Personal Background

I grew up in a small rural community in the high plains region of central Kansas. My childhood provided me with the deepest personal appreciation for wide-open spaces, for the ever-present wind blowing across the prairie and for the marvel of nature's ceaseless cycles of quietude and bombast. This small place was my home on earth. Nature wasn't frightful; she was companion, comforter, friend an unending, almost speechless source of wonder and sustenance.

Unfortunately, as I moved to the city and fell deeper into the modern era's focus on control and consumption I could, and still can, feel the longings for a place unobstructed by building and cement, billboards and traffic, celebrity worship and survivor fantasies, devices and deadlines. I have often wondered what my life would be if not for at least the memory of wind, trees, the tall grass, and the open range. Would I have the appreciation for it, had I not had the memory of it? The greater question: as a human race, can we function together and learn to live in harmony with all beings on this planet as we get further and further from the memory of being at home on Earth.

As social workers we have also come to a turning point; a critical apex of self-examination. The looming environmental crisis in which we find our clients and ourselves and the transformation of peoples and societies toward sustainable, just and earth-friendly orientations must inspire us to discover more refined alternatives to prevailing social work theory and practice that would better correspond to the life-affirming richness of the Earth-Community. We must be willing to think and act differently and to come together to launch a reorientation of our professional ethos. I hope this web site will be a place to begin. I trust you will find it helpful.

Fred H. Besthorn, M.Div., MSW, Ph.D.