Sarah Elizabeth Wolfe

Visiting professor

Environment & Sustainability

I examine the social dimensions of water decisions using ideas from environmental psychology, cognitive science, sociology and geography. My research is designed to investigate how individuals’ cognitive experiences influence their perceptions, definitions and prioritisation of water issues, and whether individual-level responses aggregate as group or societal water management decisions. The Canadian and international water community — including water researchers, policy makers and water consumers — are my preferred sample populations, but I often work with students interested in community-based research. My current research is focused on issues of conversion theory and identity, awe and ritual in water decisions while my graduate team is investigating the implications of disgust and fear on water decisions.


My work experience includes stints with the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (Rome) in their Water Policy, Development and Management Service along with the International Development Research Organization’s (Ottawa) People, Land and Water program. My South African doctoral field season was hosted by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature’s South Africa office in Pretoria. I’ve worked as a private consultant on multiple water-related projects in both Canada and overseas.

I am an associate (i.e., tenured ongoing) professor in the School of Environment, Resources and Sustainability (SERS, formerly ERS) at the University of Waterloo. My post doctoral research was completed in ERS at the University of Waterloo. My PhD (2007) is from the University of Guelph’s Department of Geography, MA from the University of Toronto’s collaborative program in Political Science and Environmental Studies, and BA from the University of Guelph’s International Development program (Biophysical Environment). As part of my undergraduate program, I studied at the University of Haifa through their English-language program. For more details, please refer to my cv and professional profiles at the University of Waterloo, ResearchGate and on



University of Guelph


University of Toronto


University of Guelph