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Idaho State University

Political Science Professor Speaks at Phi Kappa Phi’s Fall Lecture

Political Science Professor Speaks at Phi Kappa Phi’s Fall Lecture


Honor society Phi Kappa Phi hosted a talk by political science chair Donna Lybecker at its 2018 fall lecture.

The lecture, titled “Are people willing to pay or willing to do? Sustainability in Ireland and the U.S.,” was held on Oct. 17.

“It was wonderful to see the wide range of people attending Dr. Donna L. Lybecker’s lecture from students, faculty from six colleges, the administration and the community,” said Phi Kappa Phi president Rudy Kovacs. “In doing research work, Donna talked about listening to your heart and following the loudest beat.”

In the talk, Lybecker discussed her recent research project comparing attitudes about sustainability in Ireland and the Pacific Northwest. She and colleagues compared the two regions because of shared conditions such as demographics, growing populations, drought conditions and increasing consumption.

The majority of respondents in both regions expressed concern for the environment and beliefs that their personal behavior can bring about positive environmental change. Results demonstrated that most individuals were willing to sacrifice some personal comforts to save energy, but less were willing to pay more for sustainable goods, and even less supported higher taxes.

The study demonstrates that decision-makers should take public attitudes toward sustainability into account, Lybecker said.

“Policy makers have to, first, talk with the citizens and get input rather than just making the call,” she said. “Second, if there are going to be changes, things need to be both economical and fairly easy.”

Lybecker’s research focuses and teaching cover the areas of environmental politics and international relations, with an emphasis on political narrative, border studies and sustainability.

Her current research looks at work on ecosystem services focusing on the political and ecological links between the environment and people; public stakeholders’ values, perceptions, and uses of resources; and the effects of policy narrative on perception and policy development surrounding international borders.

Phi Kappa Phi is the nation’s oldest, most selective and most prestigious all-discipline honor society. Membership is by invitation only to ISU’s top 7.5 percent of second-term juniors and the top 10 percent of seniors and graduate students from each college.