Sally E. Eden

1967 - 2016

Sally Eden, professor of Human Geography at the University of Hull, UK, whose research explored issues of environmental perception, sustainable food production and consumption, passed away peacefully in September 2016 after a period of illness.

Sally E. Eden was born in 1967. She studied for a bachelor’s degree at the University of Durham followed by a doctorate at the University of Leeds.

Her first academic posts were at the University of Bristol and Middlesex University where she taught geography and environmental studies before joining the Department of Geography at the University of Hull in 1998 where she served for the last 18 years.

Eden’s research explored how people relate to the environment through consumption, leisure, knowledge and policy.

One strand of work investigated how nongovernmental organizations use and communicate environmental information, and how environmental science is used to influence policy and consumption. For this she focused on water environments, researching how river restoration is designed and justified and how laypeople get involved with and make sense of river management in the UK.

Another area of research was how ideas of sustainable consumption, environmentally friendly products and green lifestyles are constructed, legitimated, sold, understood and put into practice (or not). She explored these issues through case studies such as the environmental certification of organic food, sustainably farmed fish and well managed forests.

From 2013-15 she was Co-Investigator on a major project funded jointly by the UK Research Councils called Digital Economy: Food Trust. The goal was to explore how digital tools can promote more sustainable production and consumption of food through connecting producers and consumers. It involved the creation of three prototype apps – ‘Food Cloud’, ‘FoodCrowd’ and ‘Shopstamp.’ One of these, for example, enabled shoppers to scan QR codes on food products to access information about the farm where the item was produced.

Eden’s work was widely published in leading journals of geography, environment and rural studies. Sadly she passed away before publication of her book, Environmental Publics (Routledge, December 2016). This volume explores how ordinary people think about the environment as they go about their daily lives; how they engage with environmental issues in different contexts of work, leisure and home; and whether thinking about the environment make them do things differently.

Eden was a member of the AAG and a regular attendee at the Annual Meetings. She was also one of the Section Editors for the AAG’s The International Encyclopedia of Geography: People, the Earth, Environment, and Technology (Wiley, 2017). She was responsible for the “Environmental Policy, Management, and Governance” section, and also wrote three entries for the encyclopedia: Environmental Science, Environmental Restoration, and Environmental Issues and Public Understanding (the latter with Hilary Geoghegan). The AAG team will remember her as an excellent editor as well as a lovely person with whom to work. Her colleagues at the University of Hull and beyond will miss her greatly.