Graham McDowell

PhD Student, Vanier Scholar, Liu Scholar, Public Scholar


Research Interests: Global environmental change; the cryosphere (i.e. high mountain and Arctic regions); vulnerability, adaptation, and transformation; socio-ecological systems; environmental governance

Biography: I am interested in the socio-ecological dimensions of environmental change in high mountain and Arctic regions. To this end, I have led projects in the Nepal Himalaya, Rocky Mountains, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic as well as numerous global-scale assessments of environmental change in cold regions. My doctoral research, supervised by Drs. Leila Harris and Michele Koppes, builds upon this experience and is focused on 1) characterizing how changes in the high mountain cryosphere––particularly climate-related changes in snow/glacial hydrology––propagate through interlinked socio-ecological systems and 2) the development of principles for responding to cryospheric changes in ways that are both socially and ecologically tenable. I am combining insights from socio-ecological resilience, political ecology, and fieldwork in globally significant high mountain regions to elicit information found at the intersection of coupled socio-ecological systems thinking, critical social theory, and lived experiences of environmental change. The project contributes broadly to the advancement of integrative environmental change scholarship, while also providing actionable governance recommendations for supporting human well-being and ecological resilience in the context of a rapidly changing cryosphere.

Prior to beginning my doctoral studies at UBC, I completed an MSc in Environmental Change and Management at the University of Oxford and an Honours degree in Geography at McGill University.

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