I study human-environment relationships. In particular, I study environmental policy and governance, and think about ways environmental policy could be improved, especially as it relates to infrastructure. Different environmental infrastructures make modern life possible, but many in the US do not fully appreciate the importance of the systems that deliver energy, water, and waste management services. Too often these systems are left for 'government' or 'companies'' to deal with, though in reality we ought to be concerned about their development, operation, and upkeep even at the scales of our own homes and communities. My research takes two forms: first, historical studies of ‘how we got here’ with a particular project or system; and second, critical evaluations of policy processes and outcomes that aim to incorporate ideas from ecological identity and bioregional theory. I don't think either society or researchers should limit themselves to a particular approach to environmental policymaking, as regulations, educational & behavioral initiatives, and market-based solutions all play a role in effective governance.
My main project right now focuses on waste management infrastructures in New Jersey (Garbage in the Garden State), supported by the National Science Foundation's Science, Technology & Society Program. I also have ongoing collaborative work looking at different aspects of environmental policy and governance in the US and around the world (EPG). Previously, I was working on a big project about the Hawaiian Islands (Hawaii Infrastructures) and a smaller one dealing with Nordic geopolitics (Hygge Geopolitics). You can read about all of these projects by exploring the links below.
I am currently an Associate Professor in the Dept. of Geography, Planning & Sustainability at Rowan University, where I am also the Program Coordinator for Environmental & Sustainability Studies. I teach courses mainly in the Environmental & Sustainability Studies program and am the director of a three-year project called "Cultivating the Environmental Humanities" made possible with support from the Humanities Connections program at the National Endowment for the Humanities. You can read more about my courses and the "Cultivating the Environmental Humanities" project in the links below.
In January 2018, I was appointed by the Camden County Board of Freeholders to a three-year term on the New Jersey Pinelands Commission.