In September, I gave a presentation as part of Davidson College’s ongoing faculty series on “Policy and…” Every month over the course of the semester, several faculty and staff members presented on different aspects of policy from the vantage point of their own research and professional work. My topic was Policy and the Environment, and as the first speaker in the series, I first discussed what we mean by “policy,” tracing the words origins back to no less a source than Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales.
I then explored its use in the environmental context, and how environmental policy has evolved over the last several decades. I concluded with a discussion of information-based governance and policy, such as the use of eco-labels and ratings to encourage pro-environment behavior, which has boomed in recent years and is the focus of my research.
My presentation helped frame the next two presentations, which were focused more on local issues of environmental policy and the preservation of natural forests and habitat from destruction and development. These faculty panels are great opportunities not only for students to learn more about what their professors are working on, but also for faculty to learn more about each other’s work. I had some nice conversations with several of my colleagues after this and other similar events about various connections between our areas of interests and expertise. This is one of the benefits of being at a liberal arts college – there is a real opportunity and possibility of engaging in substantive discussions and even collaborations with faculty from very diverse backgrounds who you would not likely ever even meet at a large university.