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Christopher Orr


Dr. Christopher J. Orr researches how societies can better govern complex environmental challenges. His research combines theory-building with empirical case studies to understand society-nature relationships and how they can be transformed. This empirical work looks at climate change, forest policy, water governance, cities, and economic transitions, yielding policy insights and fostering community action. He recently co-edited Liberty and the Ecological Crisis: Freedom on a Finite Planet (Routledge).

He is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the SPROUT Lab at the University of Waterloo where his research and policy work focus on climate action and transformative visions of wellbeing. With the TRANSFORM project, he is helping to understand and develop transformative capacity building strategies to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and communities transition to zero-carbon and resilient economies. He is also exploring the drivers of city climate action.

He completed his PhD in the Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) project at McGill University in 2020. His doctoral research focused on understanding deep transformations in society-nature relationships and explored their dynamics in the context of Canadian climate change politics. He holds an MSc from McGill University and a BSc in Physics and Environmental Science from the University of Toronto. His Master’s research focused on the legitimacy of collaborative watershed governance in Quebec.

Recent publications:

Orr, C.J. and Fyles, J.W. (2022). Progressive selection and the erosion of Canadian environmental governance: evidence from elite interviews. Environmental Politics. doi: 10.1080/09644016.2022.2146936.

Orr, C.J. (2022). Environmental Aspirations in an Unsettled Time: Pierre Elliott Trudeau, the Club of Rome, and Canadian Environmental Politics in the 1970s. Canadian Journal of History. 57(2): 246-279. doi: 10.3138/cjh-57-2-2021-0101.

Orr, C.J. and Kish, K.. (2022). Sustainability Transformations: Emerging Pathways Toward Safe and Just Futures for People and the Planet. Editorial for Special Issue in Challenges in Sustainability. 10(1): 2 doi: 10.12924/cis2022.10010001.

Orr, C.J. Kish, k. and Jennings, B. (eds). (2020). Liberty and the Ecological Crisis: Freedom on a Finite Planet. Routledge.

climate changeecological economicsEnvironmental Policysustainabilitytransformation

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