Thomas Webler



Thomas Webler is a Research Fellow with the Social and Environmental Research Institute in Greenfield, Massachusetts, USA and Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Keene State College in Keene, New Hampshire, USA.  He specializes in the science of bringing local and expert knowledge together in collaborative, democratic ways to produce innovative solutions to problems of collective action in the areas of environmental and risk decision-making.  He has a Ph.D. in interdisciplinary studies from Clark University (Worcester, Massachusetts, USA) where he specialized in the social dimensions of risk analysis, technology assessment, critical social theory, and public participation.  From 1992-1994 he did post-doctoral research on public participation in waste planning at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich, Switzerland.  Upon returning to the United States he became the consultant to a U.S. National Research Council committee studying risk communication.  That committee published a report titled: Understanding Risk: Informing decisions in a democratic society.  He co-authored a book on advances in social science theory in the field of risk studies.  The book is titled: Risk, Uncertainty, and Rational Action (London: Earthscan 2001).  In 2006 he was a Fellow of the Breuninger Foundation at the University of Stuttgart on the topic of environmental collaboration.  In 2007-2008 he had a Fulbright teaching fellowship to India to teach the social dimensions of biodiversity conservation.  His present and recent research grants focus on understanding fair processes for public engagement in environmental decision making and empowering communities to characterize vulnerabilities to climate hazards.


The Social and Environmental Research Institute conducts research on a broad range of social and environmental issues, while emphasizing topics related to discursive approaches to policy and social relations to the environment. The Institute conducts applied research projects that realize the practical gains provided by theory and that act as a means to realize concrete benefits to individuals, society, and the environment.