National Socio-Environmental Synthesis Center (SESYNC)
1 Park Place, Suite 300
Annapolis, MD 21401
Community-engaged scholarship for sustainability: Where do values, equity, and power considerations intersect with conservation science?
Seminar presented by Dr. Bonnie Keeler, University of Minnesota.
The objectives of environmental management are evolving to include a more intentional focus on the benefits of conservation for human well-being (in addition to ecological impacts). This more inclusive approach to conservation decision-making requires an interdisciplinary toolkit that captures dynamics across complex and dynamic social-ecological systems. In this talk, Dr. Keeler will present research from her lab on the economic benefits of nature in rural and urban landscapes. She will also discuss limitations and challenges associated with this work, particularly inclusion of historical context, equity, and power dynamics in valuation and environmental policies. Keeler will share preliminary insights based on her leadership of the CREATE Initiative - a research and graduate training program that is piloting new models of academic scholarship that illuminate the importance of taking a historically-informed, community-centered approach to the complex social-ecological challenge of creating sustainable and equitable urban futures.
Bonnie Keeler, PhD, is assistant professor in the Science, Technology, and Environmental Policy (STEP) area at the Humphrey School of Public Affairs at the University of Minnesota. Keeler's team partners with state and federal agencies, environmental and community-based organizations, and other stakeholders to co-develop solutions to environmental management and policy challenges. Keeler's background is in sustainability science and environmental economics, particularly around the valuation of clean water. Current projects include estimating the return on investment in public environmental funding in Minnesota, evaluating the costs and benefits of urban green infrastructure deployment in cities in the United States and globally, and investigating the cultural, social, and relational values of fresh water. Keeler is particularly interested in projects and collaborations that integrate the humanities and the social sciences in ways that elevate environmental justice and equity considerations in ecosystem services research.