natural world. These are two dimensions that interact constantly and contribute to determining the level of bio-psycho-social wellbeing of each of us. In this regard, environmental social work represents an approach and a perspective within social work focused on the joint promotion of social and environmental justice: human rights, the fight against environmental inequalities, environmental protection and sustainable development. This paper reports the results of research conducted on two ecosocial work projects, based on the re-use of discarded objects and on organic and sustainable agricultural production, activated in a local organisation in Italy's Tuscany Region. They aim to combat poverty and social exclusion of the most vulnerable people living in those regions and, at the same time, to promote more inclusive and environmentally sustainable communities. The research, carried out through the use of a qualitative approach, is configured as a pilot study for the national development of forms of social work inspired by a specific multidimensional approach, capable of producing assessments, planning and implementing social interventions at the nexus between the economic, social and natural environment.

Keywords: ecosocial approach, ecological social work, environment, poverty, sustainable development