Innovation or Retreatism: What should students in environmental studies be learning? (part 3)

In case readers have missed parts 1 and 2 of this series, here’s the summary: In Innovation or Retreatism: What should students in environmental studies be learning? (part 1), I introduced Robert K. Merton’s structural strain theory of deviance as a possible way of thinking about how those of us in the field of environmental studies, especially those who teach a political economy perspective, should be talking about individual and societal responses to environmental crisis. The basic idea is that Merton’s structural strain theory might be creatively employed by considering some sort of sustainable society our goal with individual behavior change and policy reform serving as the two dominant approaches to achieving the goal.  (more…)

Polling attitudes on the “invisible cyclist”

Invisible Cyclist

We’d like to extend a special thanks to the Bike League’s Equity Initiative Manager, Adonia Lugo, for hosting last Friday’s “Equitable Bike Advocacy and the ‘Invisible Cyclist'” webinar. It was a great success and you can listen to the webinar or view a curated collection of #bikes4all tweets from the event here.

The following twitter exchange captures the gist of what the discussion meant for the future of the “invisible cyclist.”

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Counting Bikes

In Friday’s excellent League of American Bicyclists webinar discussing “Equity in Bicycle Advocacy and the ‘invisible cyclist'” (storified nicely here), one topic of discussion was the challenge of counting bicyclists. Although there seemed to be general consensus that the term “invisible cyclist” is either inappropriate and offensive:


No, That Parking Spot Does Not Belong to You

zocalo screenshotJulian Agyeman and I have an article about the confrontation between MonkeyApp and the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office over the legality of auctioning off public parking spaces. We don’t chime in on the legality of the app. Rather, we propose that the controversy should be sharpening our focus around other key questions about the role of technology in our lives and the nature of the so-called “sharing economy,” the strength and promise of which lies in its ability to use technology to build community.

The article is titled No, That Parking Spot Does Not Belong to You. It’s published at Zócalo Public Square “a not-for-profit Ideas Exchange that blends live events and humanities journalism.” Zócalo publishes “original daily journalism…syndicate[d] to 150 media outlets nationwide.”



I’m an environmental social scientist committed to the idea that environmental problems are actually human problems. I draw on my particular expertise in sociology, and the social sciences more broadly, to move society toward equitable and just sustainability transitions.

These pages document my efforts to do this through past and present research, current projects, teaching, and campus sustainability efforts. Blog posts appear below.