Photo of Debra J. Davidson

Debra J. Davidson

University of Alberta
Email: ddavidso [at] ualberta [period/dot] ca

Debra J. Davidson is Professor of Environmental Sociology in the Department of Resource Economics and Environmental Sociology at the University of Alberta, having received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1998. Her key areas of teaching and research include social responses to climate change, and crises and transitions in energy and agri-food systems. Dr. Davidson is President of the Research Committee on Environment and Society in the International Sociological Association, and she was a Lead Author in Working Group II of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change’s 5th Assessment Report.

Debra J. Davidson’s Website.


Carrie Karsgaard and Debra J. Davidson, (2021) “Must we wait for youth to speak out before we listen? International youth perspectives and climate change education.” Educational Review, Special Issue: Youth Activism, Climate Change, and Education (2021)

Gwendolyn Blue and Debra J. Davidson, (2020) “Advancing a transformative social contract for the environmental sciences: From public engagement to justice.” Environmental Research Letters 15(11) 5008.

Debra J. Davidson, (2020) “Speech is silver, silence is gold in the fracking zone.” The Cambridge Handbook of Environmental Sociology, Vol. 2, Legun, Katherine, Keller, Julie, Carolan, Michael and Bell, Michael (Eds.), Cambridge University Press.

Emilie Zentner, Maik Kecinski, Angeline Letourneau and Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “Ignoring Indigenous peoples—climate change, oil development, and Indigenous rights clash in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.” Climatic Change 155(4): 533-544.

Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “Exnovating for a renewable energy transition.” Nature Energy 4 (April): 254-256.

Debra J. Davidson, Curtis Rollins, Lianne Lefsrud, Sven Anders, Andreas Hamann, (2019) “Just don’t call it climate change: Climate-skeptic farmer adoption of climate mitigative practices.” Environmental Research Letters 14(3): 034015.

Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “Emotion, reflexivity and social change in the era of extreme fossil fuels.” British Journal of Sociology 70(2): 442-462.

Debra J. Davidson, (2019) “The Effort Factor: An adjustment to our understanding of social-ecological metabolism in the era of Peak Oil.” Social Problems 66(1): 69–85.

Debra J. Davidson, Anthony Fisher and Gwendolyn Blue, (2019) “Missed opportunities: The absence of climate change in media coverage of forest fire events in Alberta.” Climatic Change 153(1): 165-179.

Debra J. Davidson, (2018) “Rethinking adaptation: Emotions, evolution, and climate change.” Nature and Culture 13(3): 378-402.

Debra J. Davidson, Edwin Edou, and Barry Robinson, (2018) “Chipping away at democracy: Legislative slippage in Alberta’s energy development zone.” Energy Research and Social Science 46: 303-310.

Debra J. Davidson and Richard C. Stedman, (2018) “Calling forth the change-makers: Reflexivity theory and climate change attitudes and behaviors.” Acta Sociologica 61(1): 79-94.

Debra J. Davidson, (2017) “Evaluating the Effects of Living with Contamination from the Lens of Trauma: A case study of fracking development in Alberta, Canada.” Environmental Sociology 4(2): 196-209.

Debra J. Davidson, (2016) “Gaps in agricultural climate adaptation research.” Nature Climate Change 6: 433-435.

Debra J. Davidson, Jeffrey Andrews and Daniel Pauly, (2014) “The effort factor: Evaluating the increasing marginal impact of resource extraction over time.” Global Environmental Change 25: 63-68.

Debra J. Davidson, (2014) “Marriage on the Rocks: Sociology’s Counsel of our Struggling Energy-Society Relationships” Chapter 10 in The Routledge International Handbook of Social and Environmental Change, Dana Fisher, Stewart Lockie and David Sonnenfeld (eds.).

Debra J. Davidson and Jeffrey Andrews (2013) “Not all about consumption.” Science, 339, 15 March: 1286-1287.

Debra J. Davidson, 2012. “Analyzing Social Responses to Climate Change through the Lens of Reflexivity: An In-Depth Look at ‘Climate Change Meta-Reflexives.’” British Journal of Sociology, 63(4): 616-640.


Davidson, Debra J. and Matthias Gross (Editors). 2018. Oxford Handbook of Energy and Society. Oxford University Press.

Magnus Bostrom and Davidson, Debra J. (Editors). 2018. Environment and Society: Concepts and Challenges. Palgrave-MacMillan

Davidson, Debra J. and Michael Gismondi. 2011. Challenging Legitimacy at the Precipice of Energy Calamity. New York: Springer.

Media Coverage

Laurie Adkin and Debra Davidson, March 25, 2020. ‘265 academics to Trudeau: No bail out for oil and gas in response to COVID-19.’ Opinion, National Observer.

Davidson interviewed regarding environmental regulations by Jordan Ormstead, May 22, 2020. ‘Alberta regulator’s move to suspend oilpatch monitoring sets dangerous precedent, critics say

Davidson’s position on subsidization discussed in Conley, Julia, March 23, 2020, “Green Group Urges Nationalization of Oil and Gas Industry Amid Coronavirus Outbreak and Economic Upheaval

As Lead Author of Canada National Climate Assessment, Davidson interviewed by Kevin Ma, Dec 18, 2020, “More fire and floods, but fewer trees.”

Davidson interviewed regarding farmers and climate change research by Sharon J. Riley, Dec. 3, 2019. “Another ‘harvest from hell’: Canada’s farmers forced to acclimatize to weird weather.’ The Narwhal.

As Lead Author of IPCC AR5, Davidson interviewed about report by Weber, Bob, March 31, 2014, “Canada not immune to global warming impact: report.”