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Biography

I am a sociologist and filmmaker. I investigate the social factors that determine how quickly we can mitigate and adapt to climate change, and tell true stories to compel social change.

Climate change is a social problem – one that has been created by certain social norms and processes. I conduct research regarding these social systems to inform how we can protect human health and well-bring from  climate change. Most recently, I am building a new field of integrated study and practice - science in climate litigation - whose foundations have recently been published in Science Magazine and the American Journal of Public Health. This emerges, in part, from my previous work that identifies health risks presented by climate change and the challenges that diverse stakeholders have faced in addressing such risks.

I seek to translate research to transform public awareness of climate change through film, television, and other media. My research on how audiences respond to this information seeks to shape a less politicized reaction to these issues and foster a meaningful dialogue on how they can be addressed. My award-winning fiction and documentary films include my current scripted feature, Tribe, set in the Brazilian Amazon, and two segments of the Emmy-winning Showtime series, The Years of Living Dangerously, amongst other projects produced by my company, Evidence Based Media. I am also currently a Member of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine Climate Communication Initiative.

I was a Robert Wood Johnson Health & Society Scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and a Science & Technology Policy Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science at the Environmental Protection Agency. My policy experience involves advising cities, the White House, members of Congress and the Department of State. I have been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, as well as a wide variety of private foundations such as the Robert Wood Johnson and Children's Investment Fund Foundations. I have written two books, and over fifty articles and book chapters. I am Associate Professor in the Environmental and Occupational Health Department in the Milken Institute School of Public Health at George Washington University and Senior Fellow at the Wharton Risk and Decision Center.