Skip to main content

Fulbright Canada Research Chair advances regional climate action

January 09, 2024

Fulbright Scholar Brent Steel stands in a forest with his dog in front

Brent Steel has set the bar high. UVic’s inaugural Fulbright Canada Research Chair wanted, during his four-month position at UVic, to continue and expand his research to support the 2016 Pacific Coast Climate Leadership Action Plan signed by British Columbia, California, Washington, and Oregon.

To help address the increasing and dramatic effects of climate change on the west coast, his research aims to support local, provincial and state governments as they collaborate to cut greenhouse emissions, develop renewable energy sources and develop sustainable regional economic trade. 

He sent surveys to 136 local governments in BC, 226 in Oregon and 324 in Washington State. As well, he met with more than 20 BC local government officials.

By the time Steel left Victoria for his home in Oregon, he had received and processed the responses and had already presented at two conferences and was preparing a third paper for a meeting scheduled for March 2024 in Vancouver, BC. He’s developing a chapter with a UVic faculty member for inclusion in his 3rd edition book State and Local Government: Sustainability in the 21st Century. A journal article with UVic co-authors is in the works, with more in the planning stage. And finally, a PhD student at Oregon State University (Steel’s home institution) is using the research project for her dissertation; a UVic faculty member is on her committee. Then there were Steel’s on-campus talks at the Institute for Integrated Energy Systems and the Department of Political Science, and a spring 2024 presentation for the Local Governance Hub in the School of Public Administration. He not only presented across campus, he also attended seminars hosted by diverse units on topics ranging from best practices of Canadian city managers to Project Drawdown, on cutting greenhouse gases.

“I have made many new contacts and friends both on campus and off campus and shared experiences and perspectives on a variety of topics including my research project, but also national cultures, sports, nature, politics, etc,” Steel says. 

“One of the highlights of my residence at the University of Victoria and Vancouver Island is that I was able to visit many remote rural communities and wildland areas both on the island and mainland. I professionally benefitted from these excursions by learning the opportunities and barriers for how local rural governments respond or do not respond to social, economic, and climate change. This information helps to inform the survey results.

“From the Fulbright Canada Orientation in Ottawa to my many interactions and collaborations across the campus of the University of Victoria,” Steel concludes, “this was a wonderful fulfilling experience.”


Rachel Goldsworthy

SDG: 13 Climate action