Dr. Vivian E. Thomson

Dr. Vivian E. Thomson
University of Virginia
Associate Professor, Department of Environmental Sciences, Department of Politics, Director, Environmental Thought and Practice
Charlottesville, VA

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Washington Post, American Public Media's Marketplace, WAMU (American University), WLRN (Miami), WINA (Charlottesville), Print, Radio, Online
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Dr. Vivian E. Thomson is Associate Professor in the Departments of Environmental Sciences and Politics at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Thomson is an environmental policy expert with 30 years of practical and academic experience at the local,…

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Full Biography

Dr. Vivian E. Thomson is Associate Professor in the Departments of Environmental Sciences and Politics at the University of Virginia.  Dr. Thomson is an environmental policy expert with 30 years of practical and academic experience at the local, state, national, and international levels:

Vice Chair and Member of the Virginia State Air Pollution Control Board (appointed by Governors Mark Warner and Tim Kaine), 2002-2010.  The Board adopts regulations and sets air pollution policy for the Commonwealth of Virginia.

Author of Garbage In, Garbage Out: Solving the Problems with Long-Distance Trash Transport (University of Virginia Press, 2009), Finalist in the 2010 Southern Environmental Law Center’s Phillip D. Reed writing competition.  Reviewers hailed it as an “outstanding book,” “original. . .a substantial contribution to the field of environmental policy,” “a rich source of information,” and “welcome and important.” 

Radio interviews:  American Public Media's Marketplace (broadcast nationally), WLRN Miami, WINA Charlottesville.

Expert Reviewer, Working Group III, United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Publications in law, environmental management, politics, botany, air pollution, atmospheric science, and ethics journals.  

Director of U. Va.’s interdisciplinary B. A. program, Environmental Thought and Practice, whose graduates have become leaders in the private and public sectors.

Director of U. Va.’s Panama Initiative, a research and teaching collaboration that involves natural scientists, social scientists, medical practitioners, engineers, and business experts at U. Va. and in Panama. 

Guest Scholar, Pew Center on Global Climate Change (2005), where she researched and wrote about the first phase of the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme.

Distinguished Fulbright Professor of American Studies, Odense, Denmark (2001-02).

Senior air pollution analyst and manager, U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (1982-93), where she supervised junior staff, advised top appointees on Clean Air Act policies, conducted briefings, undertook analyses, crafted legislative language, developed regulations, and went “on loan” to the University of Virginia under the Intergovernmental Personnel Act.

Dr. Thomson teaches classes at U. Va. on domestic and international environmental policy issues such as air pollution, acid rain, climate change, dams, endangered species protection, radioactive waste, urban sprawl, trash, energy consumption, and environmental justice.    Current book projects involve state-national relations in climate change in the U. S., Brazil, and Germany, a first-person look at her eight years on the Virginia Air Pollution Control Board, and an edited volume with the working title Authentic Progress on Panama’s Caribbean Frontier.  Her language skills include German and Spanish, and she is learning Portuguese.   She is a graduate of Princeton University (A. B., Biology), the University of California at Santa Barbara (M. A., Biology), and the University of Virginia (Ph.D., Government).

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