Back to top

Paul Wapner Prof Emeritus School of International Service

Additional Positions at AU
PhD, MA, Princeton University

MA, University of Chicago
BA, University of Colorado

Professor Paul Wapner’s research focuses on global environmental politics, environmental thought, transnational environmental activism, and environmental ethics. He is particularly concerned with understanding how societies can live through this historical moment of environmental intensification in ways that enhance human dignity, compassion, and justice, and come to respect and nurture the more-than-human world. He has published six books and dozens of scholarly articles in the area of Global Environmental Politics. Wapner leads workshops for professors that explore the interface between contemplative practice and environmental engagement. He has served on the board of trustees of the Lama Foundation and is currently on the board of directors of Re-volv, a group that puts solar panels on the roofs of nonprofit organizations.
For the Media
To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Scholarly, Creative & Professional Activities

Selected Publications


  • Is Wildness Over? Polity Press 2020.
  • Reimagining Climate Change, Routledge 2016 (co-editor, Hilal Elver)
  • Global Environmental Politics: From Person to Planet, Paradigm Press 2015 (co-editor, Simon Nicholson)
  • Living through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism, Cambridge, MA: MIT Press 2010.   
  • Principled World Politics: The Challenge of Normative International Relations, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield 2000 (co-editor, with Lester Ruiz).   
  • Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics, Albany: State University of New York 1996, winner of the 1997 Harold and Margaret Sprout Award for the best book in International Environmental Affairs.


  • “Planetary Disasters: Wildness and the Perennial Struggle for Control,” Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 21, no. 1, February 2021.

  • “Thresholds of Injustice: Challenging the Politics of Environmental Postponement,” in John-Andrew McNeish and Judith Shapiro, eds., Our Hyper-extractive Age: Expressions of Violence and Resistance, Routledge 2021 (forthcoming). 

  • “The Ethics of Political Research in the Anthropocene,” in Frank Biermann and Eva Lovbrand, eds, Anthropocene Encounters: New Directions in Green Political Thinking, Cambridge University Press 2019.

  • “Environmentalism and the Politics of Contemplative Inquiry,” Journal of Contemplative Inquiry, Vol. 5, no. 1, 2018.

  • "Global Civil Society," (co-authored with Anne Kantel), in Robert Durant, Daniel Fiorino, and Rosemary O'Leary, eds., Environmental Governance Reconsidered: Challenges, Choices, and Opportunities, Cambridge: MIT Press 2017.

  • "Living at the Margins," in Simon Nicholson and Sikina Jinnah, eds., Politics of the New Earth, Cambridge: MIT Press 2016.
  • "The Changing Nature of Nature: Environmental Politics in the Anthropocene," Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 14, no. 4, Spring 2014.
  • "Ethical Enhancement in a Climate Age," Ethics and International Affairs, Vol. 28, no. 3, September 2014.
  • "Climate Suffering," Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 14, no. 2, May 2014.
  • "Climate Change and Inner Peace," Peace Review: A Journal of Social Justice, Vol. 25, no. 4, Winter 2013.
  • "Environmental Sacrifice," in Carl Death, ed., Critical Environmental Politics, New York: Routledge 2013. 
  • "Humility in a Climate Age," in J. Zammit-Lucia, ed., An Orange County Almanac and Other Essays, Wolf Foundation 2013.
  • "Civil Society and the Emergent Green Economy," Review of Policy Research, Vol. 28, no. 5, September 2011.
  • "The Challenge of Planetary Bandwagoning," Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 11, no. 3, August 2011. 
  • "Sacrifice in an Age of Comfort," in Michael Maniates and John Meyer, eds., The Politics of Sacrifice, Cambridge: MIT Press 2010.   
  • "The Humanity of Global Environmental Ethics," (with Richard Matthew), Journal of Environment and Development, Vol. 18, no. 2, Spring 2009.   
  • "The Importance of Critical Environmental Studies in the New Environmentalism," Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 8, no. 1, Winter 2008.   
  • "The UN and Civil Society," in Thomas Weiss and Sam Daws, eds., The Oxford Handbook on the United Nations, New York: Oxford University Press 2007.   
  • "The Irony of Environmentalism: The Ecological Futility but Political Necessity of Lifestyle Change," (with John Willoughby) in Ethics and International Affairs Vol. 19, no. 2, Fall 2005.   
  • "After Nature: Environmental Politics in a Postmodern Age,"in Peter Dauvergne, ed., The International Handbook of Environmental Politics, Cheltenham, UK: Edward Elgar Publishing 2005.   
  • "The Moral Architecture of Global Environmental Governance," in Andreas Rechkremmer, ed., UNEO: Towards a United Nations Environmental Organization, Baden-Baden, Germany: Nomos Publishers 2005.   
  • "The Campaign to Ban Anti-Personnel Landmines and Global Civil Society," in Richard Matthew and Ken Rutherford, eds., Landmines and Human Security: International Politics and Wars Hidden Legacy, Albany: State University of New York Press 2004.   
  • "World Summit on Sustainable Development: Environmentalism in a Post-Jo-burg Era,&" Global Environmental Politics, Vol. 13, no. 1, February 2003.   
  • "New Ecology, Civility and Populations," ("Nueva Ecologia, Civilidad Y Poblaciones") in Jose Vidal Beneyto, ed., Hacia Una Sociedad Civil Global: Desde La Sociedad Mundo, Madrid: Taurus 2003 (UNESCO publication).   
  • "Ecological Thinking: Studying Global Environmental Politics with a Wild Mind and a Mindful Heart" in Michael Maniates, ed., Encountering Global Environmental Politics: Teaching, Learning and Empowering Knowledge, Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield 2003.   
  • "The Sovereignty of Nature? Environmental Protection in a Postmodern Age," International Studies Quarterly, Vol. 46, no. 2, June 2002.

AU Experts

Area of Expertise

Global environmental politics, environmental activist groups, the American environmental movement, environmental ethics, sustainability, climate change, environmental activism

Additional Information

Paul Wapner is the author of Environmental Activism and World Civic Politics (SUNY, 1996) and the editor of Principled World Politics: The Challenge of Normative International Relations (Rowman & Littlefield, 2000). His newest book is Living through the End of Nature: The Future of American Environmentalism (MIT, 2010). He researches and teaches global environmental politics, social movements, environmental thought, and international relations theory.

For the Media

To request an interview for a news story, call AU Communications at 202-885-5950 or submit a request.

Related Links