Portrait Photograph of Paul Robbins

Paul Robbins


Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies

Paul Robbins, a native of Denver Colorado and UW–Madison alumnus, holds a bachelor’s degree in anthropology, along with a master’s degree and doctorate in geography, both from Clark University. As director of the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies, he oversees the institute’s mission of serving as a world leader in addressing environmental change. His research spans locations from rural India to suburban America, where he studies human interactions with nature and the politics of natural resource management. His writings include the bestselling text “Political Ecology” and the book: “Lawn People: How grasses, weeds and chemicals make us who we are.” He teaches a range of topics from environmental studies and natural resource policy and politics.


  • Surveys the critical status of current environmental change, while pointing to interesting opportunities and reasons for cautious optimism.

    Approximate Length of Talk: 20 – 45 minutes

  • This talk shows how wildlife often thrives in India in densely populated and fully humanized environments, with implications for the future of conservation around the world.

    Approximate Length of Talk: 20 – 45 minutes

  • This talk shows how threats to human health are changing owing to new mosquito habitats, even in the urban United states, while stressing the limits of our current system for governing mosquitoes and other disease vectors.

    Approximate Length of Talk: 20 – 45 minutes

  • Reviews a national study that shows many counter-intuitive results about who uses lawn chemicals and why.

    Approximate Length of Talk: 20 – 45 minutes