Sarah Ray

Department Chair and Professor

Ph.D., University of Oregon, 2009, Environmental Sciences, Studies, and Policy
MA, UT-Austin, 2003, American Studies
BA, Swarthmore College, 1998, Religious Studies and Women's Studies

Sarah Jaquette Ray is chair of the Environmental Studies Department. She came to Cal Poly Humboldt after working for four years at University of Alaska Southeast in Juneau, where she led the Geography and Environmental Studies BA program and was a professor of English. 

Dr. Ray's areas of interest are environmental justice, environmental humanities, and bridging disability, critical race theory, and social justice with interdisciplinary environmental studies. Ray's first book, The Ecological Other: Environmental Exclusion in American Culture (Arizona, 2013) explored the phenomenon of green hate in U.S. history, and its legacy of ableism, xenophobia, and eco-fascism in mainstream ecological thought. She is co-editor of three volumes: the award-winning Latinx Environmentalisms: Justice, Place, and the DecolonialDisability Studies and the Environmental Humanities: Toward an Eco-Crip Theory, and Critical Norths: Space, Nature, Theory

Her current work is on the role of emotions, mindsets, and collective wisdom in climate justice activism, especially among younger generations. This shift in focus was motivated by the despair she started observing in her students about a decade ago. Focusing on the role of emotions in climate justice advocacy, Ray now teaches, researches, writes, and facilitates workshops and mindfulness courses on the interplay of inner resilience and collective action. Her book on this topic, A Field Guide to Climate Anxiety: How to Keep Your Cool on a Warming Planet (California, 2020), was written to serve as an existential toolkit for the climate generation. Training this focus on students' emotional engagement with climate justice, Ray turned her attention to considering how climate education can better meet students' distress and passions about climate injustice. This work has resulted in an international network of educators that crowdsourced an open-access database of "existential tools", and another co-edited volume, both called An Existential Toolkit for Climate Justice Educators (2024). 

Ray's writing on emotions and climate justice activism has been published in the LA TimesScientific AmericanThe Cairo Review of Global Affairs, Edge EffectsKCET, and Zocalo Public Square. She consults extensively on the topic of climate anxiety for news outlets, podcasts, and organizations. She offers a professional development workshop to help center emotions in climate work, called the Climate Wisdom Lab, and teaches a mindfulness course on cultivating a climate mind.


Environmental and climate justice, environmental humanities, bridging disability, critical race theory, and social justice with interdisciplinary environmental studies, and the role of emotions, mindsets, and inner transformation in service of climate justice, especially among youth.

Courses Taught: 
ENST 120: Introduction to Environmental Studies
ENST 295: Power/Privilege and the Environment
ENST 395: Research and Analysis in Environmental Studies
ENST 490: Environmental Studies Capstone
Sarah Ray
(707) 826-3915
FH 107