School of Environment and Sustainability Prof. Leslie King is program head of the Master of Arts and Master of Science in Environmental Practice programs and the Bachelor of Arts and Bachelor of Science in Environmental Practice programs at Royal Roads University. She directs the Canadian Centre for Environmental Education in partnership with ECO Canada.
She holds degrees from the University of British Columbia, York University, University of Toronto and the London School of Economics. King was faculty at the University of Vermont, the Founding Chair of Environment at the University of Northern British Columbia, Founding Dean of the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth and Resources at the University of Manitoba and Vice President Academic at Vancouver Island University.
She has developed environmental programs in Canada, the U.S. and Africa. Her research sites are primarily in Africa and the Arctic as well as in Indigenous and local communities in North America. She has supervised scores of graduate students and takes delight in involving her students in her applied research and bringing research findings into the classroom and community.
Recent research projects include Meeting the Climate Change Challenge (MC3), Protected Areas and Poverty Reduction in Africa and Canada, Arctic Climate Predictions: Pathways to Sustainable Resilient Societies (ARCPATH), Northern Knowledge for Resilience, Sustainable Environments and Adaptation in Coastal Communities in the Circumpolar Arctic (NORSEACC) and Clam Gardens in BC: Eco-cultural Restoration.
King also serves on the boards of several environmental, arts and humanitarian organizations and as Chair for the Swedish Research Council.
(Journal of Community Engagement and Scholarship, 2021) Clermont, Holly; Dale, Ann; King, Leslie; Reed, Maureen
With salience, credibility, and legitimacy as organizing themes, we investigated how opposing
communities engaged with scientific information for two contentious proposed energy projects in
western Canada, and how their perceptions of science influenced its use in decision-making. The Trans
Mountain pipeline expansion, to carry diluted bitumen from northern Alberta’s oil sands to tankers on
British Columbia’s (BC) south coast, was expected to adversely impact biodiversity and contribute to
climate change. The Bute Inlet hydroelectric project, a large renewable energy project planned for BC’s
Central Coast, was anticipated to impact biodiversity but was largely seen as climate-friendly. Based on
surveys and interviews with 68 participants who had made one or more personal or professional decisions
pertaining to the projects, we discovered that values, cultural cognition, and media effects permeated all
aspects of using scientific evidence—from commissioning scientific research to selecting, assessing, and
weighing it with other forms of information. As a result, science was developed and used to support
positions rather than to inform decisions. We discuss ways to improve the use of science in environmental
assessments and other planning and development processes where engaged communities are divided
by oppositional positions. We hope this research will lead to community-university partnerships that
identify broadly salient, credible, and legitimate sources of information about energy and climate issues,
and foster knowledge mobilization across conflict divides.
(Ecology and Society, 2018) Moore, Alastair; King, Leslie; Dale, Ann; Newell, Robert
Despite decades of debate and policy interventions, the wicked social-ecological problem of anthropogenic climate change continues to threaten the sustainability of local communities. Impacts resulting from a rapidly changing climate are now inevitable yet variable in their nature and timing, depending on the extent to which local communities can respond. Transforming to low-carbon communities requires the ability to interrupt the inertia in existing development paths and shift these to more sustainable trajectories. Intervening in local development paths to mitigate climate change requires understanding the multilevel interactions between actors, practices, structures, and ecosystems implicated in system transformations. In this paper we explore the synergies between the multilevel perspective on transitions, social-ecological systems thinking, and social practice theories. We use these to conceptualize an integrative analytical framework capable of assisting researchers and local governments to understand how development path trajectories are sustained, and hence, which local climate initiatives are more likely to change the inertia of current development paths, and which ones only tinker at their edges.