Autumn Thoyre

Assistant Professor
ENVS Advisor

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Monday: 12:00-14:00


Autumn Thoyre is an Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies in the School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement. Her research, teaching, service, and work experience span climate change mitigation, energy politics, and biodiversity conservation. Prior to teaching at SF State, she taught at Colgate University as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Geography. As a Royster Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, her research at the intersection of political ecology, energy geographies, and environmental sociology focused on the politics of energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs and state Energy Efficiency Portfolio Standards and led to her completion of a Ph.D. in Geography. During her master's degree in Environmental Studies and Sustainability Science at Lund University in Sweden, she worked with colleagues from over forty countries to analyze environmental politics through interdisciplinary lenses and completed research into how social networks influence our personal environmental actions. As an undergrad at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she focused on Biodiversity and Conservation to earn a BS in Environmental Science, studied abroad in Panama with the School for International Training, and led three campus environmental and activist organizations. Previously, as Natural Areas Assistant with the North Carolina Botanical Garden, she worked in public outreach, map-making, and on-the-ground habitat conservation.  Dr. Thoyre's research, teaching, and service emphasize social justice, environmental politics, and sustainability. Her research into the politics of sustainable energy transitions focuses on energy efficiency and conservation. Using mixed methods and critical perspectives, she aims to inform both academic debates about the cultures and political economies of saving energy as well as policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in equitable ways. Emphasizing environmental justice and critical pedagogy, she has taught courses in environmental policy, environmental conservation, energy politics, water politics, reproductive politics, human geography, and research methods. She is passionate about student success, and is developing community-based projects to combine teaching and service for energy and climate justice. In her free time, you might find Dr. Thoyre reading and writing post-apocalyptic fiction, hiking, camping, canoeing, and birding.

Teaching Interests

Dr. Thoyre has taught courses in U.S. and international environmental policy, introductory environmental studies, energy justice, energy geographies, water politics, reproductive politics, and research methods. Her courses emphasize environmental justice, critical pedagogy, and project-based learning. She uses active learning to foster critical thinking and center students’ voices. Her classes have built solar energy kits and mentored K-12 students in sustainable energy through a community service learning, Solar Suitcase Project, highlighted voices often left out of energy debates through a People's Guide to Energy Project; and developed their writing skills by analyzing and proposing new policy solutions to real-life environmental challenges.

Research Interests

Dr. Thoyre's scholarship stems from a commitment to mitigating climate change, one of the most important social justice challenges and a problem centered on energy use. She analyzes the politics of sustainable energy, focusing on U.S. energy efficiency and conservation efforts. Saving energy is one of the easiest and cheapest way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and it has a great potential to reduce income inequalities. She uses mixed methods, including interviewing, participant observation, and policy analysis. Her findings show how some efforts to reduce energy use can reproduce inequalities and they illuminate ways to more equitably fight climate change.

Solar Suitcase Project

People's Guide to Energy Project


Thoyre, A. and Harrison, C. (2016) Symposium introduction: Teaching energy geographies. Journal of Geography in Higher Education 40(1): 31-38.

Thoyre, A. (2015) Energy efficiency as a resource in state portfolio standards: Lessons for more expansive policies. Energy Policy 86: 625-634. 

Thoyre, A. (2015) Constructing environmentalist identities through green neoliberal identity work. Journal of Political Ecology 22: 146-163.

Thoyre, A. (2011) Social capital as a facilitator of pro-environmental actions in the U.S.: A preliminary examination of mechanisms. Local Environment: The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability 16(1): 37-49.