I am currently a PhD student at UC Berkeley with the Department of Environmental Science, Policy and Management (ESPM). My research explores what it means to put monetary values on nature, and the implications for environmental politics, policy-making, and practice. I use mixed ethnographic methods to pursue this idea in its various forms through transnational policy networks and across different sites, scales, and institutional contexts of environmental governance.
Growing up in Vancouver, Canada, I developed an interest in conservation and environmental issues. I participated in eclectic research projects before starting my doctoral program, including studying rainbow trout populations in central British Columbia, monitoring marine sanctuaries in the Philippines, analyzing the ritual of restaurant tipping, doing ethnographic work with forest governance experts, and more recently conducting participant observation research at UN environmental summits. I’ve become increasingly interested in the cultural and political dimensions of environmental issues—an interest which motivates my current work. I recall a passage written by Donald Worster:
Natural science alone cannot by itself fathom the sources of the crisis it has identified, for the sources lie not in the nature that scientists study but in the human nature and, especially, in the human culture … We are facing a global crisis today not because of how ecosystems function, but rather because of how our ethical systems function.