Dr Bec Colvin

Senior Lecturer
Crawford School of Public Policy

Bec Colvin is a social scientist and Lecturer with the Resources, Environment & Development Group at the ANU Crawford School of Public Policy. Bec's research interest is in how groups of people interact with each other - especially in settings of social and political conflict - with regard to climate and environmental issues. In particular, she studies the role of social-political identity in shaping these interactions. Much of this work has a focus on the dynamics and interplay of formalised processes for including citizens and stakeholders in decision-making and informal processes of interaction in the public sphere.

Bec's recent research has included: a social identity analysis of the "Stop Adani Convoy", and what this means for social relations in the context of climate and energy policy; experimental work on how framing land use change as social conflict affects public opinion, and implications for understanding public preferences; the drivers of social-political polarization on climate change, and how this can be avoided in emergent climate policy arenas; the role of social identity in exacerbating community conflict about wind energy development, and lessons for community engagement practice. Current research in progress, but as yet unpublished, includes: analysis of Australian voters' attitudes toward climate change in the context of the 2019 federal election; local attitudes toward the future of coal in the Hunter Valley, and the role of identity and climate politics in shaping attitudes; processes of identity and social change among Australian farmers who have mobilized on climate change; how 'following the script' of our social identity groups on climate change affects social-political polarization and conflict.

At the Crawford School of Public Policy, Bec teaches courses on environmental communication, quantitative social research methods, independent research on climate change, and is Co-Convener of the Master of Climate Change. Prior to joining the Crawford School, Bec was Knowledge Exchange Specialist for the ANU Climate Change Institute and Associate Lecturer for The University of Queensland.

For an up-to-date list of publication, please see my Crawford School profile at the following URL: https://crawford.anu.edu.au/people/academic/rebecca-colvin?tb=publication

Research interests

  • Social & political conflict about climate and environmental issues.
  • Interactions between identity, values, and ideology, in shaping attitudes toward climate and environmental issues.
  • Social experiences of energy transition & development, with a focus on wind, coal, and unconventional gas.
  • Effective communication on climate change and environmental issues.
  • Community and stakeholder engagement process dynamics.
  • Badullovich, N, Grant, W & Colvin, R 2020, 'Framing climate change for effective communication: a systematic map', Environmental Research Letters, vol. 15, no. 12, pp. 1-16.
  • Colvin, R 2020, 'Social identity in the energy transition: an analysis of the 'Stop Adani Convoy' to explore social-political conflict in Australia', Energy Research & Social Science, vol. 66, p. 20.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2020, 'Power, perspective, and privilege: The challenge of translating stakeholder theory from business management to environmental and natural resource management', Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 271, pp. 1-9.
  • Colvin, R, Ross, H & Baldwin, C 2020, 'Social dimensions of energy system change in a disrupted world', Australasian Journal of Environmental Management, vol. 27, no. 2, pp. 117-122.
  • Colvin, R, Bradd Witt, G, Lacey, J, McCrea, R 2020, 'The role of conflict framing and social identity in public opinion about land use change: An experimental test in the Australian context', Environmental Policy and Governance, DOI:https://doi.org/10.1002/eet.1879.
  • Colvin, R. M., Kemp, L., Talberg, A., De Castella, C., Downie, C., Friel, S., Grant, W. J., Howden, S. M., Jotzo, F., Markham, F. & Platow, M. J. 2020, 'Learning from the Climate Change Debate to Avoid Polarisation on Negative Emissions', Environmental Communication 14:1, 23-35, DOI:10.1080/17524032.2019.1630463.
  • Colvin, R, Crimp, S, Lewis, S et al. 2020, 'Implications of Climate Change for Future Disasters', in Anna Lukasiewicz & Claudia Baldwin (ed.), Natural Hazards and Disaster Justice: Challenges for Australia and Its Neighbours, Palgrave Macmillan, Singapore, pp. 25-48.
  • Cvitanovic, C, Colvin, R, Reynolds, K et al 2020, 'Applying an Organizational Psychology Model for Developing Shared Goals in Interdisciplinary Research Teams', One Earth, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 75-83.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B, Lacey, J et al 2019, 'The community cost of consultation: Characterising the qualitative social impacts of a wind energy development that failed to proceed in Tasmania, Australia', Environmental Impact Assessment Review, vol. 77, pp. 40-48.
  • Harker-Schuch, I, Mills, F, Lade, S, Colvin, RM 2020, 'CO2peration - Structuring a 3D interactive digital game to improve climate literacy in the 12-13-year-old age group', Computers and Education, vol. 144, no. 103705, pp. 1-16.
  • Cvitanovic, C, Howden, M, Colvin, R et al 2019, 'Maximising the benefits of participatory climate adaptation research by understanding and managing the associated challenges and risks', Environmental Science and Policy, vol. 94, pp. 20-31.
  • Moon, K, Blackman, D, Adams, V et al 2019, 'Expanding the role of social science in conservation through an engagement with philosophy, methodology, and methods', Methods in Ecology and Evolution, vol. 10, no. 3, pp. 294-302.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2018, 'Using a Community Vote for Wind Energy Development Decision-Making in King Island, Tasmania', Case Studies in the Environment, vol. 2, no. 1, pp. 1-7.
  • Bednarek, A, Wyborn, C, Cvitanovic, C et al 2018, 'Boundary spanning at the science-policy interface: the practitioners' perspectives', Sustainability Science, vol. 13, no. 4, pp. 1175-1183.
  • Althor, G., Mahood, S., Witt, B., Colvin, R. M., & Watson, J. E. M. 2018. Large-scale environmental degradation results in inequitable impacts to already impoverished communities: A case study from the floating villages of Cambodia. Ambio. doi:10.1007/s13280-018-1022-2.
  • Lacey, J, Howden, M, Cvitanovic, C, Colvin RM 2018, 'Understanding and managing trust at the climate science/policy interface', Nature Climate Change, vol. 8, no. 1, pp. 22-28.
  • Whiley, D, Witt, B, Colvin, R et al 2017, 'Enhancing critical thinking skills in first year environmental management students: a tale of curriculum design, application and reflection', Journal of Geography in Higher Education, vol. 41, no. 2, pp. 166-181.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2016, 'How wind became a four-letter word: Lessons for community engagement from a wind energy conflict in King Island, Australia', Energy Policy, vol. 98, pp. 483-494.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2016, 'Approaches to identifying stakeholders in environmental management: Insights from practitioners to go beyond the 'usual suspects'', Land Use Policy, vol. 52, pp. 266-276.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2015, 'Strange bedfellows or an aligning of values? Exploration of stakeholder values in an alliance of concerned citizens against coal seam gas mining', Land Use Policy, vol. 42, pp. 392-399.
  • Colvin, R, Witt, B & Lacey, J 2015, 'The social identity approach to understanding socio-political conflict in environmental and natural resources management', Global Environmental Change - Human and Policy Dimensions, vol. 34, pp. 237-246.