School of Social Science and Human Services (SSHS)

Faculty Profile Website: Michael Edelstein

Michael EdelsteinProfessor
Director, Institute for Environmental Studies

Year Joined RCNJ: 1974

Contact Information:

Education:

  • B.S. University of Pittsburgh, 1969
  • Ph.D. SUNY Buffalo, 1975
  • Certificate: Graduate School Professional Development Program, National Training Laboratories, 1972–3

Convening Group:

  • Environmental Studies
  • Masters in Sustainability Studies

Courses Offered:

  • Environmental Assessment
  • Sustainable Communities
  • Environmental Psychology
  • World Sustainability
  • Environmental Seminar

Teaching Interest:

  • Social Learning
  • Social Change and Sustainability

Research Interest:

  • Social Learning
  • Social Change and Sustainability
  • Psycho-Social Impacts of Contamination and other Environmental Change
  • Indigenous Peoples Impacts

Recent Publications:

  • Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.)Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Edelstein, Michael R. Contaminated Communities: Coping with Residential Toxic Exposure (Second Edition). Boulder, Co.: Westview Press/Perseus Books, 2004.
  • Michael R. Edelstein. “Sustainability and the Need to Deal with the Contaminated Legacy: A Comparison of Russia and the U.S.,” pp. 1-12 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.) Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy,Elsevier, 2007.
  • Janice Hastrup, Sherilyn N. Thomas and Michael R. Edelstein. “Fear of Cancer in a Rural Appalachian Community Following Notification of an Environmental Hazard,” pp. 93-116 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.)Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Michael R. Edelstein and Maria Tysiachniouk. “Psycho-Social Consequences Due to Radioactive Contamination in the Techa River Region of Russia,” pp. 185-204 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.) Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Michael R. Edelstein. “Hanford: The Closed City and Its Downwind Victims,” pp. 253-306 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.)Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Lyudmila V. Smirnova and Michael R. Edelstein. “A Liquidator’s Story,” pp. 361-372 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.)Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Michael R. Edelstein and Catherine McVay Hughes. “Coming Clean After 9/11: The Continuing World Trade Center Disaster,” pp. 409-446 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.) Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Michael R. Edelstein and Lyudmila V. Smirnova. “The Parable of the Lion’s Bridge: Potentials for Mutual Learning Between Cultures of Contamination,” pp. 465-492 in Edelstein, Michael R., Maria Tysiachniouk, Ph.D. and Lyudmila V. Smirnova, Ph.D. (Eds.)Cultures of Contamination: Legacies of Pollution in Russia and the U.S. Vol. 14 of Research in Social Problems and Public Policy, Elsevier, 2007.
  • Michael R. Edelstein, “The Realities of Sustainable Practice,” pp. 297-310 in Trent Schroyer and Thomas Golodik (Eds.). Creating a Sustainable World: Past Experiences/ Future Struggles. N.Y.: Apex Press. 2006.
  • Michael R. Edelstein, “Terrorism as a Contaminating Disaster.” Ecopedagogika (Sholokhow Moscow State Open Pedagogical University, Moscow), No. 3 2005, pp. 45-52.
  • Michael R. Edelstein, “Sustaining Sustainability,” pp. 271-292 in Geoff Chase and Peggy Barlett (Eds.), Strategies for Sustainability: Stories from the Ivory Tower. Boston: MIT Press. 2004.
  • Michael R. Edelstein, “Weight and Weightlessness: Professional versus Paradigmatic Issues in Weighing the Psycho-Social Impacts of Proposed Environmentally Hazardous Facilities in the Administrative Law Process.” In Rabel Burdge (Ed.), The Practice of Social Impact Assessment: Special Issue of Impact Assessment and Project Appraisal, 21(3) September, 2003, pp. 195-303.
  • Michael R. Edelstein. “Sustainable Innovation and the Siting Dilemma: Thoughts on the Stigmatization of Projects Good and Bad.” Journal of Risk Research, 6(1) 2003.
  • Michael R. Edelstein, “Contamination: the Invisible Built Environment.” In Robert Bechtel and Arza Churchman, (Eds.) The Handbook of Environmental Psychology. N.Y. : John Wiley and Sons, 2002, pp. 559-588.

Consulting and Grant Projects (selected recent):

  • Project Director, N.J. Board of Public Utilities Grant to Ramapo College, “Renewable Energy and Green Design.” 2007-2008. Institute for Environmental Studies, Ramapo College of New Jersey.
  • Project Director, Trust for Mutual Understanding Grant to Ramapo College, “Empowering Russian and American NGO’s to Address Issues of Future Sustainability.” 2002-2004. Exchange of scholars and activists addressing issues of contamination in Russia and the U.S. Led team of Americans visiting Russia in July/August 2002 and hosting visiting Russian team in November 2002. Senior editor for planned resulting volume.
  • Member of team assembled by University of Mississippi to develop guidelines for post-Katrina social science research. 2006.

Conference and Professional Presentations (selected since 2001):

  • “Integrating Sustainability into the Curriculum: The Ramapo Experience.” Presentation to the COPLAC Summer Meeting, Ashland, Oregon, June 21, 2008.
  • “A Climate for Change: The role of Environmental Psychology and Design in bringing about Eco-Social Transformation.” Four hour intensive program presented to the Environmental Design Research Association’s 39th Conference, Veracruz, Mexico, May 28, 2008.
  • “Transitioning To Sustainability in a Time of Living on Thin Ice.” Invited address. National Environmental Partnership Summit, Baltimore, Md., May 22, 2008.
  • “Sustainability as Revolution: A Framework for Campus/Community Action.” Invited opening address, conference of the Sustainable Business Institute, Fairleigh Dickinson University, Madison, NJ, May 2, 2008.
  • “Efforts to Overcome Environmental Stigma: The Case of the New Jersey Meadowlands.” Seminar presented to the Anisfield School of Business, Ramapo College of New Jersey, April 2, 2008.
  • “Creating a Sustainable Future for the Hudson Valley.” Invited lecture. Hudson Highlands Nature Museum. Cornwall-on-Hudson, October 25, 2007.
  • “Sustainable Campuses.” Invited address. Caldwell Symposium on Environmental Concerns. Caldwell University. September 30, 2007.
  • “Transforming Our Campuses into Leading Institutions for Sustainability” The COPLAC Session: Roles of Sustaining Democracy, Sustaining the Environment: The Liberal Arts Mission. American Association of Colleges & Universities, New Orleans, Louisiana, January 19, 2007.
  • “Lessons from the Pencor Masada Oxynol Facility Siting Effort in Middletown, NY.” Conference: Managing Solid Waste Sustainably. Sponsored by the New York City Bar Association. December 4, 2006.
  • “Infusing Ecological Literacy into the Curriculum: The Ramapo Model.” COPLAC Conference. Asheville, North Carolina. June 10, 2006.
  • “The Contribution of Blowback to the Psycho-Social Impacts for the Residential Community of Lower Manhattan after the World Trade Center Disaster.” Paper presented with Catherine McVay Hughes to the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Philadelphia, August 14, 2005.
  • “Policy Blowback: Lapses in Risk Communication, Precaution, Research and Response and Their Consequences for Local Community Trust in the Aftermath of the World Trade Center Disaster.” Paper presented with Catherine McVay Hughes to the Society for the Study of Social Problems, Philadelphia, August 14, 2005.
  • “Valuing Indigenous Impacts: Culture and Contamination—Environmental Pollution as Cultural Contamination.” Paper presented at the International Association for Impact Assessment,Boston,June2,2005.
  • “Teaching Environmental Impact Assessment.” Paper presented at the International Association for Impact Assessment, Boston, June 2, 2005.
  • “Sustainability Planning and Impact Assessment: An Update.” Paper presented at the International Association for Impact Assessment, Boston, May 31, 2005.
  • “Psycho-Social Impacts Among a Neglected Population: The Residential Community of Lower Manhattan after the WTC Disaster.” Paper presented with Catherine McVay Hughes. International Association of Environmental Epidemiologists, New York, August 4, 2004.
  • “Lapses in Risk Communication, Precaution, and Response and Their Consequences for Local Community Trust in the Aftermath of the World Trade Center Disaster.” Paper presented with Catherine McVay Hughes and George Thurston, International Association of Environmental Epidemiologists, New York, August 3, 2004.
  • “Cultural, Environmental and Community Impact as Psychological Impacts,” paper presented in the symposium “Environmental Pollution and Cultural Pollution: Impacts to Native Peoples Due to the Contamination of Place.” Environmental Design Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 3, 2004.
  • “Social Remediation: Adapting Humans to a Contaminated Environment.” Paper with Dr. Lyudmila Smirnova. Presented in the session “Contamination and Cleanup in Cross Cultural Perspective.” Environmental Design Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 3, 2004.
  • “Psychological Consequences as a Translation of Indigenous Cultural, Environmental and Community Impacts.” Eastern Psychological Association. Washington D.C. April 17, 2004.
  • “Program Based Study Abroad: The Environmental Studies Experience,” panel presentation for the 2003 COPLAC Conference on “Global Education and Civic Engagement,” Saturday June 21, 2003, Mahwah, New Jersey.
  • “Comparison of Russian and American Approaches to Addressing Contaminated Communities.” Address to the Summer Interdisciplinary School: “Development of Civic Initiatives in Contaminated Communities.” August 10 2002, St. Petersburg, Russia.
  • “Mobilization of Communities in Polluted Territories.” Paper presented to the conference “Paths to Success in Addressing the Problems of Pollution.” August 2 2002, Cheliabynsk, Russia.
  • “Thoughts on 9/11 and the Cultural Acceptance of Risk: Cross Cultural Considerations of Americans and Russians.” Paper co-presented with Lyudmila Smirnova to the World Congress of Sociology, July 10, 2002, Brisbane, Australia.
  • “9/11, Contamination Events, Paradigmatic Thought and The Prospects for a Sustainable Future.” Paper presented to the International Congress of Applied Psychology, July 8 2002, Singapore.
  • “Sustainability Planning and Impact Assessment.” Paper presented to the International Association of Impact Assessment. June 20, 2002, the Hague, Netherlands.
  • “Greening Phase VII: Social Design for Sustainability. Workshop for the Environmental Design Research Association Conference, paper co-presented with Nancy Mackin and Kate “Ali” Higgins, March 24, 2002, Philadelphia, Pa. Environmental Design Research Association Conference, March 23, 2002, Philadelphia, Pa.
  • “Environmental Stigma: the Social Impacts of Water Contamination” Invited address, American Water Works Association, New Jersey Section. Thursday March 21, 2002. Trump Plaza, Atlantic City, N.J.
  • “Ecological Literacy” Keynote address. Conference of the New Jersey Higher Education Partnership for Sustainability. Drew University, Madison, New Jersey, October 15, 2001.

Conference Leadership:

  • Developed, organized and ran the conference “A Climate for Change” and the event “Green Meets Green” which also included a major exposition of green products and services. November 30 and December 1, 2007. The event was funded by the New Jersey Board of Public Utilities. The focus was the sudden main streaming of green given the public acceptance of the climate crisis and the need to frame that crisis as part of the overall effort to achieve a sustainable society.
  • Environmental Justice After Katrina. Two day conference coinciding with the conference of African American Professorate and Earth Day 2006. Ramapo College of New Jersey.
  • Organized with Stephen Couch the session “Blowback and the World Trade Center Disaster.” Society for the Study of Social Problems, Philadelphia, August 14, 2005.
  • Organized the session “Environmental Pollution and Cultural Pollution: Impacts to Native Peoples Due to the Contamination of Place.”Environmental Design Association, Albuquerque, New Mexico, June 3, 2004.
  • Organized the session “Informing Environmental Decision Making: Environmental Impact Assessment in Russia and the United States” at the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action,” November 16-18, 2000. New Orleans, Lo.

Manuscript Review:

  • MIT Press, Westview Press, University of California Press, Columbia University Press, University of Arizona Press, American Psychologist, Environment and Behavior, Journal of Health Psychology, Environmental Design Research Association, Impact Assessment Bulletin, Journal of Social Psychology, Research in Social Problems, Public Policy, Social Science and Medicine, Qualitative Sociology, Sociological Inquiry, Social Science Research, Journal of Environmental Psychology, Journal of Community Psychology and for various authors.

Other:

  • President, Orange Environment, Inc.
  • Partner, The SUNergy Group
  • Expert Testimony in Toxic Tort Litigation and Administrative Hearings
  • Democratic Candidate for Orange County New York Executive 2005
More about Michael Edelstein

Michael Edelstein – An Environmental Psychologist, Michael R. Edelstein, Ph.D. (Social Psychology, SUNY Buffalo, 1975) is a sustainability theorist and practitioner. He heads the Institute for Environmental Studies at Ramapo College of New Jersey, where he has taught for 37 years. For the undergraduate program, he regularly teaches courses on Sustainable Communities, Environmental Assessment, Environmental Psychology and World Sustainability. He is also a core faculty member in the new Masters in Sustainable Studies. He has also conducted a study abroad program in Environmental Psychology in Venice, Italy.

Dr. Edelstein has frequently been called upon to give his expert opinion in toxic tort litigation and environmental administrative hearings. Recent work has been on the community impacts of oil and gas development in Alberta, Canada and environmental justice impacts from reauthorizing the Indian Point Nuclear Power Plant. He has traveled extensively to study sustainability issues, particularly in the former Soviet Union. Projects currently under application for funding involve studies of the impacts of the Central Asian Aral Sea disaster and of cultural adaptation of Swedish Saami to the Chernobyl disaster as a model for future climate adaptations.

Ramapo College of New Jersey recognizes the value of publishing on the Internet. The College does not preview, review, censor, or control the content of these pages in any way as a matter of course. This page and Web pages linked from this page are created by the authors, and do not in any way constitute official Ramapo College of New Jersey content.