Thursday, May 11, 2023
Headshot of Samanth Zuhlke

Samantha Zuhlke will participate in the Civil Society and Sustainability Conference to be hosted by the Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society at Stanford University in late May, based on her designation as a “cutting-edge scholar.” She will be part of a workshop panel on the emerging theme of “Environmental Nonprofits and the State: Local Referenda, Federal Judiciary, and Fiscal Politics.”

Sam, Assistant Professor in SPPA, will present the paper, “Strike While the Iron is Hot: Land Trusts, Temperature Anomalies, and Agenda Setting for Local Open Space Referenda.” She will discuss the role nonprofits, specifically land trusts, play in local policy related to climate change, proposing they are uniquely positioned to facilitate policy development at the local level. This paper is co-authored with Juniper Katz (Assistant Professor, University of Massachusetts Amherst), and current SPPA urban planning masters student, Emani Brinkman.

Studies have shown that hotter-than-average temperatures increase the probability that climate change measures make it onto the political agenda. At the local level, land trusts may take advantage of the policy window created by hotter-than-average temperatures and place conservation measures onto local political agendas. The paper finds evidence that land trusts act as local policy entrepreneurs to advance climate change policy, and builds upon foundational theories of public affairs that SPPA students learn about in the UI MPA program.

The conference is co-sponsored by Stanford’s Center on Philanthropy and Civil Society (PACS), the Doerr School of Sustainability, and the Graduate School of Business as part of the Stanford Initiative on Business and Environmental Sustainability conference series.