Born in Wyoming, Yale professor Justin Farrell is a son of the West. As a child, he accompanied his mother when she cleaned houses for the wealthy, spent summers camping and fishing in Yellowstone Park, and listened to his elders complain about environmentalists, whom they blamed for regulations being imposed on longtime residents, and how the region was changing due to the influx of outsiders.
But he never imagined these experiences could lead to an academic career studying the influence of money on the environment. “I didn’t really realize it was an area of study until I got to graduate school, and I started in this PhD program at Notre Dame. I just followed my own interest,” he says. “It was baked into my family.”
After receiving a master’s degree in the sociology of religion from Princeton in 2006, Farrell began his PhD research on the money behind climate change denial, which has become a field of academic pursuit at several universities.
“Thinking about power relations relative to the coal industry in Wyoming got me thinking more about climate change, and how corporate power works, and how manipulation of the public works,” he says. “That’s what led me to some of the climate denial research that I’ve been doing.”
Please read my Worth interview with Justin here: