Libby Lester's work focuses on how issues are raised, understood and responded to in public debate, and she is recognised internationally for her research on environmental communications. She works across industries, government and NGOs to understand and promote the role of communication and media in good decision making about shared social and environmental futures. She asks in particular how regional communities and industries adapt and change in the face of global crises, such as climate change and land degradation, and expanding networks of communications, travel, resource demand and trade.
Recent Australian Research Council-funded research has drawn on case studies on forestry, aquaculture, tourism and mining to examine the flows of information, resources and people between Australia and its Asian trading partners. Findings are available in the book, Global Trade and Mediatised Environmental Protest: The View from Here (2019, Palgrave Macmillan).
Overall, she has authored, co-authored and co-edited seven books. These include Leadership and the Construction of Environmental Concerns (2018, Palgrave Macmillan), Environmental Pollution and the Media: Political Discourses of Risk and Responsibility in Australia, China and Japan (Routledge 2017) and Media and Environment: Conflict, Politics and the News (Polity 2010; Arabic ed 2013). She has been awarded four Australian Research Council Discovery grants, most recently with Professors Brett Hutchins and Toby Miller to study sport as a communications platform for environmental issues.
She holds a degree majoring in physical geography and prehistory from ANU and a PhD in media and communications from the University of Melbourne, and has been a Visiting Fellow at Oxford University's Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies in Tokyo. Before joining the University, she worked as a journalist, reporting on social, political and environmental issues for Australian newspapers and magazines, including The Age, Good Weekend and the Melbourne Herald.