Category Archives: ethics

Sustainability and Social Work: Earth Day 2017

by Pat Shelly

Sustainability and Environmentalism

“Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.” This is an old Yankee/New England proverb that resounds with our more environmentally-conscious society today.

Sustainability is  a word that appears more frequently in the press around Earth Day, which is observed on April 22 in the US. Many slogans address environmental issues. Some instruct: “Reduce, Reuse, Recyle,” or humorously inform: “Recyclers do it over and over again,” or recommend:

 

Smiling man in baseball cap with arms hugging a big tree. Only one arm is visible as tree's circumference is too large to encircle with his arms. is too big to get

Photo: Carolina Hoyos Lievano / World Bank

 

 

 

 

 

“Hug a tree, they have fewer issues than people.”

 

 

 

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Cultural Humility: A Lesson Plan for Social Work

By Sarah Richards-Desai, MSW

 

The UB School of Social Work has developed a new resource to assist students, faculty, and practitioners in their understanding of cultural humility. Conversations about Culture: Video and Lesson Plan  introduces students, practitioners, and the public to the concept of cultural humility. This module includes a 12-minute video, containing interviews and content designed to raise questions and introduce the concept of cultural humility in social work. There are additional resources, a lesson plan, and some possible activities to try on your own or in a classroom setting.

Video for the UBSSW Cultural Humility module

Video for the UBSSW Cultural Humility module

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The Age of #DigitalLiteracy and the Media Revolution

By Pat Shelly

 

Where do you get most of your news of the world?
What are skills needed for digital literacy?
Do you use social media for any part of your school or professional work?
Will universal digital literacy lead to world peace?

 

 

The Age of Digital Literacy is Now

 

The University at Buffalo observed the 2016 International Education Week with lectures, film, student events, exhibits and a keynote: “The Media Revolution: What it Means for You” by Geneva Overholser.

 

She has worked as an editor, ombudsperson, journalist at many top papers, including the New York Times and the Washington Post. She lived in and wrote from Paris and Kinshasa over a period of five years.

 

Overholser spoke of the radical change from traditional, or “legacy” media – newspapers, radio, network television, cable TV – to new media technologies. These include social networking, instant messaging, blogs (coined from “web” and “log”), internet video (YouTube), digital media sites (Vice, Vox, Gawker), radio podcasts, political news outlets (Politico, Democracy Now!), social media (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr). All are accessible from the palm of the hand through smart phones and other mobile devices.

 

The cost of such technology is becoming less and less expensive. One survey she cited found that Africa is leading the world in the rate of  adoption of mobile internet use.

 

Photo credit: Kainan Guo, The Spectrum

Photo credit: Kainan Guo, The Spectrum

Ms. Overholser spoke to the necessity of being literate in this new realm of media. “[N]ow, thanks to new technology, EVERYBODY owns a press.” We are our own reporter, editor, and publisher. “… thanks to social media, each of us has a limitless, unmediated space for communicating with one another.”
We both consume and contribute to this public space.

 

 

 

 

What’s in your diet?

Living in the digital age also means maintaining an healthy diet while consuming media, and avoiding too much of the media junk food. This diet comes from “countless numbers of sources – a cacophony of information that runs the gamut from useless to reliable, from base to inspiriting.” She warned that anything anonymous lacks accountability. Regulating one’s diet has another dimension: sometimes we need to refrain from consuming toxic elements.

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