Holly Jean Buck

PhD Candidate

Holly Jean’s work looks at climate change, energy system transformation, and human-environment interactions.  Her dissertation work looks at social dimensions of climate engineering in landscapes on the front lines of climate change.

Academic Interests:  Geographies of climate change, energy security, appropriate technology and algal biofuels, marine bioprospecting, bioenergy with carbon capture and storage, open-source biotechnology, startup culture, Anthropocene pedagogy & writing, the sociology of expectations, future studies

Holly holds a M.Sc. in Human Ecology from Lund University in Sweden, and previously worked in the geospatial industry.

Current/recent projects:

Albedo modification in the Arctic: Integrating public engagement and climate model simulations.

With significant impacts projected from global warming and melting ice, the Arctic is a critical region for evaluating possible future global cooling techniques, such as putting aerosols into the stratosphere to reflect incoming sunlight.  These controversial techniques require far more public deliberation than exists at present.  Combining social science, engineering, and communication, this project aims to discuss and deliberate these emerging technologies with Arctic stakeholders; identify citizens’ concerns, interests, and questions; and evaluate regionally specific geoengineering strategies with communities on the basis of these.

California’s agricultural Imperial Valley: Understanding climate change impacts and potential interventions

Climate stress threatens California’s agricultural production, though regions like the Imperial Valley have engineered the landscape for irrigation.  This project aims to engage with a range of stakeholders, from landowners to workers, to better understand the range of perspectives on drought and large-scale interventions, from climate intervention to ecosystem restoration, in a place which is already confronting climate impacts on food systems.

Integrated multi-sector ocean policy: how states, entrepreneurs, NGOs, and makers envision the blue economy

The oceans in the 21st century are particularly imperiled by climate change, with ocean acidification and rising temperatures. At the same time, aquatic space is said to hold tremendous potential for carbon sequestration and food and energy production in the Anthropocene. On the oceans, the shift from hunter-gatherer to farmer is said to be happening in accelerated time. This “Blue Revolution” is posited as the marine counterpart to the increased productivity of the Green Revolution, drawing on both agriculture and industry as a metaphor to explain new practices in not just food cultivation, but energy, raw materials (biological and mineral), and carbon sequestration. Who is creating this vision of the oceanic future, and why? This project interviews shapers and participants in emergent and experimental Blue Revolution practices and industries, such as marine bioprospecting, ocean fertilization, aquaculture, and algal cultivation / engineering.  It also compares multi-sector and integrated ocean policies that are arising around them, examining some of the socioecological implications of these practices and their claimed utopian opportunities, reaching as far as the question: can marine and aquatic cultivation imply new philosophical or political arrangements in the Anthropocene?


Committee members:  Charles Geisler, Alison Power, Stephen Hilgartner