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World Social Work Month- BASW England 'No-one Left Behind: Climate Change and Social Work (International, Local and Youth Perspectives)

This session will look at the impact of climate change for social work at a local and international level

  • Chair: Vava Tampa, BASW England Committee Chair will facilitate this session speak about his own perspective on the climate crisis and how social work can ensure that no-one is left behind both from national and international perspective
  • International: Zoe Cohen from Extinction Rebellion will highlighting current evidence and impact of climate change on communities, what are the risks for the future, what can social workers do in their practice to address them
  • Local: Liz Stevens, Social Worker, Manchester City Council and Enya Richards, Social Worker for Plymouth City Council will share their experiences of dealing  the impact of climate change on their local social services and the challenges of dealing with the fallout of such events:
    re-homing residents, risk to care homes and vulnerable people
  • Youth: Professor Lena Dominelli, University of Stirling will discuss work her work with schools in Scotland and reflect on the impact of climate change on their communities and what it means to them and the legacy of COP26.
  • Youth: Lexy-Bee Reid will speak about their perspective on the climate crisis and call to action    


Zoe Cohen, is an experienced accredited Coach and Supervisor who has worked with leaders across almost every sector in the economy. Zoe has been passionate about nature, social justice and sustainability all her life. Originally working in the NHS, she now dedicates most of her energies to activism including nonviolent civil disobedience.  She has developed a significant ‘voice’ and following on LinkedIn for her forthright posting on all aspects of the systemic drivers and consequences of the climate and ecological emergency. Zoe has also been ‘catalysing’ her own profession in this regard, in the UK and internationally for the last 3 years. Zoe initiated and co-wrote an open letter to the coaching profession and professional bodies in July 2019. She also speaks and writes on related topics.
Professor Lena Dominelli is Chair of BASW's Special Interest Group ' Social Works Place in Emergency and Disaster Interventions' (SPEDI) and holds a Chair in Social Work at the University of Stirling in Scotland.  She was previously a Chair in Applied Social Sciences in the Department of Sociology and Co-Director at the Institute of Hazards, Risk and Resilience (2010-2016) at Durham University.  She has a specific interest in projects on climate change and extreme weather events including drought, floods, cold snaps; wild fires; earthquakes, volcanic eruptions; disaster interventions; vulnerability and resilience; community engagement; coproduction and participatory action research.  She has published widely in social work, social policy and sociology.  Several of these are classics and have been translated into many languages.  Her most recent single-authored publication is Green Social Work (Polity Press, 2012), and the edited collection, the Routledge Handbook on Green Social Work (Routledge, 2018).  She is recognised as a leading figure in social work education globally.

Liz Stevens is a registered Social Worker and Service Manager for Learning disability and Shared Lives service, with Manchester City Council.   As part of the humanitarian response to civil contingencies Manchester city council provides an on call support to other corporate services.  In Feb 2020, in the midst of the pandemic and lockdown, on a night of a snowstorm, the banks of the river Mersey came very close to breaching. Building close to the flood plain had resulted in a number of resident households being placed at risk during the storm and they had to be warned and later strongly advised to evacuate.   The social care response was comprehensive and included 2 rest centres, staff on site at what became the covid hotel, one that became the non-covid hotel, staff based with the police as liaison, and a group of social workers ringing residents to check in, offer support and strongly advise them to evacuate and of the options (family, hotels) available to them.  Liz will discuss the reality of social work at a local level when practice is faced with climate change challenges.

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