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Melinda Butterworth

Assistant Professor, Environmental & Earth Science

Headshot of Melinda Butterworth

Contact Information

Collins Science Center 213


My academic department page

How do I incorporate sustainability, justice, and/or equity into the courses I teach?

I am broadly trained in the human-environment tradition of Geography, and my teaching at Willamette draws heavily from the perspectives and tools of political ecology. My classes ask questions such as: who is most impacted by negative environmental outcomes, and why? And, how might we use ideas from the social and natural science to envision a more environmentally sustainable and just future? Topics of inquiry include: Cases of environmental (in)justice, Colorado River use and allocation, international biodiversity conservation, social consequences of natural disasters, climate change impacts, and disease emergence and spread.

How does my research advance sustainability, justice and/or equity?

The health consequences of climate change will be heterogeneous in the US, owing to differences in social and environmental conditions. Using a mixed-methods approach (GCM ensembles, computer models, surveys, and interviews), my research contributes to our understanding of how 1. climate change may impact the distribution of mosquito-borne diseases in the southern US, and 2. how communities respond to and manage mosquito-borne disease outbreaks. Understanding how these socio-environmental conditions shape vulnerability to disease is key for successful public health interventions.  

What collaborations would I be particularly interested in?

I would be particularly interested in collaborations in 3 areas: (1) environmental health or environmental justice; (2) impacts of climate change on human communities; (3) interdisciplinary/mixed-methods projects that span the social and natural sciences.

Willamette University

Willamette University Sustainability Institute

900 State Street
Salem Oregon 97301 U.S.A.