Call for submissions

Volume 29, number 1, Fall 2023 - Social Intervention and Climate Emergency

Climate change is no longer a matter of doubt for the global scientific community.  The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is clear: Our lifestyles, particularly our fossil fuel consumption and CO2 emissions, play a major role in global warming as well as in climate disruption (IPCC, 2022; Servigne & Stevens, 2015).  The IPCC predicts that the average global temperature will increase by two degrees by the end of the century, indicating failure to meet the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.  The consequences of climate change are already being observed in many ecosystems around the world and are affecting the viability of systems that underpin societies. Examples of this include shortages of drinking water, disruption of agricultural production, increased risk of infectious diseases and displacement of populations (IPCC, 2022).  In addition, global warming is leading to increasingly extreme weather events (Alston et al., 2019).  The recent extreme heat wave in Western Canada (2021), the exceptional spring flooding in Ontario and Quebec (2019) or the Fort McMurray forest fire (2016) are just a few examples in Canada of significant impact on the well-being and safety of communities, families and individuals.

Social and community interventions, including by social workers, are increasingly at the forefront of action on  climate change.  Take, for example, the recent citizens movements against hydrocarbon development in Quebec with the fight against the Energy East project and in New Brunswick with the fight for a moratorium on shale gas development. Community workers have played a central role in mobilizing communities in the face of environmental degradation (Favreau, 2017).  This fight  is aimed at putting in place projects to transition to a new way of life that is more ecologically conscious and attentive to local resilience (Hopkins, 2014).  Other advocates work for greater environmental justice, including activism against environmental racism.  For example, Waldron’s (2018) work in Nova Scotia has clearly shown that racialized and Indigenous communities in that province are disproportionately exposed to pollution and industrial contamination.  Indeed, the most vulnerable populations, those whom social workers assist in defending their rights, are the first victims of climate change.  Leading social work associations suggest including climate justice as part of the professional responsibility of social workers (Schibli, 2020), recognizing the interconnectedness in the well-being of nature, communities and individuals.

However, these developments in social and community intervention thinking and practice are largely promoted in English-language writings.  There is a panoply of terms in English with few French equivalents (Dagenais Lespérance & MacDonald, 2019), such as “environmental social work” (Gray et al., 2012), “ecological social work” (McKinnon & Alston, 2016) and “green social work” (Dominelli, 2012).  In fact, training, research and practice on these important issues are emerging in the Francophone context.  We can expect a rapid increase in knowledge in this area over the coming years.  In these urgent  times, social and community intervention play a primary role in addressing the challenges of climate change, as well as in supporting the social change necessary to raise individuals’ and communities’ awareness of ethical responsibility for the land they inhabit, as envisioned by the ecologist Aldo Leopold nearly 75 years ago (Aldo, 2019).   

Volume 29, Issue 1 of Reflets, to be published in fall 2023, will share recent research and practice that addresses social and community intervention in light of the climate emergency.   


Here are some themes that could be the subject of articles for “Le dossier,” including scientific topics and intervention practices:

  • Theoretical and conceptual issues in environmental social intervention
  • Injustice and environmental racism
  • Environmental social action and the social struggle for climate justice
  • Challenges and best practices for sustainable development in urban and rural communities
  • Environmental transition approaches in the context of Francophone community resilience
  • Indigenous knowledge and practices in ecological social work

Please indicate your interests by writing to:

Mario Paris 
Professeur agrégé
École de service social 
[email protected]
Université de Moncton

Article writing recommendations

Before sending us an article, send us an abstract (approximately 100 words) by September 15, 2022, in French.  Specify whether this is a scholarly article or a piece for the “Des pratiques à notre image” section, and add five to 10 keywords.

We must receive the final article by February 28, 2023.

See our editorial policy and style guide.


  • Aldo, L. (2019). Éthique de la Terre. Payot.
  • Alston, M., Hazeleger, T., & Hargreaves, D. (2019). Social Work and Disasters: A Handbook for Practice. Routledge.
  • Dagenais Lespérance, J., & MacDonald, S.-A. (2019). La justice environnementale : Dans langle mort de la formation en travail social? Intervention, 150, 113‑119.
  • Dominelli, L. (2012). Green Social Work: From Environmental Crises to Environmental Justice. Polity Press.
  • Favreau, L. (2017). Mouvement communautaire et État social. Le défi de la transition sociale-écologique. Presses de lUniversité du Québec.
  • Gray, M., Coates, J., & Hetherington, T. (2012). Environmental Social Work. Routledge.
  • Hopkins, R. (2014). Ils changent le monde : 1001 initiatives de transition écologique. Seuil.
  • IPCC. (2022). Climate Change 2022. Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Summary for Policymakers. Cambridge University Press.
  • McKinnon, J., & Alston, M. (2016). Ecological Social Work: Towards Sustainability. Red Globe Press.
  • Schibli, K. (2020). Changement climatique et travail social. Association canadienne des travailleuses et des travailleurs sociaux (ACTS).
  • Servigne, P., & Stevens, R. (2015). Comment tout peut seffondrer. Petit manuel de collapsologie à lusage des générations présentes. Le Seuil.
  • Waldron, I. R. (2018). Theres Something in the Water: Environmental Racism in Indigenous & Black Communities. Fernwood Publishing