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Research / Discovery

Environmental governance working group announces mini-grant recipients

November 19, 2009

The CSU Environmental Governance Working Group is pleased to announce the results of the recent EGWG mini-grant competition. Thirteen strong proposals were received, and nine projects were selected for funding.

Due to budget constraints, resources could not be extended beyond the selected projects, which were chosen based on the quality of the proposed activity as well as its potential to contribute to EGWG’s long-term objectives of building a multi-disciplinary environmental governance research community at CSU.

These projects address a wide range of issues within the research field of environmental governance and cover a diversity of geographic, social, and temporal scales. In spring/summer 2010 the grant recipients will submit a 1-page report that will be posted on the EGWG website, and shared with EGWG members.  All mini-grant recipients are also encouraged to submit their papers to the EGWG Discussion Paper series.   EGWG members are encouraged to contact grant recipients if their work is of interest or potentially overlaps with their own work 

Mini-Grant Recipients, Fall 2009

1. Dallas Blaney,  Political Science. Fighting for Crumbs Under the Table

Dallas will attend the 2009 Amsterdam Conference on the Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change, ‘Earth System Governance: People, Places and the Planet’, to present research on the topics of agency and relevance in global environmental governance.  Dallas argues in favor of “an analytical strategy that grounds determinations of agency and relevance upon a systematic evaluation of the axiological, ontological, and political characteristics of the entity under consideration.” The outcomes include an assessment of agency and relevance in earth systems governance, drawing links between the specific concern for the issues of agency and relevance in environmental governance and broader considerations of the role of global civil society in world politics.

2. Stuart Cottrell, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. Biodiversity, Nature Conservation and Visitor Satisfaction

Stu will travel to Finland to build on a pilot project (which began in summer 2009) to link social data with ecological data to monitor indicators that drive compliance and enforcement of policies and initiatives managed by the Local Pan Parks Group LPPG at Oulanka National Park and other protected areas in Finland and Protected Area Network (PAN) Park locations. The purpose of the project is to explore how biodiversity and other environmental characteristics contribute to a park visitor’s experience. Visitor location will be examined in relation to spatially mapped ecological data to provide insight into the relationship between visitor satisfaction and biodiversity.  This will help to advance use of the methodology in Finland’s national parks.

3. Tim Ehresman, Political Science. Paper Presentation at the 2009 Earth System Governance Project International Conference

Tim will travel to the 2009 Earth Systems Governance Project International Conference in Amsterdam to present a paper that seeks to identify and analyze the impacts of foreign direct investment (“FDI”) on environmental governance, and to test the potential of notions of international environmental justice to guide and moderate the environmental impact of such corporate pursuits. Tim argues that while corporations engaged in FDI may not view themselves as central participants in and drivers of environmental governance, the governance impact of their place and practices is enormous. Tim’s paper aims to provide the basis for an evaluation of whether international environmental justice concerns are compatible with FDI activities generally and if so, the potential suitability of World Bank Group’s International Finance Corporation (IFC) policies and practices for FDI projects outside the IFC’s portfolio.

4. David Ford, Human Dimensions of Natural Resources. An Exploratory Study of Communicating Climate Change

David’s research will explore the viability of using online social media tools for collecting data on people's reactions to climate change messages. Short films framing a public call to action on climate change will be created and edited by CSU film students.  Two five-minute videos on climate change will be created, one using an 'economic' framework, and one a framework incorporating norm theory. The sampling will take place by providing participants with a link to a random selection of one of the two videos via social media outlets such as Facebook, Myspace, Twitter, and email. Videos will conclude with a survey analyzing participant reaction to each video and related behavioral intentions.

5. Deanna Kowal and Tara Shelley, Sociology. Understanding the Relationship between Risk and Public Support for Energy Conservation and Climate Change Policies

Deanna and Tara will examine risks associated with air pollution and public support of energy/climate change policies. Their project will enhance research related to environmental governance by providing an understanding of how perceived negative consequences of risk and actual risk exposure to air pollution may influence support for climate change and energy conservation policies. Their research will employ O’Connor’s (1999) theoretical foundation that the perceived likelihood of negative consequences to oneself and society is a driving force for support of energy and climate change policies. Their goal is to better understand the relationship between perceived risk and support for energy conservation/climate change policies by differentiating between individual and industry related strategies but also to understand how actual risk exposure may influence public opinion. The outcomes of this research will be; a completed literature review, collection of risk exposure data, and preliminary data analysis.

6. Kathie Mattor, Forestry, Rangeland Watershed  Stewardship. Measuring the Socio-economic Impacts of Community-based Environmental Governance

Kathie will perform exploratory research that incorporates a participatory approach with community-based forestry (CBF) practitioners to analyze and catalogue the existing state of knowledge of CBF socioeconomic outcomes, the current methodology used to measure these outcomes, and potential methods for filling identified knowledge gaps.  Kathie will develop a literature review of current theoretical and empirical research on CBF, interview CBF practitioners with experience conducting socioeconomic studies; and attend the Rural Voices for Conservation Coalition annual policy meeting.  This will result in preliminary analysis to inform her interdisciplinary dissertation research measuring the outcomes and processes of CBF, with the interviews providing a participatory component to fully inform the subsequent research.  The outcomes of this preliminary analysis will be synthesized in an applications style journal article.

7. Daniel McLane,. Mapping the Tourism Sustainability Council (TSC) Network

Daniel will conduct the first mapping of the  Tourism Sustainability Council (TSC) network. He will begin with a series of interviews which will form a database of names and organizations involved in the formation of the TSC. One important purpose of the interviews will be to determine if the individual or organization is the proper unit of analysis for the network map. He will then construct a matrix with the assistance of Sammy Zahran  (Sociology) of the network; contacting its various members via mail and email. The matrix will then be used for a network analysis revealing information concerning centrality, inclusion and thus exclusion.  The final product will be a narrative and network map of the creation of the first global certifying body for the world’s largest industry, presented in article form for a scholarly journal as well as a paper for the EGWG.  Economics. Regional Economic Impact of a Federal Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

8. Nate Peach, Economics. Regional Economic Impact of a Federal Regulation of Greenhouse Gases

Nate’s study will investigate how well-being, employment, and economic output in Colorado would be impacted by a national regulation of greenhouse gas emissions (GHG).  His research will extend the existing literature by accounting for business cycles. While the initial application of the study will be to Colorado’s economy, the model resulting from this research would be applicable to other economies and regions. Nate will apply the dynamic stochastic general equilibrium (DSGE) technique, which has become a standard tool for analyzing macroeconomic phenomena due to its ability to replicate business cycles via stochastic shocks. The resulting model will have the potential to address a number of questions related to Colorado’s economy, which will increase understanding of the economic implications of a federal GHG regulation on Colorado’s economy and citizens. The model will also increase capacity to understand parallel analyses for other regions.

9. Faith Sternlieb, Colorado Water Institute. A Call to Action to the Academic Community:  Proposing a Consortium for Water, Sanitation and Hygiene

National policies have been responsible for on-the-ground water, sanitation and hygiene initiatives overseas. However, the academic community also plays an important role in international research and development to counteract the incidents of death and disease from lack of access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation. In response to these efforts, the academic water community has come together to create a consortium with the aim to collaborate and coordinate solutions, projects, and policies with special attention to WaSH education, teaching, and technical capacity. In March, the Colorado Water Institute (CWI) with Faith’s help in coordination will lead a workshop in Washington DC to leverage funding for national academic institutions under the new Paul Simon Water for the World Act of 2010. Faith will use EGWG mini-grant funding to travel to DC to participate in the workshop. Faith will also take part in writing papers for presentation and publication on the building of this consortium for the National Ground Water Association and The Universities Council on Water Resources, respectively.

Contact: Heidi Huber-Stearns