Justin Alger is a global environmental politics scholar, an instructor in the Department of Political Science, and the Academic Director of The Phil Lind Initiative at the University of British Columbia.
His work examines the political economy of environmental problems and their solutions, with a focus on business influence. He is the author of Conserving the Oceans: The Politics of Large Marine Protected Areas (Oxford University Press, 2021) and the co-editor of A Research Agenda for Global Environmental Politics (Edward Elgar Press, 2018). His research has been published in various journals, including Environmental Communication, Environmental Policy and Governance, Global Governance, and Pacific Affairs.
He holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of British Columbia.
With a focus on the politics of biodiversity protection and ocean conservation, the goal of my research is to explore the political economy of the most pressing environmental problems and their solutions.
My latest book, Conserving the Oceans: The Politics of Large Marine Protected Areas (2021), documents the efforts of activists and states to increase the pace and scale of marine protections, leading to a paradigm shift in how states conserve marine biodiversity. Through a domestic political economy analysis, the book explains how states have protected millions of square kilometers of ocean space while remaining highly responsive to the interests of businesses. From the commercial fishing sector to ecotourism, businesses heavily influence conservation policy, occasionally leading to robust protections but more often than not to business-as-usual activity on the water. Despite some important progress and growing ambition to conserve ecosystems, the book concludes that we are ultimately still doing too little to prevent the worst impacts of the escalating environmental crisis.
In a world in which sustainability is secondary to economic growth and development, research exploring the power and influence of economic actors is essential if we want a more equitable, healthier, livable planet. My commitment as a scholar is to promoting those goals, which will require nothing short of a new vision for how we protect our planet.
2021 Conserving the Oceans: The Politics of Large Marine Protected Areas. New York: Oxford University Press.
2018 A Research Agenda for Global Environmental Politics (editor). Northampton: Edward Elgar Publishing. With Peter Dauvergne.
2021 “Corporate Governance and the Environmental Politics of Shipping.” Global Governance. 27: 144–166. (Lead Author. With Jane Lister and Peter Dauvergne.)
2020 “The Translocal Politics of Environmental Norm Diffusion.” Environmental Communication 14 (2): 155–167. (Lead Author. With Peter Dauvergne.)
2017 “The Global Norm of Large Marine Protected Areas: Explaining Variable Adoption and Implementation.” Environmental Policy and Governance 27 (4): 298-310. (Lead Author. With Peter Dauvergne.)
2017 “The Politics of Pacific Ocean Conservation: Lessons from the Pitcairn Islands Marine Reserve.” Pacific Affairs 90 (1): 29-50. (Lead Author. With Peter Dauvergne.)