Troy Abel

Professor · He/him


I am a Professor of Environmental Policy in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy. My scholarship informs a teaching program committed to fostering an interactive classroom and student research collaborations. I know from my own scholarship and the growing body of work on project-based learning that becoming an environmental problem-solver is more than just awareness of information gained from lectures and readings. Environmental leadership is better fostered by the alchemy of disciplinary knowledge, responsibility, self-efficacy, and experiential education. See the course of my scholarly life in this curriculum vitae

For example, Western Washington University's (WWU) Center for Instructional Innovation and Assessment selected me for the 2017-2018 Innovative Teaching Showcase on "Engaging Social Justice." I also was recognized in 2009 with an “Academy Award” from Western Washington University’s Teaching and Learning Academy for “advancing the University’s values of sustainability and diversity” and in 2003 as a Teaching Scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. In 2012, Michael Kraft, Mark Stephan and I were co-recipients of the Lynton Keith Caldwell award for the best book on environmental politics or our MIT Press book Coming clean: information disclosure and environmental performance. This honor is annually awarded by the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) Section on Science, Technology, and Environmental Politics (STEP).

The following collection of collaborative work and publications reflects my dedication to the pedagogy of environmental interdisciplinarity and the development of techniques and experiences to bridge the teaching schism between environmental science and political science, or, between learning about the natural world and the civic world.


PhD Public Policy, George Mason University; Master of Public Administration, George Mason University; BS Public Health, Indiana University

Research Interests

My teaching and research interests focus on the dynamic tensions of environmental science and democratic politics in a variety of arenas. I believe that because we often see environmental problems and solutions in only technical or political prisms, environmental governance suffers. We do need better science and better democracy. But more importantly, we need a better integration of both that I foster in my classrooms and explore in my scholarship. I hold an appointment with the faculty of Environmental Studies at Western Washington University’s College of the Environment where my research programs focus on climate risk governance, environmental justice, and political biogeography.


Books and Chapters Authored or Edited

Cole, Helen and Troy D. Abel. 2021. Resisting green gentrification: Seattle’s South Park neighborhood struggles for environmental justice. In The Green City and Social Injustice, ed. Isabelle Anguelovski and James J. T. Connolly. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.

Abel, Troy D., Stacy Clauson, and Debra J. Salazar. 2020. Skewed Sustainability and Environmental Injustice Across Metropolitan St. Louis. In Case Studies in Suburban Sustainability, ed. Robert Brinkmann and Sandra Garren. Gainesville, FL: University of Florida Press, pp. 185-200.

White, Jonah and Troy D. Abel. 2019. Environmental Exposure Disparities and Gentrified Inequities: A Seattle, Washington context. Forthcoming in the Routledge Handbook of Global Urban Health, ed. Igor Vojnovic, Amber L. Pearson, Asiki Gershim, and Adrianna Allen. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis.

Abel, Troy D. and Mark Stephan. 2018. Streams of toxic and hazardous waste disparities, politics, and policy. In The Routledge Handbook of Environmental Justice, ed. Ryan Holifield, Jayajit Chakraborty, and Gordon Walker. Hoboken, NJ: Taylor and Francis, pp. 311-326. 

Recent Refereed Journal Articles

Daley, Dorothy, Troy D. Abel, Mark Stephan, Saatvika Rai, and Ellen Rogers. 2023. Can Polycentric Governance Lower Industrial Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Evidence from the United States? Environmental Policy & Governance. Early view.

Jovan, Sarah, Christopher Zuidema, Monika M. Derrien, Amanda L. Bidwell, Weston Brinkley, Robert J. Smith, Dale Blahna, Roseann Barnhill, Linn Gould, Alberto J. Rodríguez, Michael C. Amacher, Troy D. Abel, and Paulina López. 2022. Heavy metals in moss guide environmental justice investigation: a case study using community science in Seattle. Ecosphere 13(6): e4109.

Salazar, Debra J., Stacy Clauson, Troy D. Abel, and Aran Clauson. 2019. Race, income, and environmental inequality in the U.S. States, 1990–2014. Social Science Quarterly 100(3): 592-603.

Collaborative Grants, Student Publications and Exhibitions

13 WWU Students Receive $12,500 Award in EPA's 2023 Environmental Justice Video Challenge.

Abel, Troy D., Sarah Safadi, Anneka Herin, Erick Moreno. 2023. Fact Map to Help Washington Keep its Equity and Air Quality Commitments. Prepared for EPA Assistance Agreement NE-01J78901–0 and Duwamish River Community Coalition. June 13.

$131,422 awarded from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA Assistance Agreement NE-01J78901–0). August 2020-2023. Project Director (PD) for environmental education program “Youth Learning, Leadership, and Stewardship for Environmental Justice: Community-engaged air quality bioindicators using moss in South Seattle.”

$55,050 awarded from The Nature Conservancy (Grant WA-G-220411-016). Project Manager for “Equity in Washington’s Air Quality & Climate Commitments. March 16 – December 31, 2022.

$130,000 awarded from Kitsap County (Contract KC-529-20). Principal Investigator (PI) for a “Puget Sound Natural Resource Governance Assessment.” January 2021 – March 2022.

Blog Posts, Datasets, Editorials, Special Issues & Papers

López, Paulina and Troy D. Abel. 2021. Clean air everywhere, for everyone in Washington. Seattle, WA: South Seattle Emerald. 28 February.

Abel, Troy D., Debra Salazar, Patrick Murphy, and Jonah White. 2020 - 2021. Environmental Justice and Sustainability. An invited special issue for the journal Sustainability.

Abel, Troy D., Jonah White, and Stacy Clauson. 2019. Seattle’s Segregated Riskscape. February issue., Issue 14.

Salazar, Debra, Stacy Clauson, Troy D. Abel, and Aran Clauson. 2018. The Visualized Environmental Inequality Dataset (VEID). Dataset to accompany the paper titled “Race, Income, and Environmental Inequality in the U.S. States, 1990-2014.”

Abel, Troy D. 2017-18. Praxis for environmental justice. Innovative Teaching Showcase, 2017-18 (19). Western Washington University. ISSN: 2374-9415.