The Intersection of Social Work with Sustainable Living
MSW student participates in unique LSC internship at sustainable living shop in St. Louis
Dharma + Dwell is a lifestyle and refill shop offering everyday essentials for sustainable living. Dharma + Dwell believes that taking care of the planet relies on making conscious decisions every day. Making low-impact living easily accessible and convenient, Dharma + Dwell partners with local businesses and socially conscious makers to provide a range of eco-friendly, package-free and refillable products. At Dharma + Dwell, you can expect to find items ranging from wooden brushes to reusable bags, as well as bulk items for personal care such as liquid shampoo and conditioner sold by the ounce.
This method of shopping promotes a circular economy, an economic concept where profits are put secondhand to the social and environmental impacts that the products have. When you focus on this conscious method of consumption, there are many benefits, but the prominent benefit is producing less waste.
MSW student, Logan Bryant’s title as an LSW intern at Dharma +Dwell, is Community Partnerships and Programs Strategist. Logan focuses on the ways that the shop interacts with and benefits the community, as well as other local businesses, in new and efficient ways. Much of the time, this looks like creating inclusive educational materials to share online, connecting with the businesses the shop sources from to maximize community impact, and lots of planning and brainstorming. With Dharma + Dwell being a new business, Logan has had the opportunity to be an integral part in building out this part of the organization.
Logan’s favorite way to tie together the sustainable lifestyle with her social work education is through the term Intersectional Environmentalism. Ideas of being more eco-friendly were brought forth because of the impacts of capitalism; the relationship between consumption and the outcome of disproportionate environmental conditions (popularly known as environmental racism) is an issue that didn’t exist before overproduction. The two factors that drive Environmentalism come from Black and Indigenous communities, so it is incredibly important to center their experiences and voices in both conversations and decisions surrounding Environmentalism. Making Environmentalism a more inclusive space for those who drive the movement is a huge passion of Logan’s.
As part of her final project, Logan will be identifying ways that Dharma + Dwell can better serve the community. There will be three components— community partnerships, policy, and education. Through utilizing these tools that already exist within the organization, Logan can refine and redirect what is happening to make the largest impact possible. Incorporating inclusive, social education in relation to the climate crisis has provided Logan with a wonderful LSC opportunity at Dharma + Dwell.