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Dr Leslie Mabon

Profile summary

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Professional biography

I'm a Lecturer in Environmental Systems in the School of Engineering and Innovation at the Open University. I have a PhD in Geography, and have previously worked at the Scottish Association for Marine Science-University of the Highlands and Islands, Robert Gordon University, and the University of Edinburgh. I am a member of the Young Academy of Scotland - where I lead the Zero Carbon by 2045 Grand Challenge - and am a Future Earth Coasts Fellow. I'm also on the Editorial Board for the journal Sustainability Science.

Research interests

The big question I’m interested in is: whose knowledge counts – and why – within enviornmental management and policy? I explore these issues through three sub-areas of research:

(a) climate change adaptation governance at the city or regional scale, especially the integration of equity and justice concerns within techncially-led processes for cliamte risk reduction;

(b) risk, environmental infrastructure and the coastal and marine environment. I am especially interested in how environmental change may impact upon socially and culturally meaningful activities, and what the effects of this may be;

(c) ‘just transitions’ for high-emitting and carbon-intensive regions, where climate imperatives may have to be balanced with local concerns over employment and economic sustainability.

My research has been funded by the Economic and Social Research Council, the British Academy, the Wellcome Trust, the Japan Foundation, and the Royal Society of Edinburgh among others. Outputs from my work on environmental policy and governance have been published in journals including Landscape and Urban PlanningGlobal Environmental Change, and World Development.

Impact and engagement

As well as my blog and Twitter account, I enjoy societal engagement activities, and engaging with policy stakeholders as well as civil society organisations and the public. A few examples of impact and engagment activities are:

An appearance on CBS' Canada Tonight programme, where I discussed the treated water sitaution at the Fukushima Dai'Ichi Nuclear Power Plant in Japan;

Being featured in Japan's Mainichi Shimbun, in an article discussing my research activites on the coast of Fukushima Prefecture since the 2011 nuclear accident;

My research into disaster risk reduction and societal resilience through restoration of ecossytems being cited in the UN Office for Disaster Risk Reduction Words into Action Guide on Nature-Based Solutions for Disaster Risk Reduction.

I have a long-standing collaboration with Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology in Japan, where I work with Prof Midori Kawabe and the Department of Marine Policy and Culture on the revitalisation of fisheries and coastal communities in Fukushima Prefecture following the 2011 earthquake, tsnuami and nuclear accident;

Since 2016 I have worked with Dr Wan-Yu Shih of Ming-Chuan University in Taiwan on nature-based approaches to climate change adaptation for cities. As well as currently co-leading an ESRC-MOST project on urban greening for climate-resilient neighbourhoods, we jointly run the Urban Green Adaptation Diary website and blog which shares insights on nature-based adaptation with researchers, policy stakeholders and practitioners;

I also work extensively with the Institute of Human Geography in the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, where we have developed a programme of joint fieldwork and early-career researcher capacity-building on societal dimensions of climate change adaptation for coastal communities.