Statement of purpose:
My name is Tira Beckham and I am a first year Master’s Student earning my MS in Natural Resources with a concentration in Natural Resource Policy and Administration. I became interested in this field after working as an environmental specialist for both state and local governments. Specifically, I would like to further study environmental justice and equity in the face of a changing climate. I have seen firsthand how urgent the task of climate change adaptation is for both ecosystems and communities and I plan to make it my responsibility to support those who face the greatest risk from environmental hazards.
Description of research:
I am especially interested in the urban-rural divide and the disproportionate impact of climate change on low-income and rural communities. My research objective is to create and test an equitable governance framework in order to identify barriers to, and provide strategies for, equitable access to climate adaptation in rural and low-income communities. I will work to answer the following research question: What are the barriers to equitable climate adaptation in rural communities and what changes in policy and governance are needed to address them? By strategically addressing the root issues which cause a lack of adaptive capacity, through an equitable governance process, local decision makers will be able to design more equitable policies and programs that can address the environmental, economic, and social concerns facing rural regions. The end goal of this research would be to deliver a strategic framework that would help local and state decision makers overcome the barriers to climate adaptation in low income and rural communities prone to regional climate hazards and impacts. An equitable governance framework will address barriers to resiliency, build regional capacity, improve communication between government agencies and local communities, and will restore trust between governments and the communities they serve in the face of a changing climate.