This chapter: Analyses the early roots of ecological thinking in social work by comparing how the two central pioneers of social work, Mary Richmond and Jane Addams, conceptualised the environment in their texts around 100 years ago.Outlines the later historical progression of the theory of ecological social work in the 1970s and 1980s by comparing the systems theoretical approach, emphasising the holistic social environment, and the eco-critical perspective, applying the impact of the critical ecological movements in social work.Compares the differences and similarities of the various contemporary concepts related to ecological social work, such as deep ecological social work, eco-spiritual social work, green social work, social ecological social work and environmental social work.Considers that throughout the history of social work its relationship to the environment has been reflected, but the paradigmatic question is whether social work understands that it is also part of nature, which is shaped by human culture, and that social work has to contribute to a more sustainable transformation in society.
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