Gund Affiliate, Professor and Chair, Department of Sociology at the University of Vermont

Thomas Macias is Professor and Chair in the Department of Sociology at the University of Vermont.  A central question in Macias’ research is what shapes people’s willingness to care and become engaged in environmental issues? While much of the social science literature in this area has focused on how values and beliefs inform environmental action, Macias’s work draws out the ways in which elements of social structure – socioeconomic class, immigration, race, gender, and the experience of environmental injustice – shape the way we understand and relate to the natural world around us.  Like other aspects of modern life, access to nature is unequally distributed, as are the costs of air, water and ground contamination which tends to concentrate among those communities and in those parts of the world with the least economic and political power to protect themselves.  With a focus on environmental justice, Macias’ work calls attention to the central role social inequality plays in both the anthropogenic origins and disproportionate impacts of the current ecological crisis.


  • Macias, T. 2022. Sociology Saves the Planet: An Introduction to Socioecological Thinking and Practice, London, UK: Routledge.
  • Macias, T. 2016. “Convergent Links of Social Capital, Sustainable Practices, and Support for Cost-specified Climate Policy in two Vermont and Arizona Counties,” Environmental Sociology, v. 2, 220-232.
  • Macias, T. 2016. “Ecological Assimilation: Race, Ethnicity and the Inverted Gap of Environmental Concern.” Society and Natural Resources, v. 29, 3-19.
  • Macias, T. 2016. “Environmental Risk Perception among Race and Ethnic Groups in the United States.” Ethnicities, v. 16, 111-129.
  • Macias, T. and Williams, K. 2016. “Know Your Neighbors, Save the Planet: Notable Social Capital Correlates with Pro-environmental Outcomes.” Environment and Behavior, v. 48, 391–420.

Areas of Expertise and/or Research

Environmental justice, immigration, consumerism, social context of sustainable practices


  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Wisconsin-Madison, August 2002
  • M.A., Sociology, University of New Mexico, January 1997
  • B.S., Marketing, Arizona State University, May 1990


  • (802) 656-2525
Office Location:

Benedict House Room 205

  1. Website