Thomas Dietz is a professor of Sociology and Environmental Science and Policy (ESPP). He holds a Ph.D. in ecology from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelor of general studies from Kent State University. At MSU he was founding director of the Environmental Science and Policy Program and associate dean in the colleges of Social Science, Agriculture and Natural Resources and Natural Science, assistant vice president for environmental research at Michigan State University.
At the National Research Council he has served on many panels including as chair of the U.S. National Research Council Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change, the Panel on Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making, and as vice chair of the Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change of the America’s Climate Choices study.
Dietz is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and has been awarded the Sustainability Science Award of the Ecological Society of America, the Distinguished Contribution Award of the American Sociological Association Section on Environment, Technology and Society, and the Outstanding Publication Award, also from the American Sociological Association Section onTom Dietz 2014 Environment, Technology and Society and the Gerald R. Young Book Award from the Society for Human Ecology. At the National Research Council he has served as chair of the U.S. National Research Council Committee on Human Dimensions of Global Change and the Panel on Public Participation in Environmental Assessment and Decision Making, and currently is vice chair of the Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change of the America’s Climate Choices study.
Dietz has also served as secretary of Section K (Social, Economic, and Political Sciences) of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and is the former president of the Society for Human Ecology. He has co-authored or co-edited eleven books and more than 100 papers and book chapters. His current research examines the human driving forces of environmental change, environmental values and the interplay between science and democracy in environmental issues. Dietz is an active participant in the Animal Studies Program at MSU.
Areas of Expertise (4)
Human Driving Forces of Environmental Change
Member, U.S. National Academies Committee to Advise the U.S. Global Change Research Program (professional)
Principal Author, Chapter on Drivers, United Nations Environment Programme Global Environmental Outlook (professional)
Member, External Advisory Board, School of Global Environmental Sustainability, Colorado State University (professional)
2010 - Present
University of California: Ph.D., Ecology 1979
Kent State University: B.A., General Studies 1972
Journal Articles (3)
Turking Statistics: Student-generated Surveys Increase Student Engagement and PerformanceTeaching Sociology
Cameron T Whitley, Thomas Dietz
2018 Thirty years ago, Hubert M. Blalock Jr. published an article in Teaching Sociology about the importance of teaching statistics. We honor Blalock's legacy by assessing how using Amazon Mechanical Turk (MTurk) in statistics classes can enhance student learning and increase statistical literacy among social science gradaute students. In addition, we assess whether using MTurk has an impact on student ability to make professional progress...
Changes in Human Well-being and Rural Livelihoods Under Natural DisastersEcological Economics
Hongbo Yang, Thomas Dietz, Wu Yang, Jindong Zhang, Jianguo Liu
2018 Rural areas around the world are increasingly exposed to natural disasters. To guide management intervention for sustainable development after natural disasters, scientists and policymakers need a better understanding of the linkages between livelihood changes after natural disasters and recovery outcomes. Despite the growing body of disaster research, systematic evaluation of the relationship between post-disaster changes in rural livelihoods and recovery outcomes is rare, largely due to the lack of relevant data...
What Drives Energy Consumers?: Engaging People in a Sustainable Energy TransitionIEEE Power and Energy Magazine
Linda Steg, Rachel Shwom, Thomas Dietz
2018 Providing clean, safe, reliable, and affordable energy for people everywhere will require converting to an energy system in which the use of fossil fuels is minimal. A sustainable energy transition means substantial changes in technology and the engagement of the engineering community. But it will also mean changes in behavior and policies and, thus, will require the engagement of the social science community...