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Inside the Greenhouse


Jessica RichJessica Rich
Center for Science and Technology Policy Research
Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences




Jessica studies the relationships between labor and the natural environment in conflicts over oil and gas drilling in the United States.

The maintenance of labor-versus-environment discourses historically suppresses worker resistance and endangers ecological spaces. Jessica analyzes the implications of environmental conflict discourses for professional identities, how extraction workers negotiate meanings of nature, and how nature itself shapes human action. Along with her academic work, Jessica’s professional experience includes a decade of non-profit organizing in the areas of workforce development and community advocacy. Her publications can be found in Environmental Communication and Ephemera: Theory & Politics in Organization.

Jessica earned her doctorate in 2016 from the Department of Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

During her post-doctoral appointment with CSTPR, Jessica will continue her research as it relates to work and labor issues in unconventional drilling, with a particular focus on the industry’s effects in Colorado communities.

With the state’s history of oil and gas drilling and citizen activism, the region is a rich site for developing engaged research that examines the impact of extraction industries on local identities and community responses.

In addition, Jessica is interested in pursuing external funding to support projects that investigate how work and labor are evolving in light of global environmental change and organizations’ development of just transitions for workers in a green economy.

She is excited to collaborate with researchers across CU who are studying issues related to environmental justice, labor, and energy, as well as fostering connections with labor and environmental organizations in communities surrounding Boulder.