National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Linking ‘Toxic Outliers’ to Environmental Justice Communities Across the United States
Mary Collins is an environmental sociologist interested in environmental inequality, a concept she defines broadly as the inequitable distribution of both environmental privileges and problems across social groups. She conducted her doctoral research in the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California, Santa Barbara, studying the socio-political factors and social problems that influence the creation and perpetuation of ecological harm and environmental injustice. At SESYNC, Dr. Collins is examining the magnitude and distribution of pollution from individual industry producers in watersheds across the United States. Her research investigates how certain groups disproportionately create a majority of environmental harm that in turn disproportionately impacts other groups, often distinguishable by race or class.
Solving the Mystery of Marine Protected Area (MPA) Performance
David Gill’s research focuses on identifying linkages between marine protected area (MPA) governance, human well-being, and ecosystem health. The SESYNC Pursuit with which he is affiliated, Solving the Mystery of MPA Performance, brings together an interdisciplinary team of researchers and data from MPAs from around the world to identify key trends between MPAs and their social and ecological impacts. This work, spearheaded by the World Wildlife Fund, aims to inform marine conservation policy and strengthen a culture of evaluation in the conservation sector. Dr. Gill recently completed his PhD titled “The economic value of reef fishes to the fishing and dive tourism industries in the Caribbean.” This research was part of the Future of Reefs (FORCE) project, which involved an international team of researchers from more than 20 institutions in the Caribbean, Europe, USA, and Australia. Dr. Gill worked within the social science team, gathering data on the dependency of Caribbean coastal communities on coral reef resources and the constraints to effective reef management.