Students: Climate Justice Cohort

Cohort 3 began in Fall 2016


Alison is a PhD student at the University of Vermont’s Rubenstein School, working with Professor Rachelle Gould. She studies the nonmaterial benefits human receive from nature. Her research asks: what are the connections and meanings people derive and experience from their relationships with natural landscapes? What is the impact of changing environmental conditions on these relationships? How can we leverage multiple ways of knowing and conveying information, including interviews and surveys, partipatory mapping, and art and storytelling to understand these processes? Alison employs her training in qualitative and mixed methods research approaches, spatial analysis and GIS, and art history to explore the connections between non-material values of ecosystems and environmental change. Her dissertation research examines the effects of coral reef decline on these non-material values or “cultural ecosystem services” in Hawaiʻi. Additionally, she is currently involved in research projects on the effect of news media on environmental decision-making; modeling changing forest cover in the Northeast; and the role of cultural ecosystem services in policy processes. patterns. Prior to graduate school, Alison worked in community organizing and environmental advocacy. She has a BA from Yale and received her MS in Natural Resources from UVM. Alison is also the Watershed Forestry Coordinator with UVM Extension and Lake Champlain Sea Grant.
Keywords: nonmaterial benefits from nature, spatial analysis, land cover and land use change, equity and justice, eco-art
Twitter: @alisonb_adams 

Sam Bliss (UVM)

Sam’s doctoral research focuses on the ecological economics of non-market food systems in Vermont. Markets and states have proven unable to sustainably feed humanity, but little economics research has explored existing or possible food systems based on reciprocity, redistribution, and household production, especially not in industrialized societies. With Professor Josh Farley, Sam is making a novel case for studying, experimenting with, and thinking about the possibilities of non-market, non-state food economies. Prior to beginning his doctorate, he spent a one-year Fulbright fellowship at the Autonomous University of Barcelona working with Professor Giorgos Kallis to examine the scientific validity of the claims made in the Ecomodernist Manifesto, a document that elaborates the post-environmentalist vision of a techno-utopian future of densely packed cities fed by factory farms, powered by nuclear reactors, and surrounded by pristine wilderness. Sam and Giorgos are currently finishing up the  book  that resulted from that project.
 Keywords: ecological economics, degrowth, decommodification, network analysis, grounded theory                                       
Twitter: @samcbliss
Email: sam.bliss@uvm.e

Natália Britto dos Santos (York)

Natália is a PhD student in Environmental Studies at York University. She holds a BSc in Biology and an MSc in Ecology, Conservation and Wildlife Management, both from the Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG – Federal University of Minas Gerais), Brazil. She has experience as an environmental analyst at a conservation institute in her home state in Brazil, where she worked with protected areas management for two years.
Her research interests include ecosystem benefits to human well-being, environmental values and connectedness with nature. During her PhD, Natalia aims to investigate human perceptions of nature, especially non-material values, and how positive connections with nature may contribute to both human well-being and stewardship behaviours towards nature. She believes that humans are part of nature, and that we are connected with all living-beings and mother Earth in a complex, interdependent system. Natalia is interested in social-ecological systems, and is currently working on how outdoor experiences influence children-nature relationships and values related to those relationships. 
Keywords: environmental values, socio-ecological systems, ecosystem services, environmental behaviour, well-being, humans and nature


Tim is a PhD graduate in the department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill. Prior to this he worked in the electricity industry as an operations analyst at Transpower, the national transmission system operator in New Zealand. He has collaborated in a variety of research projects related to renewable energy and emerging technologies, including distribution network impacts of solar PV and the integration of distributed generation into power system operations. Tim holds a Master of Energy degree and a Graduate Diploma in Engineering from the University of Auckland, and a Bachelor of Science in physics and mathematics from the University of Otago. His primary research interests involve non-renewable energy dependency in industrial societies, global transition pathways from non-renewable to renewable energy resources, and quantitative modelling approaches including system dynamics and stochastic optimization.
Keywords: energy transition, degrowth, systems modelling, energy return on energy invested (EROEI), societal metabolism.
Partners: GoldSim Monte Carlo Simulation Software

Alice Damiano (McGill) – graduated

Alice is a PhD graduate in Renewable Resources at McGill University. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Statistics and a Master’s Degree in International Development, Cooperation and Environmental Studies, major in Environmental Economics and Policies, both from the University of Turin, Italy. She worked as consultant in the data warehouse field for four years, during and after her Master’s studies. Alice is interested in interdisciplinary research, and in her PhD she is working on the idea of learning from the Indigenous peoples—with respectful recognition and not unfair appropriation—how to establish a better relationship with the environment, especially in a context of natural and environmental disasters. She is passionate about climate change, natural catastrophes and the idea of going beyond the concept of homo oeconomicus through Behavioural Economics, Ecological Economics and Indigenous Studies. Beside being an E4A fellow, Alice was a blogger for GradLife McGill between 2017 and 2019. Her GradLife blog posts are available here.
Keywords: Indigenous, worldview, environmental change, disaster, decision making.
Twitter: aellis_29


I am a Ph.D. candidate in the Economics for the Anthropocene Project (E4A) in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences at McGill University. After completing my bachelor’s at McGill University in Bioresource Engineering, I worked as a quality control technician and project coordinator for a mechanical contractor in Montreal. I returned to school for a master’s degree in Integrated Water Resource Management (IWRM) to focus my work on the socio-political aspects of water governance. During my degree, I worked as a research assistant on two projects: the application of variable rate irrigation (VRI) to potato farming in Southern Alberta to reduce irrigation water, and the use of serious games to promote social learning and collaboration among stakeholders in transboundary water management. My current research focuses on incorporating ethics for a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship at different levels of water governance in Canada: from governance structures to creating community tools that help shape policy, projects, and curriculum. To complete my research, I am partnering with the Department of Bioresource Engineering and the Faculty of Law at McGill University, as well as the non-profits the Great Lakes Commons and Water Rangers.
Keywords: water governance, ethics for a mutually enhancing human-Earth relationship, ecological virtue ethics, serious games, stakeholder engagement, community tools

Claire-Helene Heese-Boutin (York)

Claire is pursuing a Master’s degree of Environmental Studies at York University. She holds a BA in Environmental Studies and Caribbean Studies from the University of Toronto. Over the last three years, she has been working in personal financial services with a focus on responsible investment management and household financial planning. She has passed the first level of the Chartered Financial Analyst Program and holds the Financial Planning Standard Council Financial Planning Certificate. Her objective is to develop the skills and knowledge to utilize the long-term financial advisory relationship to support households with social and environmental values to align their finances with their values. Her research interests are to use an ecological economic framework to evaluate the utility of financial markets to households and responsible household consumption.

Daniel Horen Greenford (McGill/Concordia)

Daniel is a PhD student at Concordia University, studying under the supervision of climate scientist Damon Matthews in the Department of Geography, Planning and Environment, and a member of the Climate Justice Cohort of the Economics for the Anthropocene program. Daniel holds an MSc from his previous work in the Matthews Climate Lab. His master’s thesis proposed an equitable way to allocate greenhouse gases embodied in trade, which he employed to revise national emissions inventories. Daniel continues research in the same vein, aiming to better understand drivers of, and responsibility for, climate change and other human impacts. He is also engaged in efforts to decarbonize Canada, emphasizing the need to end our reliance on fossil fuels as a source of jobs and income. His current research aims to show Canadians how we can feasibly transition to a carbon-free economy while still doing our fair share in international climate efforts.
Keywords: climate justice, responsibility, effort sharing, input-  output, just transition

Gabriel Yahya Haage (McGill)

Gabriel completed a BSc in Biology and a Diploma in Environment at McGill. His Honours research dealt with species distribution in benthic ecosystems in the Canadian Arctic. The focus of his Diploma was the intersection between environmental issues and religious/ethical views. He is currently pursuing a PhD in the Department of Natural Resource Sciences. He is part of the Neo-tropical concentration and has received funding from BESS to do research in Panama. He research has also been funded by an FRQNT doctoral scholarship geared at multidisciplinary research. His research focusses on dam projects in Panama, particularly those impacting indigenous communities. He seeks to develop a historical and spatial understanding regarding how different institutions interact with dam projects. His research also explores, more generally, Human-Wildlife Conflicts and alternatives to the Sustainable Development Goals.
Keywords: lake ecosystems, habitat conservation, water stress, water use modeling, ecosystem services

Kelly Hamshaw (UVM)

Kelly is a PhD student in UVM’s Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources. Working with Vermont’s mobile home park communities during Tropical Storm Irene recovery efforts in 2011, both as a researcher and as a volunteer, Kelly has witnessed firsthand the impacts of climate change on rural communities. Those experiences serve as her motivation for pursuing transdisciplinary research as part of E4A that offers tangible outcomes for increasing disaster resilience of rural communities in the face of climate change. She is a full-time Senior Lecturer of Community Development in UVM’s Department of Community Development and Applied Economics. She also supports a variety of community-based research and evaluation projects in the UVM Center for Rural Studies on topics important for vital rural communities such as workforce development and affordable housing. Kelly has a BS in Natural Resources and received her MS in Community Development and Applied Economics from UVM.
Keywords: community, resilience, vulnerable communities, climate justice


David Mallery is a Ph.D. student in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University with a background in political theory (BAH, University of Guelph), systems science (MES, York University), and environmental conflict analysis (grad certificate, UPEACE). His thesis critiques the epistemological predicaments associated with efficiency oriented methodologies for environmental decision support, while also seeking to operationalize alternative, dialogical approaches to sustainability science. His research explores the ontological and epistemological implications of complexity and relationality, and how these concepts not only contribute to our growing understanding of sustainability, resilience, and human-nature relationships, but are also useful in the development of new epistemological frameworks for mixed quantitative and qualitative methodologies for resource accounting, sustainability assessment, and environmental conflict analysis. David’s research interests include relational systems theory and the ontology of life; the philosophy of science; A.N. Whitehead’s process metaphysics; biosemiotics; systems ecology, and; world systems theory. He currently holds multiple research assistantships in association with the Center for Understanding Sustainable Progress; the Credit Valley Conservation Authority, and; the Global Footprint Network respectively. He is a recipient of the Ontario Graduate Scholarship, as well as the SSHRC Doctoral Scholarship.

Caitlin Morgan (UVM) – GRADUATED

Caitlin is a PhD graduate in Food Systems at the University of Vermont. She holds an MS in Food Systems from UVM and a BS in Food Literacy from the University of California at Berkeley. Her master’s thesis work focused on the daily experiences of food agency among low-income women of color. Previously, Caitlin worked as a community nutrition educator and freelance writer. She is interested in the intersection of ecological economics and food systems and plans to integrate the two transdisciplinary approaches with her research.
Keywords: Justice and sustainability in food systems

Alicia Richins (York)

Alicia Richins is a recent graduate of York University’s Master in Environmental Studies, Planning Concentration, pursuing a career in ecological sustainability, international development and planning and policy-making. In her graduate research, she applied the framework of ecological economics to the practice of planning in the Global South, with emphasis on the Caribbean and Latin America. This research culminated in a Major Paper and system-dynamics model (STELLA) focused on Caribbean sustainable development prospects. Her other research and non-research interests include systems-thinking, complexity science/economics, climate adaptation and resilience, renewable energy, co-operative business, postcoloniality, culture and the arts. As a proud dual citizen of Canada and Trinidad & Tobago, Alicia defines her personal mission as the advancement of the work of sustainable development through the design and management of projects and policies to secure resilient futures for all.

Martin Sers (York)GRADUATED

Martin is a PhD candidate in the Faculty of Environmental Studies at York University. He is keenly interested in new approaches to the study of macroeconomics that considers both the physical and financial system dimensions of economic activity and how these might be studied together. His research interest is in the relatively new approach to macroeconomics called ecological macroeconomics, and specifically in the derivation of stock-flow consistent input-output (SFCIO) models. Martin’s current work lies in the development of a continuous-time SFCIO model incorporating energy in order to study the dynamics of energy transitions. Broadly he is motivated by the question of how to think about macroeconomics for a world defined by planetary boundaries. Martin has a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from Mount Allison University and a Master’s degree in Economics from Carleton University. He has previously worked as an applied-economist in Cambridge, UK on the large scale model E3ME exploring the environmental and economic impacts of various policy scenarios.
Twitter: @MartinRSers


Svenja was born and raised in Germany. At the age of 19, she moved to Costa Rica to support biodiversity conservation in several national parks. After returning to Europe, she completed a Bachelor’s degree in Sustainable Tourism in Germany, followed by a Master’s degree in Development Economics in Lisbon, Portugal. Upon graduation, she worked for the international organization “Transparency International”, which aims to enhance integrity and transparency in global climate finance governance. Her subsequent position as a Sustainable Development Policy Analyst at the United Nations Secretariat provided her with the opportunity to work at the heart of climate change policy and toward the implementation of the sustainable development agenda. Svenja is now pursuing a PhD in Natural Resources at the Rubenstein School at UVM, and is a fellow in the Gund Institute’s Economics for the Anthropocene project. Her research interests lie in environmental peacebuilding in transitioning economies, with a focus on democracy, political ecology and the link between post-war peacebuilding and environmental – as well as natural resource – governance.
Twitter: @svenjatelle

Douglas Baxter (York)

Douglas is pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Studies at York University. He has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Studies also from York. His area of interest revolves around relationships between firm efficiency, profitability and sustainability in a changing ecological system. Douglas was born and raised on the beautiful island of Jamaica where he lived until the age of 14 before moving to Canada. Unsure of what he wanted to study, he dabbled in anthropology and economics, eventually   settling on environmental studies. He enjoys learning about human interaction with the environment and challenges himself to think of ways to improve our grim environmental situation worldwide. His second area of study would have been anthropology as he is interested in human life and culture. In his spare time, Douglas enjoys playing sports, reading, and attending basketball games and concerts.
Keywords: consumerism, business, corporate-responsibility, economics, profit


Molly graduated with a Masters in Environmental Studies (MES) from York University in September 2019. Her research was an intersectional approach to supporting socially and ecologically sustainable food systems, tying together political agroecology, ecological economics, privilege/positionality, community organizing and traditional knowledge systems. She is now a project officer at Evergreen in Toronto with the Future Cities program. Her past experiences have included urban agriculture in Shanghai, “open-knowledge” research in Ecuador and cooperative farming in Cuba. She is an active organizer in several Toronto sharing economy and resources distribution projects. In her natural habitat, Molly is most often found at the centre of epic dance parties, surrounded by books she aspires to read, or in the garden.
Keywords: political agroecology, ecological economics, food sovereignty, community resilience, power & privilege