Environmental Youth Work - (Delia, Aada, Miro, Jarkko, Shobhana)
1. WYO - Environmental Youth Work
Delia, Aada, Miro, Jarkko and Shobhana
"Youth work is about empowerment –
supporting young people to increase their confidence in
expressing themselves, their needs, their desires, the
fulfilments. It’s about them being able to communicate with o
ther people and make constructive decisions while taking
into account the different options available and the possible
consequences." (Young, 2006)
Sercombe, H. (2010). Youth Work Ethics. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd.
2. What is environmental youth work?
“Environmental youth work means nature education and environmental
upbringing of youth and children.” Annina Wallinsalo (field visit, February 1,
One of the main goals is to create and support sustainable development and
Personal and significant nature experiences
Individual learning, AWARENESS → respecting global nature
4. Why is it important?
To increase awareness of importance of nature, each person has a
tremendous impact on environment and vice versa
Capitalism has caused overspending of the natural resources, which affects
especially the third world citizens.
“ The loss of lives, homes and livelihoods, the major displacement of people,
the significant trauma associated with reconstruction and the sheer scale of
these disasters indicate the link between environmental degradation and
significant social impacts. Social workers are deeply implicated in responding
to this emerging and devastating challenge ”
McKinnon & Alston. (2016) Ecological Social work. (p.2).
5. What is Ecological Social Work?
The practice of ecological social work has been around since the late 1970s
As environmental awareness has increased in society, social workers have taken a
bigger role in caring for the environment
Most people outside of social work think of this profession in terms of social
programs, such as child protection services and drug rehabilitation, but it goes
beyond this limited definition to include all aspects of society and human ecology.
The job of social workers is to improve the living conditions of a society, and a
large part of that work involves studying and reshaping the surrounding ecology
As populations grow and become more diverse, the need for social workers
increases. There will always be a need for people to help families transition from
one place to another, both metaphorically and geographically. The most effective
methods for this task lie in the field of ecological social work.
Retrieved from http://www.socialworkdegreeguide.com/faq/what-is-ecological-social-work/
6. Six principles of Economical Social Work
1. From narrow person-in-environment thinking into seeing also the impacts of physical
environment in social work
2. New social work paradigm and society according to the criteria of sustainable
development, including a new vision on well-being of humans and the planet.
3. from human justice to ecological justice
4. Developing critical social theory in order to examine current capitalism from the
5. Developing critical social theory and understanding nature as sacred
6. Interdisciplinary research in developing ecological social theory for social work
McKinnon & Alston. (2016) Ecological Social work. (31).
Ruuti-Work is organized every year
Ruuti is the Youth Department’s participatory budgeting model called RuutiBudget
that gives young people authority over the funds and the activities of their local
youth work units.
Ruuti- Budget has 4 stages:
1. RuBuFest - young people have the opportunity to present their ideas
3. Proposal will be handed for voting, in school
4. In late autumn, the jury gathers to confirm the voting results and during the
following year these ideas are done
Anniina Wallinsalo (field visit, February 1, 2017)
8. " Core ideas:
environmental activity and
empowering in the nature "
Ulla Kajaluoto (field visit, February 1, 2017)
Meriharju Nature House
9. Meriharju Nature House
Located in Uutela, surrounded by diverse nature
Concentrates on providing nature and environmental education and supporting sustainable
development and lifestyle
Part of the Eastern youth work division, and environmental youth work unit
Youth organizations and different groups arrange camps on the weekends, during summer and
occasionally on weekdays (70-80 groups per year)
Nature School days
— with department of education
— about 100 per year
— teaches sustainable way of living and deepens youngsters' relationship with nature
Organize different environmental events and happenings
Supports sustainable lifestyle in the whole youth department
Offers environmental training for youth leaders
Ulla Kajaluoto , Annina Wallinsalo (field visit, February 1, 2017)
10. Adventure House (Seikkailutalo)
Located in Kallahti Helsinki,
in the middle of nature by the sea side
Specialized in adventure education
Wide variety of activities like treasure hunting,
canoeing, climbing etc.
Main goal is to promote group spirit
Adventure activities are organized in the house and
also in other environments (nature excursions and
Both indoor and outdoor activities
Supports other organizations' youth group activities by
providing expertise, facilities, and equipment
Aim is to provide positive experiences and strengthen
the capacity of working in a group
Retrieved from http://seikkailutalo.munstadi.fi/in-english/
11. Gardening Association for Children and
Aims to increase the gardening skills and knowledge among children and
Emphasizes closeness to nature, as well as child-centered and collaborative
approach to education
Offer activities such as day camps, work shops and internships
Produces informative and educative materials
Work to promote gardening in urban environments
Retrieved from http://www.lastenpuutarha.fi/fileadmin/Tiedostot/yhdistys/Yhdistyksen_esittely_EN
12. Kumpulan koulukasvitarha
(Kumpula's school garden)
Been a garden and a summer resort for children and young people since 1920
Gardening Association for Children and Youth is responsible for managing the
area and it arranges various activities there, such as camps, clubs and events
"We want to develop our activities so that the gorgeous and unique garden
area would be even better to children, young people and families to use and
Retrieved from http://www.lastenpuutarha.fi/yhdistys/toimipaikat/kumpulan-koulukasvitarha/
13. Eco Clubs (WWF in School)
WWF Koulussa is a website for pupil-led
environmental action in school
Students who want to implement sustainability
into school practices form an Eco Club
Members can meet regularly, organize activities
and make schools greener
Retrieved from https://wwf.fi/vaikuta-
According to the Youth Act (72/2006), local youth work and youth policy
should consist of educational guidance, facilities and leisure opportunities,
information and advisory services, support to youth associations and other
youth groups – such as sports, cultural youth activities, young people's
Each municipality has the freedom to choose the form, methods and extent of
its youth services.
European Union. (2014). Working with young people: the value of youth work in the EU. (p. 9).
The work of Environmental work unit, Helsinki, is remarkable. Their idea of inclusion of youths
in conservation of environment is very important in today’s context. The work they are doing
has impressed many and has a strong impact in the bond between nature and youths (humans).
Few major strengths are mentioned below.
1. the main strength of environmental work relating to and including youths motivates young
people to preserve nature.
2. letting them enjoy in nature provokes the relaxation.
3. The environmental work unit also helps to strengthen the bond between youths and
4. Gives youths the sense of authority and responsibility, Ruuti. Ruuti is the Youth
Department’s participatory budgeting model called RuutiBudget that gives young people
authority over the funds and the activities of their local youth work units.
5. The Nature School days deepen the youngsters’ relationship with the nature and teaches
them a sustainable way of living.
6. It promotes experiences, insights, environmental activity and empowering in the nature.
16. Areas of development
There are few things which can be done to improvise the way youths are being
involved with environment, and they are as follows:
1. the youths should be given the knowledge of the nature in a way that they
feel responsible towards the environment they are living even after the
camps are over.
2. the realization of nature as the home of every living being will encourage the
bond between youths and nature, and that can be done through a deeper
level of knowledge and understanding.
3. besides the environmental work unit, the adventure and knowledge should be
taught from early age continuing through all the stages in life
McKinnon & Alston. (2016) Ecological Social work. (p. 2). (p. 31).
Sercombe, H. (2010). Youth Work Ethics. Los Angeles: SAGE Publications Ltd. (p.130).
Embree, Lester. (2007). Environment, Technology, Justification. (p. 23)
European Union. (2014). Working with young people: the value of youth work in the EU. (p.
Embree, Lester. Environment, Space, Place : Environment, Technology, Justification. Villejuif
Cedex, FR: Zeta Books, 2007.