Christopher McGrory Klyza

Robert ‘35 and Helen ‘38 Stafford Professor in Public Policy, Professor of Political Science and Environmental Studies, Middlebury College
Areas of Expertise:
  • Climate Change
  • Environment

Connect with Christopher

About Christopher

Klyza’s area of expertise is U.S. conservation and environmental policy. More specifically, he focuses on understanding recent environmental policy at the national level across institutions (e.g., given gridlock in Congress, how has climate change policy been advanced through executive politics, judicial politics, and the states?). He also focuses on the changing cultural and natural history in Vermont, and how these changes affect the landscape. He is on the board of directors of two local conservation organizations based in Bristol, VT: The Watershed Center and Vermont Family Forests.


Beyond Gridlock in American Environmental Policy

  • David J. Sousa



Who Controls Public Lands? Mining, Forestry, and Grazing Policies, 1870-1990 (University of North Carolina Press, 1996).
Argues that public lands policies have been fundamentally shaped by resilient ideas institutionalized at the time these policy regimes began (ca. 1872, 1900, 1934).
Wilderness Comes Home: Rewilding the Northeast (University Press of New England, 1999).
Includes a series of essays discussing opportunities for restoring and expanding wildlands throughout the northeastern United States. It features an epilogue by Bill McKibben.
"The Greening of Social Capital: An Examination of Land-Based Groups in Two Vermont Counties" (with Andrew Savage and Jonathan Isham). Rural Sociology 70, no. 1 (2005): 113-131.
Reveals that land-based groups are significantly undercounted using IRS and Secretary of State data. Argues that these groups demonstrate a significant “greening” of social capital in Vermont, and perhaps beyond.
"Beyond Gridlock: Green Drift in American Environmental Policymaking" (with David J. Sousa). Political Science Quarterly 125, no. 3 (2010): 443-463.
Argues that the combination of the “green state” (existing environmental laws, institutions, and expectations developed over time) and congressional gridlock have led environmental policy to move in the direction favored by environmentalists over the last several decades. The thesis is illustrated by brief cases on reducing mercury air pollution and altering management of the Columbia River.
American Environmental Policy: Beyond Gridlock (with David J. Sousa) (MIT Press, 2013).
Argues that despite congressional gridlock on environmental policy since 1990, policymaking has flourished on other pathways: appropriations and budget politics, executive politics, judicial politics, states, and collaboration.
The Story of Vermont: A Natural and Cultural History, 2nd Edition (with Stephen C. Trombulak) (University Press of New England, 2015).
Examines how geological, biological, and cultural forces have shaped the Vermont landscape, and, in turn, how the biological and physical landscape of Vermont has shaped the humans living there.

In the News

"Congress Should Not Give Away Our Public Lands," Christopher McGrory Klyza, Sun Sentinel, February 10, 2017.
"The Story of Vermont," Christopher McGrory Klyza (with Steve Trombulak), Interview with Bill McKibben, March 16, 2015.
"Middlebury Professors' Book Explores Vermont's Changing Landscape," Christopher McGrory Klyza (with Steve Trombulak), Interview with Zach Despart, Addison Independent, February 23, 2015.
"Vermont Edition: The Story of Vermont ," Christopher McGrory Klyza (with Steve Trombulak), Interview with Jane Lindholm, Vermont Public Radio, February 3, 2015.
Christopher McGrory Klyza quoted on Obama’s environmental interests, "Obama Veers from Bush’s Environmental Course" USA Today, March 6, 2009.
Christopher McGrory Klyza quoted on Vermont’s Green initiatives, "Vermont’s Green Front" E-The Environmental Magazine, May/June 2010.
Christopher McGrory Klyza quoted on environmentalism, "Political Environment: Earth Put on Back Burner" Burlington Free Press, September 26, 2010.
Christopher McGrory Klyza quoted on forestry, "A Centennial for Our Forests" Wilderness, 2010-2011.
"Some Questions about Burning Wood," Christopher McGrory Klyza, Rutland Herald, July 14, 2010.