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Rachel Hirsch

Archived Content

Research Interests
• cultural approaches to climate change adaptation, food security, and health policy
• sustainability in social-ecological systems
• integrating traditional and non-traditional ways of knowing
• institutional communications analysis

Selected Publications
Hirsch, R. (2010). Modelling governance structures and climate change policy communications on community resilience in the Canadian Arctic. Manuscript accepted to be published in the proceedings of the International Congress on Environmental Modelling and Software.

Hirsch, R., & Baxter, J. (2010). Context, cultural bias, and health risk perception: The 'everyday' nature of pesticide policy preferences in London, Calgary, and Halifax. Manuscript accepted pending approval of minor revisions to Risk Analysis.

Hirsch, R. A., Baxter, J., & Brown, C. (2010). The importance of skillful community leaders: Understanding municipal pesticide policy change in Calgary and Halifax. Journal of Environmental Planning and Management, 53(6), 1-15.

Hirsch, R., & Baxter, J. (2009). The look of the lawn: Pesticide policy preference and risk perception in context. Environment & Planning C: Government and Policy, 27(3), 468-490.

Varnhagen, C. K., Gushta, M., Daniels, J., Peters, T. C., Parmar, N., Law, D., Hirsch, R., Sadler-Takach, B., & Johnson, T. (2005). How informed is online informed consent? Ethics & Behavior, 15(1), 37-48.

Rachel Hirsch came to the Faculty of Environmental Studies (FES) at York University from the University of Western Ontario where she completed her PhD in Geography to further explore the social context of hazard experiences. Rachel Hirsch has an interdisciplinary background with several core research areas, based in both the behavioural and social sciences, including: hazards geography, health geography and risk communication. Hirsch has a particular interest in community resiliency and policy-making on issues concerning public and environmental health.

Her current research interests are to support the national, regional and local climate change adaptation policy and program interests of Canadian Inuit. There are many ways of understanding and encouraging environmental sustainability with direct implications for health policy developments. For example, it is important to consider how various stakeholders understand and communicate about the relationship between climate change, access to country foods, and health. Increasingly, researchers are seeking out indigenous sources of knowledge about what adaptation strategies are best suited to a changing northern environment. However, what is less clear is how findings from these indigenous knowledge studies are integrated back into climate change policy making, especially regionally. Over the next 3-5 years Hirsch will: 1) develop 2-4 vertical maps of institutional communications stemming from community-based traditional knowledge projects (e.g., Arctic Borderlands Ecological Knowledge Co-op based in Whitehorse); and 2) assess these knowledge networks using in-depth narrative analysis based on interviews with key stakeholders at regional, territorial and national levels.

Rachel Hirsch's doctoral research on pesticide policy preferences in Calgary Alberta, Halifax Nova Scotia, and London Ontario is award- winning. She has been the recipient of a Social Science and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) Master’s Canada Graduate Scholarship (2005-2006); a SSHRC Doctoral Fellowship (2006-2008); and an Ontario Graduate Scholarship (2008-2009). She currently has three peer reviewed published articles, two accepted manuscripts and 18 conference presentations. Rachel Hirsch has enjoyed teaching both hazards geography and environmental health. Recently, she examined her first undergraduate thesis. As a graduate teaching assistant, Hirsch was recognized for her teaching abilities by being awarded a Society of Graduate Students (SOGS), Graduate Teaching Assistant Union (GTAU), and Faculty of Graduate Studies (FGS) Graduate Student Teaching Award and by subsequent annual student nominations.

Affiliations and contact info:
Postdoctoral Fellow
Labrador Institute
Memorial University
Office: 709-922-2503

Adjunct Professor
Faculty of Environmental Studies
Executive Board Member
Institute for Research and Innovation in Sustainability (IRIS)
York University


Mailing address (Jan-Dec 2012):
P.O. Box 70, Nain, Newfoundland, Canada, A0P 1L0
Postdoctoral Fellow,Labrador Institute, Memorial University

Education and Former positions

Postdoctoral Fellow in Arctic Climate Change Policy, FES York University
BSc (Psychology) University of Alberta,
PhD (Geography) University of Western Ontario