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Christa Daniels, PhD

Antioch University New England

I teach because I am passionate about training leaders that can inspire and facilitate positive social change. We live in a world dominated by “wicked problems”, environmental issues that require navigating a field of scientific uncertainty, conflicting values and unequitable access to resources and a meaningful quality of life. My goal is to motivate others to think critically and holistically about the barriers and solutions we must consider when pursuing a sustainable and resilient society. As a teacher, I strive to inspire others to understand the theories and research that exists in the field of environmental studies and to transfer that knowledge into leveraging social change. I want my students to feel passionate about their learning and empowered to create change. My aim is for people to understand the ‘why’ but more importantly, the ‘how to’ in order to be affective in making change. This will allow students to take the knowledge they learn and apply it to real word situations. Because of this, my teaching methods tend to involve hands on projects. By exposing students to recent research, they gain the opportunity to apply what they learned to real-world projects.

Educational History

  • Doctor of Philosophy in Environmental Studies, Antioch New England Graduate School
  • Master of Science in Resource Management and Administration, Antioch New England Graduate School
  • Bachelor of Arts in Political Science, Pace University

My research focus is how we can engage the public and achieve local equitable climate resilience. This is an urgent issue because of the discrepancy between the broad scientific consensus that anthropogenic climate change is occurring and the limited political will and public support to address the issue. The local level has been considered the scale where climate mitigation, adaptation and resilience can have the most impact. Communities that are considered climate leaders in the United States may have adopted climate change plans, yet few have actually implemented the policies, projects and recommendations in those plans. This is due in part to significant implementation barriers (socio-psychological, physical, economic, and legal/political) decision makers face at the local level.

Adding to this wicked problem, is the definition of “bouncing back” that is often used by decision makers. Unfortunately, such a prior state may have included social injustice, inadequate public infrastructure and housing, hazard vulnerabilities, and environmental degradation. My goal is to overcome this obstacle toward positive social change by showcasing how climate resilience can be transformational in order to plan for an alternate future that improves the current socio-ecological system.

My primary research area centers around communities planning and implementing climate resilience through land use practices, planning, and stakeholder engagement. In a recent multi-phased project, I focused on how the lack of concern and efficacy played a substantial role in the lack of engagement on the issue of climate change. This project included the use of visualization and meaningful dialogue to test the effectiveness of innovative communication methods to increase public engagement. My past findings indicate practitioners should consider strategies and methods that utilize communicating information through imagery and meaningful dialogue to prompt engagement on climate change.

Moser, S.C. and Daniels, C. (2018). Look Ahead San Francisco: Results from Visualization Research Conducted for San Francisco. Results prepared for the City and County of San Francisco. Hadley, MA: Susanne Moser Research & Consulting.

Daniels, Christa, “Landscape Visualization: Influence on Engagement for Climate Resilience” (2018). Dissertations & Theses. 403.

Abrash Walton, A., Simpson, M., Rhoades, J., & Daniels, C. (2016). Local solutions report: Identifying and meeting the needs of local communities adapting to climate change. Keene, NH: Antioch University New England Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience.

Moser, S.C., Daniels, C., Pike, C. and Huva, A. (2016). Here-Now-Us: Visualizing Sea Level Rise and Adaptation Using the OWL Technology in Marin County, California. Susanne Moser Research and Consulting, Santa Cruz and Climate Access, San Francisco.

Cumberland County ME Regional Energy Plan, Co-Author and Editor, 2012

Connecticut Energy Handbook, Co-Author and Editor, 2012

Preparing for the Changing Climate: A Northeast-Focused Needs Assessment, Contributor and Editor, 2011

The NOAA Roadmap Tool in Context: Climate Preparedness in Coastal New Hampshire, Contributor and Editor, 2011

NADO, A Time for Action, Contributor and Editor, February 2010

Cool Monadnock Sustainability Plan, Co-Author and Editor, 2010

Energy Chapter for Temple NH Master Plan, Author, 2010

Maine Energy Handbook, Co-Author, 2010

NY Climate Smart Communities, A Guide to Local Officials, Contributor and Editor, 2009

Planning for Climate Change: A Community Toolkit for the U.S. Northeast, Creator and Co-Author, 2009

New Hampshire Handbook on Energy Efficiency & Climate Change Volume 2, Contributor and Editor, 2009

Pittsburgh Climate Action Plan, Co-author and Editor, June 2008

City of Portland ME Municipal Climate Action Plan, Co-Author, 2008

APA, Planning for a Low Energy Future DVD, Creator and Co-Author, 2008

City of Keene Climate Action Plan, Author, February 2004


Resource Management & Administration graduate degree program


Climate Resilience Professional graduate certificate


Courses Taught

Climate Impacts: Communication, Engagement & Leadership
Climate Impacts: Vulnerability and Adaptation Planning
Climate Mitigation, Adaptation and Resilience
Proposal Writing and Project Management
Land Use & Protection Techniques
Principle and Practices of Sustainability

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