Hello and welcome! IMG_1492

I am a sociologist and Associate Professor of Environmental Studies at College of Saint Benedict & Saint John’s University (CSB and SJU), which occupy traditional homelands of the Dakota and Anishinaabe. I use she/her pronouns and specialize in climate and environmental justice, social movements, sustainable development, gender and social inequalities, and qualitative research methods. My ancestors are from lands that share geography with Ireland, Scotland, and other areas of Europe. I hold a Ph.D. in Sociology with an Interdepartmental Emphasis in Environment and Society from the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB).

I teach Energy and SocietyGender & EnvironmentGlobal Climate Policy (where I take students to the COP (United Nations climate negotiations) each year!), climate justice activism, and climate crisis solutions.

Current Research

My latest research

In 2023, I conducted a review of previous research on Native-led renewable energy: “Does Renewable Electricity Promote Indigenous Sovereignty? Reviewing Support, Barriers, and Recommendations For Solar and Wind Energy Development on Native Lands in The United States.”

My current work builds on my previous efforts to understand how Native and non-Native communities and organizations in Minnesota worked together to resist the Line 3 tar sands pipeline and build Native-led renewable energy: “Resistance to Petro-hegemony: A Three Terrains of Power Analysis of the Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline in Minnesota.”


In Working Across Lines: Resisting Extreme Energy Extraction (2022) (read a sample here), I investigate how people build effective energy justice coalitions across differences in political views, race and ethnicity, age, and strategic preferences. I argue for four practices that are critical for movement building: focusing on core values of justice, accountability, and integrity; identifying the roots of injustice; cultivating relationships among activists; and welcoming difference. The book provides important models for bridging divides to reach common goals — lessons that are more relevant than ever in our polarized world! Parts of the research that my book is based on also appear in Social Science (2019), Case Studies in the Environment (2017), Practicing Anthropology (2016), and Welcome to the Revolution: Universalizing Resistance for Social Justice and Democracy in Perilous Times (2017).

The bulk of my work uses feminist research methodologies to address the questions: How are communities uniting to change our energy future? How can the climate justice movement create an inclusive, vibrant, and broad-based movement capable of meeting the challenge of the climate crisis?

Please see my research project page for more information.

Youth Climate Justice Activism

Colleagues and I have also studied youth climate justice activists’ perspectives on organizing at the UN climate summits in Poland (COP 19), published in Interface (2017) and as a free ebook, in Spain (COP 25), published in the Journal of Human Rights and the Environment (2020), and over the decade from 2013-2022: “A Song in a Cold Place: The Role of Emotions in Motivating Youth Activism and Advancing Justice at the COP” (2023) (PDF).

Awards and Joys

I strive to be a publicly engaged scholar activist, engaging myself and students in solidarity work with community organizations and efforts to create accessible writing. Raised in Driggs, Idaho, I love being outside and working to ensure that all people enjoy a healthy and beautiful environment now, and in the future. I enjoy running with my dogs, playing bandy ball on frozen lakes, and good food with friends and family.

To get in touch,  please email me: cgrosse001 at csbsju.edu