behavior change

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…)

Innovation or Retreatism: What should students in environmental studies be learning? (part 2)

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…)

How the California drought grew silverware in our garden

My wife and I were coming back from walking the dogs recently. As we turned the corner from the sidewalk onto the path to our front door, we noticed a dinner fork buried in the Jerusalem sage (phlomis fruticosa) under the manzanita tree. This was a bit of a mystery. I chalked it up to one of the kids taking a snack out into the front yard and dropping a fork. (more…)