Dr Steven Douglas

Visiting Fellow (Ecologist), Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University

My PhD research explored the role of the global 'greening' of religion in wider environmentalism and as a response to the global ecological crisis. I started with an interest in Buddhism in this context, but found that it was relatively well researched and also had little demographic influence in Australia. I switched to Christianity because of its demographic and political significance in Australia, initially looking to see if farmers' environmental values, attitudes and behaviours were being influenced by the over 'greening' of Christian denominations. That research required funding for travel, which was not obtained, causing me to switch to using the three largest denominations as case studies of environmental change in theology, policy and actions. I also research some site specific case studies such as a Catholic monastery on a large rural property that had ecological values. Would statements and directions by the Pope and other senior figures in that tradition influence management of the property to protect values such as a Critically Endangered Ecological Community, an Endangered plant species, and a Vulnerable parrot species?

My background is in ecology and environmental planning, and I specialise in threatened flora conservation, supplemented by statutory environmental impact assessments and work as an expert witness in legal proceedings. I have a Masters of Environmental Planning and a BSc with majors in Land Management, Resource & Environmental Management, and Plant Ecology. I pursued a divergent PhD thesis after having been disillusioned by the many regulatory failings of environmental management in Australia, and having trained as a Yoga teacher. In the latter, I saw that religious and spiritual believes can strongly inform environmental values, attitudes and behaviours - something that even the World Bank had recognised and invested in as a way of working with peoples' faiths and beliefs to achieve better ecological outcomes.

Experience

  • –present
    Visiting Fellow (Ecologist), Hawkesbury Institute for the Environment, Western Sydney University
  • 2014–2017
    Research associate, Monash University

Education

  • 2008 
    Australian National University, PhD Human Ecology
  • 1996 
    Macquarie University Graduate School of the Environment, Masters of Environmental Planning
  • 1993 
    Macquarie University, Bachelor of Science

Grants and Contracts

  • 2007
    Publication Scholarship (Post doctoral)
    Role:
    Publishing Fellow
    Funding Source:
    Fenner School of Environment & Society, ANU

Professional Memberships

  • Ecological Society of Australia