karen bakker


Karen Bakker is an author,
professor & researcher of
environmental governance
& innovation.

Karen Bakker is an author,
professor & researcher of
environmental governance
& innovation.

Karen Bakker is an author,
professor & researcher of
environmental governance
& innovation.

Karen Bakker is an
author, professor &
researcher of
governance &

The Sounds of Life (2022)

The natural world teems with remarkable conversations, many beyond human hearing range. Scientists are using groundbreaking digital technologies to uncover these astonishing sounds, revealing vibrant communication among our fellow creatures across the Tree of Life.

At once meditative and scientific, The Sounds of Life shares fascinating and surprising stories of nonhuman sound, interweaving insights from technological innovation and traditional knowledge. We meet scientists using sound to protect and regenerate endangered species from the Great Barrier Reef to the Arctic and the Amazon. We discover the shocking impacts of noise pollution on both animals and plants. We learn how artificial intelligence can decode nonhuman sounds, and meet the researchers building dictionaries in East African Elephant and Sperm Whalish. At the frontiers of innovation, we explore digitally mediated dialogues with bats and honeybees. Technology often distracts us from nature, but what if it could reconnect us instead?

The Sounds of Life offers hope for environmental conservation and affirms humanity’s relationship with nature in the digital age. After learning about the unsuspected wonders of nature’s sounds, we will never see walks outdoors in the same way again.

Visit the Princeton University Press website for more info: https://press.princeton.edu/books/hardcover/9780691206288/the-sounds-of-life

Water Teachings (2020)

“Water Teachings” is an edited book which explores perspectives on Indigenous water law, bringing together voices of Indigenous scholars and community members from across Canada. This book was co-authored by a collective of Indigenous scholars and community members, and edited together with Courtenay Crane, a photographer/filmmaker and member of Key First Nation. After consultation with my research collaborators (including Indigenous scholars and Indigenous community organizations), we decided to publish this book ourselves, in order to make it available free of charge. View here. 


View All

Radcliffe Fellowship (2022)

Awarded: 2022–2023 Field: Social Sciences Title: Matina S. Horner Distinguished Visiting Professor For more information about the Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship, click here. Harvard Radcliffe Institute Fellowship writes about my work: Karen Bakker is an author, professor, and researcher of environmental governance and innovation. Through a book and web portal, she will explore how the […]

Guggenheim Fellowship (2022)

Fellow: Awarded 2022 Field of Study: Geography and Environmental Studies Competition: US & Canada For more information about the Guggenheim Fellowship, click here. The John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation writes about my work: Karen Bakker is Professor of Geography at the University of British Columbia, where she is an Associate of the Institute for Resources, Environment, […]

Water-energy landscapes

Over the past decade, the water-energy nexus (WEN) has emerged as a prominent framework with which to analyze and visualize interconnections between energy production, freshwater resources, and the hydrological cycle. The WEN is a fundamentally geographic concept embedded in landscapes. WEN analyses often include landscape visualizations, yet these are rarely conceptually rigorous; consequently, the visual-representational […]

Water Teachings: New e-book

Excited to announce we have just launched our new portal: waterteachings.com. Water Teachings presents teachings from scholars and community members who are working to protect and honour the water. This is a collaborative e-book project co-edited by Courtenay Crane and Karen Bakker; Courtenay began this project as the Media Manager for the Decolonizing Water Project at UBC (and is now […]

Digital tech and environmental governance

For the past several years I’ve been working on a major new initiative on digital technologies and environmental governance. Currently I’m collaborating with UNEP and a number of other international organizations on a “digital ecosystem for Earth”. We’ve published a series of articles on Medium exploring potential for globalized digital environmental governance. Our first article […]

Smart Earth Project

How can the tools of the Information Age be used to solve the challenges of the Anthropocene? I’ve recently started a new project on tech innovation and environmental governance, focusing on the evolution of conservation in response to environmental sensing and emerging technologies.  Check out our open source article: Bakker, K. and M. Ritts. 2018. […]

NRC Council

Delighted to be named to Canada’s National Research Council/Conseil national de recherches Canada (NRC-CNRC). The NRC is Canada’s largest federal government research and technology organization, overseen by the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Economic Development. The NRC is the primary national research and technology organization of the Government of Canada. The NRC Council reviews the strategic directions of the […]