Seb O'Connor

Seb O'Connor


I am an inter-disciplinary social scientist researching the various ways in which we value nature. Having grounded my studies in environmental ethics, I then made a transition to study Ecological Economics. This reflects my interest in value as a concept from an ethical, ecological and economic point of view. Broadly I aim to add to existing work on democratising the ways in which we value nature.

Research interests

My research interests lie in environmental values as well as the decision making processes that we use to elicit these values. I aim to address the gap between ethical critiques of the human-nature relationship and the current environmental valuation methods. I focus specifically on developping conceptual frameworks such as cultural ecosystem services as well as Nature’s Contribtuions to People (NCP). The methods I am interested in include participatory and deliberative approaches to valuation and systemic action research. 

My research explores how social values towards the environment might change not just over time but also in the process in which decisions are made as well as the land/riverine-scape changes that may take place. To understand these questions, the research is following a river restoration project in York. Here, I will try to understand the social values that are held in relation to the river before, during and after the completion of the project. I will also be exploring the way in which decisions are made on the project and facilitating social learning workshops along the way. 

Areas of interest:

Ecological economics

Natural/cultural heritage

Environmental philosophy

Political ecology

Landscape design


  • MSc, Ecological Economics, University of Edinburgh
  • BA, Philosophy, University of Manchester