Please join us for an Environmental Forum with our newest faculty member, Gabrielle Wong-Parodi.
The social and behavioral sciences are critical for informing the development of policies to meet the challenge of global environmental change. Policies for mitigating environmental change or reducing the harm that it causes inevitably make assumptions about the behavior of the people who must execute or respond to those policies. Unless those assumptions are realistic, those policies may fail. Applying the social and behavioral sciences, decision science approaches any problem through three interrelated activities: formal analysis, characterizing the choices a fully informed rational actor would take; descriptive research, examining how people actually behave in those circumstances; interventions, designed to create viable, effective options and help decision makers choose among them. Each activity requires substantive collaboration with technical experts (e.g., climate scientists, geologists, engineers, hydrologists, regulatory analysts) and continuing engagement with decision makers. I apply a decision science approach in a variety of domains related to mitigating global environmental change or adapting to its effects, including preparing for sea level rise, adoption of emerging green transportation technologies, managing freshwater resources, and investment in green infrastructure. This talk will illustrate the approach through an example of my work on adapting to and preparing for episodic environmental threats (hurricanes), followed by ideas for moving forward. When successful, decision science can facilitate creating environmental policies that are behaviorally informed, realistic, and respectful of the people for whom they seek to aid. It can also help uncover critical relationships that affect the dynamics of human-environmental systems, suggesting targets for further collaborative research.
GABRIELLE WONG-PARODI is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Earth System Science and Center Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Her research focuses on applying behavioral decision research methods to address challenges associated with global environmental change. Dr. Wong-Parodi uses behavioral decision science approaches to create evidence-based strategies for informed decision making, with a particular focus on building resilience and promoting sustainability in the face of a changing climate. She has a background in energy resources, climate change adaptation and mitigation, and risk perceptions of emerging technologies, such as unconventional shale gas development. She was an invited speaker at the Sackler Colloquia at the National Academy of Sciences on the Science of Science Communication. She recently served on the National Academy of Sciences committee titled "Long-term Coastal Zone Dynamics: Interactions and Feedbacks between Natural and Human Processes and their Implications for the U.S. Coastline." Dr. Wong-Parodi is a faculty affiliate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and is the social science research liaison for the Climate Advocacy Lab. Dr. Wong-Parodi received her B.S. in Psychology at the University of California Berkeley, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in Risk Perceptions and Communication from the University of California, Berkeley.