Social Work and the Challenges of the Green Economy


  • Bret Alan Weber University of North Dakota



Community economic and social development, energy alliance, environmental social work, sustainability, green economy, community practice


This is an ethnographic account of a social worker’s efforts to create a local “Energy Alliance” to help moderate-income residents reduce energy costs in a small, urban, northern plains community in the United States. Additionally, the initiative would help create jobs, increase energy efficiency, and reduce carbon outputs. While the project met with mixed results, lessons learned are relevant to the emergent intersections of community practice, sustainable community development (economic and social), and social work. The benefits of social work education and experience to this work are highlighted, as are the challenges inherent in planning and implementing green community development.

Author Biography

Bret Alan Weber, University of North Dakota

Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work