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Jola AjibadeAssociate Professor


  • BA, Obafemi Awolowo University
  • MA, University for Peace
  • Ph.D., Western University, Canada


I am an environmental and human geographer who applies both environmental justice and political ecology lenses to study the intersections of climate risk, urban disasters and uneven resilience, climate migration, energy transitions, and societal transformations. My current research examines climate resilience and adaptation solutions such as managed retreat programs, future cities, tree planting, floating climatopias, blue-green infrastructures, water consolidation schemes, and renewable energy projects. I pay particular attention to how some of these solutions intertwine with exclusionary policies, laws, and planning practices to reproduce structural and historical injustices, thereby creating new risks and exacerbating existing racial, gender, and class-based inequalities. In my scholarship, I advance cutting-edge ideas on equitable and just forms of adaptation. I do this by incorporating feminist, decolonial, and antiracist approaches and emphasizing care ethics that can lead to more just, livable, and sustainable futures. My work also promotes partnerships with social entrepreneurs, grassroots coalitions, cooperatives, and small businesses in promoting a shareable economy, sustainable lifestyle changes, low-carbon development, and socially just resilience planning in cities. 

My research program fits in with other political ecology work that examines the hegemony of market solutions to climate change and narrow interpretations of sustainability. I consider the concept of climate change, sustainability, and resilience (where justice is silenced) to be an oppressive force hiding the historical connections of the carbon economy to colonialism, uncontrolled capitalism, and the unfettered commodification of nature. In my work, I reject conventional and post-politics environmentalism, which gives unbridled power to government and scientific experts or allows big corporations to dispossess impoverished populations under the guise of sustainability planning and climate change adaptation and mitigation. Many of my projects examine how the (re)production of urban spaces has deep roots in neoliberal metabolic processes, unequal power relations, and socio-spatial dynamics that lead to environmentally degrading outcomes, uneven socio-ecological development, and the perpetuation of winners and losers. Throughout my scholarly work, I emphasize the importance of striving for just transformations in the face of a changing climate. This involves advocating for disruptive and positive shifts in human behavior, land use patterns, housing, tree distribution, water security, energy use, and disaster management.

My current research projects are funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR). I have won several awards including the 2021 Outstanding Researcher Award for the Earth Sciences, Columbia-Willamette Chapter of Sigma Xi. Excellence in Sustainability Research Award, Institute for Sustainability Solutions. The Distinguished Feminist Award, Human Rights Fellow Award, and United Nations University Fellowship Award, among others. I also received an NSF-Enabling fellowship - dedicated to Enabling the Next Generation of Hazards and Disaster Researchers. 

If you are interested in learning more about my research projects or joining my lab (Climate Resilience and Transformations Lab), please send an email to: Prospective postdoctoral researchers, graduate students, and undergraduates from all academic, racial, social, cultural, gender, and economic backgrounds are welcome.