The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2015 Board Elections. The following nominees are for 4 available positions each with a 2 year term: Secretary-Treasurer, At-Large Member (2 positions), and Student Representative. Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections will open Friday May 29 and run through June 5.
Secretary-Treasurer (Term June 2015 – June 2017)
Kyle Gracey is the current Student Representative on the Board of Directors. Kyle has presented at USSEE and ISEE conferences in the areas of ecological footprint and equality in green job creation. He is a chapter author of Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics and has published in Ecological Indicators. He is the former Student Representative on the Board of Directors of the Working Group for Ecological Economics and Sustainability Science at the Society for Conservation Biology. He formerly worked as a Research Scientist at Global Footprint Network, at Gade Environmental Group consulting, Climate Action Network-International, and for the White House, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of the Treasury. Kyle also serves on the boards of directors for Engineers for a Sustainable World (Chair), Student Pugwash USA (Vice President), SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development (Chair), and the Truman Scholars Association (Immediate Past President). Kyle is a Ph.D. candidate in the Engineering and Public Policy Department at Carnegie Mellon University. He received his M.S. from the Geophysical Sciences Department and Harris Public Policy School at The University of Chicago, and earned B.S. degrees from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Biochemistry & Biophysics and Ecological Economics.
John A. Sorrentino is Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. He was a co-founder of Temple University’s Environmental Studies Program, and was honored by the University with a 1999 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. Most of his publications and consulting work have involved the micro-economics of energy and the environment, and have appeared in journals such as the American Economic Review, Journal of Environmental Economics & Management, Environmental Management, and Landscape & Urban Planning. His works-in-progress include such topics as sustainable housing placement, environmental information systems, sustainable business practices, urban agriculture, and using environmental and health amenities to offset wealth inequality. John was a charter member of USSEE, is a member of the Scientific Committee organizing the 2015 Biennial Conference, and looks forward to having a direct hand in the Society as Secretary-Treasurer. Carefully documenting the operational and financial activities of any organization is important, and USSEE is no exception. The period of damage-control is over, and the future should bring stability and growth. John received his B.B.A. from Baruch College of the City University of New York and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Purdue University, all in economics.
At Large Member, 2 Positions (Term June 2015 – June 2017)
Paul Baer is the Research Director of EcoEquity, a small climate justice think-tank that he co-founded in 2000 with Tom Athanasiou. He is an internationally recognized expert on issues of equity and climate change as well as the economics of climate and energy policy. He holds a PhD from UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group. In 2009-2013, he was an assistant professor in the School of Public Policy at the Georgia Institute of Technology, where he taught courses on environmental policy and ecological economics. In 2013-2014, he was the California and Western States Climate Economist at the Union of Concerned Scientists in Berkeley, California. Dr. Baer has written numerous articles, book chapters and policy commentaries on climate change, environmental policies and equitable development. His articles have been published in such peer-reviewed journals as Bioscience, Environmental Research Letters, Climatic Change, Energy Policy, and Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews (WIRES) Climate Change, and in numerous anthologies. He was also a contributing author to Working Group III of the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report, and was an Associate Editor of Environmental Values from 2009-2012.
Candidacy Statement: I chose my graduate programs specifically to work on ecological economics, because I saw a need for ecologists and others doing interdisciplinary work to have an alternative to neoclassical economics. My work on global climate justice has focused on identifying the appropriate scale for GHGs and an equitable approach to redistributing newly scarce rights in a global commons. My natural science training led me early on to recognize that CO2 concentrations around 350 ppm were necessary to preserve a reasonable probability of climate stability. Given our overshoot, principles of equity make it clear that redistribution, not merely more efficient growth, is essential to the solution. After leaving academia, I spent a year working for the Union of Concerned Scientists, a “science-based advocacy organization.” But there is no coherent body of social science to provide the necessary analysis of the political and ecological economics of climate change. I believe ecological economics and the USSEE can help organize a coherent alternative to neoclassical climate economics, providing enough legitimacy to be useful to organizations like UCS and other scholars, activists and politicians who see the sustainability transition as non-marginal and redistribution as an essential component. I hope as a member of the board to work across intellectual communities to help make this possibility a reality.
Nate Hagens is a well-known speaker on the big picture issues facing human society. Until recently he was lead editor of The Oil Drum, one of the most popular and highly-respected websites for analysis and discussion of global energy supplies and the future implications of energy decline. Nate is currently on the Boards of Post Carbon Institute, Bottleneck Foundation, IIER and Institute for the Study of Energy and the Future. Nate’s presentations address the opportunities and constraints we face after the coming end of economic growth. On the supply side, Nate focuses on the interrelationship between debt-based financial markets and natural resources, particularly energy. On the demand side, Nate addresses the evolutionarily-derived underpinnings to status, addiction, and our aversion to acting about the future and offers suggestions on how individuals and society might better adapt to what’s ahead. Ultimately, Nate’s talks cover the issues relevant to propelling our species (and others) into deep time. Nate has appeared on PBS, BBC, ABC and NPR, and has lectured around the world. He holds a Masters Degree in Finance from the University of Chicago and a PhD in Natural Resources from the University of Vermont. Previously Nate was President of Sanctuary Asset Management and a Vice President at the investment firms Salomon Brothers and Lehman Brothers.
Christie Klimas’s research brings together ecology and economics, in urban and tropical settings, to address questions of sustainable resource use. Due to the economic drivers underlying resource use, economic knowledge is an essential component of sustainability. Indeed, economic studies have moved to the forefront of sustainable ecosystem management and recent research has focused on quantifying the monetary benefit of ecosystem services like pollination, water filtration, and carbon storage. A commonality in her research interests is working toward ecologically sustainable resource management that recognizes the role of citizen stakeholders. She is co-leading a collaborative effort with funds from Environmental Protection Agency’s P3 (People, Prosperity and the Planet) Program to train a network of capable citizen scientists qualified to adaptively manage their part of the urban landscape via soil quality assessment. This grant would also provide educational opportunities for undergraduates to train community members and high school students in soil testing techniques, bioremediation, or appropriate use of polluted landscapes. Indeed, one of her research priorities is working with undergraduate students on projects that will give them the skills to conduct and use science throughout their careers. She is also interested in “excess” consumption, particularly with respect to quantifying the environmental and social cost of deadweight loss from holiday gift purchases.
Candidacy Statement: I am interested in joining a group that adopts a truly interdisciplinary perspective to work toward solutions to some of today’s most pressing challenges. I think my interdisciplinary training and work on sustainable resource management and strong collaborative research framework are assets.
Kent Klitgaard is a Professor of Economics at Wells College, a small liberal arts school located in the Central New York Village of Aurora. He is the co-founder of the Environmental Studies and Sustainability programs, and is the recipient of the 2015 Excellence in Teaching Award. Kent teaches a wide array of courses from Microeconomic Theory to Political Economy, Globalization, the History of Economic Thought, and a first-year seminar on Sustainability and the State of the World. His primary focus, however, is on ecological and biophysical economics, teaching courses on mainstream Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics and Energy and the Economy, as well as a course on Technology and the Labor Process. His primary research interests are in degrowth and how the limits to economic growth found in resource quality, climate change, and the institutional structure of society and economy, will impact human and biophysical systems, and what the great transition to sustainability will look like. He is especially interested in issues concerning the impact of deteriorating natural systems upon human labor, and is currently developing an article on the return to meaningful work as a strategy for attaining sustainability. Kent is co-author of Energy and the Wealth of Nations, and has also published in Ecological Economics, Ecological Economic Reviews, and Sustainability, among others
Candidacy Statement: Kent takes the idea of methodological pluralism seriously and believes that ecological economics will be better able to understand how to transform the world if we take the institutional structure of the economy and society into consideration in both our conferences and our publications to a greater degree than at present.
Erin Lennox is a 2014 graduate of the PhD program in Ecological Economics at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. Her doctoral research focused on the impact of climate change and globalization on peasant agriculture in the Mexican Yucatan and Peruvian Andes and has been published in Ecosystem Services and Society and Natural Resources. Her current research is focused on ecosystem conservation and conservation education in the Yucatan. Right now she is postponing the search for a full time academic position to spend time taking care of her one year old son. In the meantime, Erin serves as an adjunct professor of economics at various universities in New York’s Capital Region, and is doing grant writing and consulting work for environmental and education related non-profit organizations in the area. She also works with the organization Engineers for a Sustainable World, helping to incorporate sustainability into engineering education, and serves on the board of directors of the Foundation for Developing Sustainable Societies. In addition to her recent ecological economics degree, Erin also holds a bachelors and masters degree in mechanical engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and is currently involved in a number of K-12 STEM education projects and initiatives.
Candidacy Statement: I am interested in joining the USSEE board of directors because I feel strongly about the importance of incorporating ecological economic concepts into traditional economics education. I believe that the field is often overlooked by both mainstream economists, and practitioners of other disciplines who could benefit from its interdisciplinary methods and theories. I hope that as a board member I could help to promote the field of ecological economics to a broad audience.
Student Representative (Term June 2015 – June 2017)
Kyle Metta is originally from coastal New Hampshire where he first became interested in ecological economics and the work of Herman Daly while seeking alternatives to the growth centric development strategies being pursued in his community. This interest and critique of “smoke-stack chasing” development led Kyle to receive his BS in Environmental Economics from the University of New Hampshire in 2010. In the years since graduating, Kyle has held environmental consulting positions at Cardno-ENTRIX, and with Resource Recycling Systems conducting nonmarket valuations and creating sustainability assessments for a variety of corporate and municipal clients. He most recently served on the Washtenaw Food Policy Council in Ann Arbor, MI as their Policy Coordinator where he worked with stakeholders to identify and model policies that support a viable, just and sustainable local food system. Kyle is currently pursuing a Master’s Degree from Michigan State University in the Department of Community Sustainability focusing on ecological economics and socio-ecological systems modeling. He is currently conducting research in the City of Detroit using participatory system dynamics modeling to evaluate barriers to food security, and is interested in developing research around sustainable degrowth and the development of social capital and networks in urban environments.
Candidacy Statement: The opportunity to serve as the Student Member on the USSEE Board of Directors would be a great honor. The USSEE and its members are in a position to use their research to amplify and add direction to the emerging cross-discipline critique of neoclassical economics. The society can offer a pluralistic alternative framework for research and inform policy recommendations that are grounded in biophysical reality and a foundation in justice. As a graduate student not based at an ecological economics hub, I am quite aware of the isolation that may come with being a heterodox economics scholar. I view the Student Member’s role as one that may bring together the diversity of student voices from across the country to share in a collective discussion about the role we, and our research, play in establishing a path forward. I believe my background in strategic listening and stakeholder engagement will aid me in representing the student voice in a productive manner that creates opportunities for students to network and participate more fully in the organization.
Alex Poisson is a Ph.D. student in Ecological Economics at the College of Environmental Science and Forestry, in Syracuse (SUNY-ESF). His broad interests include evolution, energy transitions and the history and philosophy of science. Alex completed his Master of Science at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where he is from. His thesis was on the “Implications of Non-Equilibrium Thermodynamics for Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen’s Economics”. Alex has presented his work at two USSEE conferences: first in 2011 (poster), and again in 2013 (presentation) at the joint meeting of the USSEE and Biophysical Economics. He has published on “The Influence of Alfred North Whitehead on the Future of Ecological Economics”, and on the “Time Series Energy Return on Investment of Canadian Oil and Gas”. During his Masters he was a fellow with the Center for Humans and Nature, and soon afterwards he worked as a consultant with the Capital Institute think tank. In addition to his academic work Alex has long been active in the campus sustainability community. While at McGill, he helped co-found McGill’s Office of Sustainability. At SUNY-ESF, Alex works as the College’s part-time Sustainability Coordinator, bringing together students, staff, faculty and administration around exciting projects including recently a multi-purpose local food system, based on perennial ecologies, foraging, biodiversity awareness and land stewardship.
Candidacy Statement: I am interested in being on the Board of Directors of the USSEE to represent students’ perspectives on the Board, to help strengthen the USSEE’s relationship with its Canadian counterpart (CANSEE) and to advocate for better awareness of, and dialogue with, other heterodox schools and associations (not only Biophysical Economics, but also for example Evolutionary, Complexity, and Behavioral Economics).