3 September 2020

The SG Showcase is a series of interviews with the PSA's Specialist Groups, explaining what they do and why - and how you can get involved. In this edition, we hear from the Environmental Politics Specialist Group.

Meet the Team

Heather Alberro, co-convenor:  PhD candidate and associate lecturer at Nottingham Trent University's Department of Politics and International Relations, part of the 'Ethics, Ecology, Identity' research group. Key areas of research/interest include critical social theory, utopian/green utopian studies, political ecology, and critical posthuman studies.

Mitya Pearson, co-convenor: Teaching Associate at the University of Cambridge. Research interests include British politics, environmental politics and policy, green parties, and British political history.

Ashley Dodsworth co-convenor: Lecturer in Politics at the University of Bristol. Research interests include history of environmental political thought, climate security, US environmental policy

What are the aims of your specialist group?

Formed in 2013 the Environmental Politics group seeks to bring together all those who have an interest in the most pressing political issue of our time. Our group aims to facilitate and support engagement with environmental politics among academics, activists, policymakers and practioners. We are comprised of over 150 members who explore all aspects of this topic, from climate change negotiations to environmental political parties, from environmental political thought through to best practice in teaching.  The group provides space for networking and for members to publish research, as well as highlighting opportunities that may be of interest to our members, such as calls for papers. 

What activities do you undertake as a group?

The Environmental Politics group runs a blog via our website to give our members the chance to comment on developments in environmental politics as they happen and to publicise their research. We also facilitate two meetings a year, a workshop in September and panels and meetings at the PSA Annual Conference.

Our workshops have been supported by Pushing the Boundaries funding and seek to bring together academics, activists and practioners, reflecting the interests and diversity of our membership. Last year's event 'Activism and Academia in the Age of Climate Breakdown' was timed to coincide with the climate strikes, and featured panels and roundtables with speakers from Extinction Rebellion and local environmental NGOs as well as academics. The panel on young people's engagement with climate politics also featured videos from young climate activists around the world, reflecting our commitment to centring diverse voices.  This year's event will be an online only series of keynote talk and seminars exploring the impact of Covid-19 on environmental politics.

We host several panels at the PSA Conference, reflecting the diversity of environmental politics and the range of our members interests. We were scheduled for nine panels at the 2020 conference, including a joint event with the Young People in Politics group, building on the connections we made at last years' workshop. We also host a social evening for members and an AGM at the conference, with an emphasis at the AGM on ensuring that members can decide the direction of the group for the next year.

The group has also previously consulted on the Environmental Politics Teachers Guide, helping shape how environmental politics is taught in UK schools and facilitates a member directory to help foster links between members and with people wanting to know more about environmental politics.

We don't charge for membership and provide travel subsidies for members to attend our events. We are especially keen to support PhD students and ECRs.

How can new members get involved or find out more?

New members should either email the convening team directly or email psaenvironment@gmail.com. Alternatively please visit our website at https://psaenvironment.wordpress.com/ for more information. We welcome enquires from any prospective members, and are also open to suggestions for blog posts and events.

And finally...

Our 2020 workshop on Covid-19 and the Environment will be held across the 10th and 11th September. We have a four panels exploring different aspects of the impact the Covid-19 pandemic has had on environmental politics, including the theoretical aspects regarding our relationship with nature, to a comparative analysis of how the environmental politics of countries from around the world has been affected. We are also hosting a panel on climate change diplomacy, with speakers from the UNFCCC and a session on 'Building Back Better' which examines how radical environmental politics can help build a post-Covid world. We're also excited to announce that John Dryzek will be giving a keynote talk that will be available via our website.

We welcome participants from all disciplines and you can register to attend via the following links:

Cross National Perspectives

Climate Diplomacy

Theoretical Explorations

Build Back Better: Co-Constructing the Post-Covid Future