Professor of global and environmental politics at COA Doreen Stabinsky is the co- author of a new textbook on power and perspective in the political sphere.Professor of global and environmental politics at COA Doreen Stabinsky is the co- author of a new textbook on power and perspective in the political sphere. Credit: Sarah Löwgren ’20

“Environmental Politics for a Changing World: Power, Perspectives, and Practice” (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2018) is not your typical introductory politics textbook. Rather than emphasizing technical details, Doreen Stabinsky and co-author Ronnie D. Lipschutz address important overarching questions of power, world views, and values to help students understand some of the factors behind political action.

“We want people to see that things don’t just happen, they happen because we make them happen,” Stabinsky explains.

Hoping to make the world a more sustainable and equitable place, Stabinsky uses her political understanding and international network to help people create positive change.

“I am constantly questioning what students need to know to operate in the world”

“The environment is very important to sustaining human life on the planet, so we need to take care of it,” she says. “We, who are reading the book, must work.”

Stabinsky brings her motivation and sense of urgency into her classroom at College of the Atlantic, where she teaches environmental politics, international studies, and agricultural policy. Like her book, Stabinsky’s classes help students understand the underlying political forces that control the world.

“I am constantly questioning what students need to know to operate in the world,” Stabinsky says. She does not want to limit her teaching to facts the students could find online—understanding systems and interactions is more important, she says.

Outside the classroom, Stabinsky puts her teaching philosophy into practice by bringing students to international political spaces where they learn about politics by observing negotiations, working with NGOs, and networking with global leaders.

COA professor of global environmental politics Doreen Stabinsky, second from left, spends time with COA students and alumni at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 24th Conference of the Parties in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. With her are, from left, Hajja Naseem '10, Trudi Zundel '13, Katrine Osterby '21, Ania Wright '20, and Nathan Thanki '14.COA professor of global environmental politics Doreen Stabinsky, second from left, spends time with COA students and alumni at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change 24th Conference of the Parties in Katowice, Poland, in December 2018. With her are, from left, Hajja Naseem '10, Trudi Zundel '13, Katrine Osterby '21, Ania Wright '20, and Nathan Thanki '14.

“Environmental Politics for a Changing World” is a textbook for introductory environmental politics. It views current environmental issues through lenses of political economy and political ecology, emphasizing the nature of power providing the reader with theories and skills to engage in political action. The book touches on topics such as capitalism, globalization, activism, and, of course, global and domestic politics.

Stabinsky began her political work while she was finishing up her PhD in genetics from the University of California, Davis. As she grew more skeptical of careless genetic modification, she began to work politically for safer GMO policies. With her background in genetics, she could help scientists, policy-makers, and lobbyists understand each other.

For the last decade, Stabinsky has mostly worked on climate-related issues, but her bridging role remains.

“I ask myself, ‘How do I work within the spaces I know and understand to make the world a better place?’” Stabinsky says.

COA professor of global and environmental politics Doreen Stabinsky is coauthor of “Environmental Politics for a Changing World.”COA professor of global and environmental politics Doreen Stabinsky is coauthor of “Environmental Politics for a Changing World.”She is approaching her goal in many different ways, from serving as the technical expert for several non-governmental organizations and assisting developing countries in negotiations, to writing reports and, since 2001, teaching at COA.

Stabinsky enjoys teaching at COA because it is challenging, ever-changing, and supports a teaching approach she believes in, she says.

“It’s really important to push a different educational movement, and creating spaces for students to use their imagination, to experiment, and to understand their knowledge as a co-creative process,” Stabinsky says. “Students who choose to come to COA make demands of their education. They come to class and they are not looking at their devices. It takes intentionality to come here.”

It was Stabinsky’s passion for teaching quality material that led her to contact Ronnie D. Lipschutz, professor of politics at University of California Santa Cruz. She had used Lipschutz’s first version of the book, “Global Environmental Politics: Power, Perspective, and Practice” (CQ Press, 2003) in her classes and, as the book began to feel outdated, she contacted Lipschutz to ask when he was going to update it.

“It was just such a good book and I wanted to continue using it for my classes…he wrote back and asked if I would help him write it,” Stabinsky smiles.

That was a few years ago and with the second edition now published, the pair are hoping to continue working together.

In the second edition, Stabinsky and Lipschutz included a climate change manifesto written by Nathan Thanki, who graduated from College of the Atlantic in 2014.