Ms Elizabeth Boulton



MEnviron (Climate Policy) – University of Melbourne (2007)


Elizabeth is completing a PhD at the Fenner School of Environment and society at the Australian National University, Canberra. Her research considers the issue of how ‘climate and environment change’ is framed. It seeks to apply humanities based approaches to the task of meaning making and conceptualisation of the problem, with a focus upon risk and security dimensions.

Her professional background is almost equally divided between work in emergency logistics (as an Australian Army Officer and with NGOs in Africa) and in the climate science and policy sector. Here she worked as a consultant on sustainable logistics; and in stakeholder engagement, liaison and project management roles with CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology. This was mostly in their ‘Pacific Climate Change Science Program’ and the National Climate Centre.


Research interests

Thesis title

Interdisciplinary approaches to framing climate and environmental risk

Thesis description

The way in which a problem is framed has conceptual and practical implications. At the conceptual level, cognitive science informs us that human’s ability to perceive problems is limited by our ‘deep frames’ - that is – our worldviews which are effectively hard-wired into our brains through neuron pathways developed over a lifetime. At a practical level, framing also influences which methods and disciplines are marshalled to solve discrete aspects of the problem.

While Climate Change is often described as a ‘Wicked Problem’, it increasingly emerges that it has not been addressed as a ‘Wicked Problem’ but rather, when it comes to research funding and institutional structures, it has been approach using scientific and economic heavy problem solving methods, inadvertently framing the problem as a type of ‘techno-management issue’. This research project draws upon a variety of Humanities based approaches to explore what other framings might offer to the task of developing an effective response to risks associated with climate and environmental change.



Boulton, E. G. (2017). Teaming: An introduction to gender studies, unshackling human talent and optimising military capability for the coming Era of Equality: 2020 to 2050. Canberra, Australia, Australian Army.

Boulton, E. (2016) "How Climate Scientists Cut Through a Political log-jam of Gigantic Proportions” The Interpreter Blog; Lowy Institute. (

Boulton, E. (2016). "Climate change as a ‘hyperobject’: a critical review of Timothy Morton's reframing narrative." Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change

Boulton, E. (2016) "It’s time for a new age of Enlightenment: why climate change needs 60,000 artists to tell its story." The Conversation. 8th June 2016

Boulton, E., A. Watkins and D. Perry (2012). “A user-centred design approach to the Seasonal Climate Outlook.” Climate Exchange. World Meteorological Organization, F. Lúcio and T. Avellán. U.K., Tudor Rose: 232-235.

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