October Seminar | Embracing an Ecosocial Worldview: Examples of Community Engaged Teaching, Practice, and Research for Environmental Health Equity

Event Date:
October 26th 9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

Presenters: Dr. Shanondora Billiot & Dr. Meredith C.F. Powers

Seminary Summary: This presentation will describe the rich history of addressing the wicked problems that are at the nexus of environmental, economic, and racial injustices. There is a growing body of scholarship and best practices from educators, practitioners, researchers, and policy makers who are embracing such an ecosocial worldview. Various knowledge bases will be highlighted, especially from those typically marginalized (e.g., Indigenous and First Nations Peoples, Afro-centered approaches, eco-feminism). Dr. Billiot and Dr. Powers will offer a critique of the growth ideology, which is based on an anthropocentric worldview, and explore alternative sustainable models, such as commons, reciprocal community, circular economy, the degrowth approach, and more which are based on an ecosocial worldview. Community engaged research and practice examples will be offered, particularly highlighting ones working towards environmental health equity with Indigenous and other marginalized populations.


Training Consultation (10:30-12:00PM ET): How to Embrace and Apply an Ecosocial Worldview for Community Engaged Practice and Research for Environmental Health Equity

Consultation Summary: This consultation session will explore current and historical environmental concerns and injustices, especially at the intersection of racial and economic justice. Dr. Billiot and Dr. Powers will help the audience critically reflect on worldviews and consider shifting to more fully embrace an ecosocial worldview, with ethics and values that lead to authentic and just sustainability. And they will offer ways to embrace an ecosocial worldview and apply it to teaching, practice, research, and policy changes through citizen engagement and structural activism.



About the Speakers

Dr. Shanondora Billiot

Dr. Shanondora Billiot (United Houma Nation) is an Assistant Professor at Arizona State University.  Dr. Billiot is an Early Career Fellow of the Gulf Research Program through the National Academies of Sciences Medicine and Engineering. She is currently serving as a Technical Advisory Member of the Climate Change Taskforce for the National Congress of American Indians (NCAI) as well as an advisory board member for the Social Responses to a Changing Environment Grand Challenge led by the Academy of Social Workers. In addition, she is a member of the Governing Council for the Indigenous and Tribal Social Work Educators Association (ITSWEA). Her current research uses mixed methods to explore indigenous-specific sensitivities to global environmental change exposure and pathways to health outcomes within Indigenous populations with the goal to co-develop adaptation activities. As an indigenous woman who has experienced repeated disasters and loss of “home” through environmental changes, she is committed to highlighting and addressing the social impacts of global environmental changes. She earned a PhD in Social Work from Washington University in St. Louis as a Henry Roe Cloud fellow at Yale University and Minority Fellowship Program of the Council on Social Work Education. Her research uses mixed methods to explore indigenous-specific sensitivities to global environmental change (e.g., chronic disasters and climate change) exposure and pathways to health outcomes within vulnerable Indigenous populations with the goal to develop mitigation and adaptation activities and inform communities, policymakers, and researchers.

Contact Dr. Billiot at: sbilliot@asu.edu


Dr. Meredith C.F. Powers

Dr. Meredith C.F. Powers (she/her/hers) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Social Work at UNC Greensboro. She has served as a university Sustainability Faculty Fellow, is the Social Work faculty liaison for the International Programs Center, and serves on the School of Health and Human Sciences’ committee for internationalizing the curriculum. She has co-authored and co-edited a growing body of work on climate justice, climate migration, the ecosocial worldview, and eco-therapeutic practices for healing. She has presented her research nationally and internationally at professional conferences, including being invited as a keynote speaker at the United Nations for World Social Work Day (2018). She is the Founder and Director of the International Federation of Social Workers Climate Justice Program. She also established and co-administers the global Green / Environmental Social Work Collaborative Network. Nationally, Dr. Powers serves as a member of the Grand Challenges for Social Work committee, “Create Social Responses to a Changing Environment.” Locally, Dr. Powers is a founding board member of the “IDEAL League”, which has the mission to provide equitable access to inclusive literacy materials and educational activities that affirm, advocate for, and empower youth. Additionally, Dr. Powers has initiated and co-led several community-engaged action research projects, such as “Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice” about climate migration and resettlement, “Parks for All People”, for the extensive enhancement of Smith Active Adult Center’s outdoor recreation spaces, and most recently, a memorial garden project in Greensboro, "The Service and Bravery Commemorative Garden" (SBC Garden) to honor military service members and veterans who are transgender, gender non-conforming, and non-binary. Dr. Powers was recently a keynote speaker on “Collaboration and Current Efforts for Climate Justice” and was honored with the inaugural “Environmental Justice Champion Award” at the 2021 Virtual Conference on Environmental Justice, hosted by the Institute for Social Work and Environmental Justice in partnership with Adelphi University. 

Contact Dr. Powers at: MCFPowers@UNCG.edu