All posts by Kyle Gracey

Andrew J. Senti Endowed Assistant Professorship of Ecosystem Services

Utah State University
Quinney College of Natural Resources
Department of Environment and Society

POSITION ANNOUNCEMENT

Andrew J. Senti Endowed Assistant Professorship of Ecosystem Services

The Department of Environment and Society (ENVS) at Utah State University (USU) invites applications for an endowed, tenure-track faculty position in Ecosystem Services at the rank of Assistant Professor. This is a permanent, full-time (nine-month) appointment based at the USU main campus in Logan.  The position is weighted as 50% research, 40% teaching/advising, and 10% service.  The start date is August 1, 2018. The title of the position will change to the Andrew J. Senti Endowed Chair of Ecosystem Services when promotion and tenure to Associate Professor is achieved.

Position Summary:  We seek an innovative, inter-disciplinary scholar with a strong background in human-environment interactions who has interest in policy-relevant work concerning ecosystem services in both managed and natural settings.  Important research applications could include public land management, water systems management, agroecosystem assessments, or sustainable urban development.  A focus on dynamic natural-resource issues relevant to Utah and the Intermountain West is a priority.  Cultural ecosystem services could also be a vital aspect of research given the diverse attributes of outdoor recreation in public spaces.  Other relevant fields for intellectual integration include political ecology and ecological economics.  Analytical tools such as geospatial analysis and systems modeling would be very useful for the types of broad-scaled inquiry that are envisioned.  Successful research program development will also involve recruiting, supporting, and training graduate students.  Teaching will include up to three courses per academic year with  undergraduate and graduate instructional assignments.  Topics may include environmental and natural resource policy, land use, or other offerings within the faculty member’s area of expertise.  Courses may be delivered face-to-face, via distance learning, or in blended formats.  The service component includes participation in professional endeavors on and off campus.  This includes involvement in university governance or supervisory committee assignments and providing assistance to scholarly societies or natural-resource management and policy entities.

Minimum Qualifications:  Candidates must have an earned doctorate at the date-of-hire in a field relevant to ecosystem services.  They should have a publication record consistent with their career stage, and be able to show the potential to build and maintain a productive research program, including the ability to secure competitive external funding.  Because large-scale research involves interdisciplinary teams, candidates must have the ability and willingness to collaborate effectively, and sometimes lead, on projects involving a diverse array of scholars.  In addition, applied research requires collaboration with governmental and non-governmental groups off campus.  Excellent skills in communication, mentoring, teamwork, problem-solving, and collaborative leadership are required for success.

Preferred Qualifications: The following attributes are not required but are advantageous: postdoctoral research experience; experience conducting relevant work in arid or semi-arid environments; experience working with interdisciplinary research teams; genuine interest in natural-resource management challenges of the Intermountain West; prior teaching experience; and the ability and willingness to offer instruction via distance-education methods.
Utah State University Highlights: USU is a public Land- and Space-grant research, teaching, and Extension institution founded in 1888 (https://www.usu.edu/). The Department of Environment and Society in the Quinney College of Natural Resources conducts research and offers degrees in fields that include ecology, environmental studies, geography, sustainable systems, and recreation resources management (https://qcnr.usu.edu/envs/). Many  opportunities exist for collaboration within the Department, College, and University.

USU has an enrollment of 28,000 that includes 3,280 graduate students.  About 17,900 students are at the main campus in Logan.  Logan offers the amenities of a college town within the Cache Valley metropolitan zone; the local population is around 115,000 ( http://www.loganutah.org/).  Logan is a 90-minute drive north of Salt Lake City.  Positioned within the scenic mountain landscapes of northern Utah, the region offers many outdoor activities (e.g., biking, hiking, camping, fishing, snow sports) within a few minutes of campus.  Cache Valley is also within a day’s drive of eight national parks, numerous national monuments and state parks, and vast expanses of publicly owned rangeland and forest. USU is classified as a Carnegie research university having high research activity.  Sponsored research awards for USU during 2016 exceeded $240 million with an upward trend, placing it at or near the top of comparisons with peer institutions.  USU has heavily invested in programs to mentor and support junior faculty in grantsmanship and teaching arenas (http://rgs.usu.edu/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/Faculty-Senate-Report-2016.pdf).

USU is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity (AA/EO) employer, dedicated to recruiting stellar candidates from a diverse pool including women, minorities, veterans, and persons with disabilities.  USU is sensitive to the needs of dual-career applicants and offers competitive salaries with outstanding medical, retirement, and professional benefits.

Candidates should apply at: https://usu.hiretouch.com/job-details?jobid=2712.

12-month Postdoc Great Lakes Restoration Initiative

The Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at Central Michigan University is looking to fill a 12-month postdoctoral position (to be extended to 18 month based on contingent funding). The successful applicant will be dedicated to mixed-methods analysis, publishing, and outreach related to an interdisciplinary research project investigating and modelling the socioecological and economic benefits of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI), the flagship restoration federal program for the U.S. Great Lakes. The project is supported by the C.S. Mott Foundation, and pursued in collaboration with partners at the University of Michigan, and the Great Lakes Commission. In addition to this main role, the post offers the opportunity to work on the applicant’s research, developing her/his own research agenda in the transdisciplinary, and active research environment of both the Department of Geography & Environmental Studies and the Institute for Great Lakes Research, the premiere research Institute for research on the U.S. Great Lakes.

For a detailed description of the post, please see: https://www.jobs.cmich.edu/postings/26618

Blog Post: Can We Stop the Advance of Climate Change While Growing the Global Economy?

Originally posted at https://elgar.blog/2017/08/22/can-we-stop-the-advance-of-climate-change-while-growing-the-global-economy/

Brett Dolter and Peter Victor discuss growing the global economy and combatting climate change.

Climate change is a “super wicked problem” (Levin et al., 2012). Stopping the rise of global temperatures requires complete decarbonization of our energy system. This shift will upend existing power structures, and disrupt habits and behavioural norms. To add to the challenge, climate change action requires co-operation amongst countries with competing interests, and demands social support for actions that impose costs on citizens today, but will provide benefits primarily to generations not yet born.

In Paris, we saw an emerging commitment to global co-operation as nations around the world pledged to reduce their greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions (UNFCCC, 2015). Nearly two years later, however, researchers have confirmed that “No major advanced industrialized country is on track to meet its (Paris) pledges to control the greenhouse-gas emissions that cause climate change” (Victor et al. 2017).

One characteristic of the “super wicked problem” that is climate change is that “those seeking to end the problem are also causing it” (Levin et al., 2012: 127). We know that every economic transaction requires materials and energy. In a world where our energy system is powered predominantly by fossil fuels, that means every economic transaction creates GHG emissions directly, or indirectly in its supply chain (Dolter & Victor, 2016). Even purchases from the service sector – for example, visiting a masseuse or a barber – generate embodied or shadow GHG emissions (Dolter & Victor, 2016).

In this context, several researchers in the new Handbook on Growth and Sustainability (Victor & Dolter, 2017) have asked, can we address climate change while growing our economy?

The tension between economic growth and reducing GHG emissions can be expressed using the Kaya Identity, which decomposes changes to GHG emissions in terms of its component parts: changes to population, changes to economic activity per capita (GDP/capita), changes to the energy intensity of economic activity (Energy/GDP), and changes to the GHG intensity of energy (GHG/Energy),

Kaya Identity

Globally, GDP/capita and population have been increasing, while the energy intensity of the economy (Energy/GDP) and the GHG intensity of energy (GHG/energy) have been declining. A complete decarbonization of global energy systems would zero out the first term on the right-hand-side of the Kaya Identity (GHG/Energy = 0), reducing GHG emissions to zero, and helping to stabilize concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere.[1] But, decarbonization of our energy system will not happen overnight. In the meantime, if global GHG emissions are to be reduced, GHG/Energy and Energy/GDP must decline faster than GDP/capita and population grow.

In western liberal democracies, we generally do not look to population control as a solution to climate change, and, in any case, the rate of population growth in rich nations has been declining for decades.[2] This means the race is between GDP growth (GDP/capita), and efforts to decarbonize the energy system (GHG/Energy) and achieve more energy efficiency economic production (Energy/GDP).

Paul Ekins (2017) argues that we can help steer our economy towards low-carbon technologies by implementing a steadily increasing carbon price. In his Handbook chapter, he points to economic modelling studies that show that GDP can continue to grow, while GHG emissions fall and atmospheric GHG concentrations stabilize. Achieving GHG emissions reductions will mean shifting economic activity away from consumption and towards investment. It may be politically difficult to convince voters to support deferred consumption, but, “because economic growth is so attractive to so many people” Ekins argues that promising green growth will make climate action more appetizing to the electorate (Ekins, 2017: P.134).

Anders Hayden (2017) is less convinced of the potential to square the growth and sustainability circle. Hayden (2017) outlines several issues with the kinds of economic modelling studies cited by Ekins (2017): they assume perfect market conditions, ignore technological lock-in, ignore rebound effects from achieving energy efficiency, and often rely on untested carbon dioxide removal (CDR) technologies that allow us to overshoot our GHG emissions targets, only to reach them later by removing CO2 from the atmosphere. Rather than continuing to promote economic growth (even if green), Hayden argues we should be promoting an “ethic of sufficiency” so that “the ecological imperative of addressing climate change and other environmental challenges is no longer held back by the perceived imperative of endless economic growth” (2017: pp. 139, 154)

The Handbook on Growth and Sustainability provides additional perspectives on whether we can stop the advance of climate change while growing the global economy. Daly (2017) argues for a steady-state, non-growing economy. Sekulova et al. (2017) suggest that rich nations should now focus on degrowth. van den Bergh (2017) proposes an agrowth view that we should be agnostic about economic growth, and instead measure social progress with a broader swath of indicators. The Handbook then goes beyond this debate to explore what our economy and society could look like if we opted to dethrone economic growth from its place as the primary goal of social policy.

The release of the Handbook is timely. Raftery et al. (2017) recently concluded that we have only a 5% chance of limiting global warming to 2°C by 2100. Using the Kaya Identity framework and statistical analysis of past and likely future trends, they conclude that the carbon intensity of economic activity (will likely decline by 1.9%/yr, but these improvements will largely be cancelled out by likely economic growth of 1.8%/yr (Raftery et al., 2017: 3).

This finding suggests that, in the most likely scenarios, we will not halt climate change while growing the economy. While challenging the primacy of economic growth may create new wicked problems, failing to solve the super wicked problem that is climate change will be catastrophic. It is our hope that the 23 chapters in the Handbook on Growth and Sustainability help to clarify whether we can stop the advance of climate change while growing the global economy, and, if not, how we might achieve well-being without growth.


[1] To completely stabilize atmospheric concentrations of GHGs, emissions in non-energy sectors like agriculture must also be reduced to zero or near-zero (allowing for some carbon sequestration in forests and oceans).

[2] Population growth is also not believed to be a major impediment to reducing GHG emissions globally (Raftery et al., 2017). This assumes, however, that areas with high population growth such as Sub-Saharan Africa, continue to stay poor. It also assumes that those living in poverty don’t exacerbate climate change by, for example, harvesting fuelwood from forests and contributing to deforestation. One reason for questioning economic growth in rich nations is to free up ecological space and resources to allow for poverty alleviation in poor nations.


References

Daly, Herman (2017) “A New Economics for Our Full World.” In (Eds.) Victor, Peter and Brett Dolter The Handbook on Growth and Sustainability. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, MA.

Dolter, Brett and Peter A. Victor (2016) “Casting a long shadow: Demand-based accounting of Canada’s greenhouse gas emissions responsibility.” Ecological Economics. 127, pp. 156-164. DOI: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2016.04.013.

Ekins, Paul (2017) “Ecological Modernisation and Green Growth: Prospects and Potential.” In (Eds.) Victor, Peter and Brett Dolter The Handbook on Growth and Sustainability. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, MA.

Hayden, Anders (2017) “Climate Change, Growth, and Sustainability.” In (Eds.) Victor, Peter and Brett Dolter The Handbook on Growth and Sustainability. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, MA.

Levin, Kelly, Benjamin Cashore, Steven Bernstein, and Graeme Auld (2012) “Overcoming the tragedy of super wicked problems: constraining our future selves to ameliorate global climate change.” Policy Sciences. 45, pp. 123-152. DOI: 10.1007/s11077-012-9151-0.

UNFCCC (2015) Paris Agreement. Available on-line at: http://unfccc.int/files/essential_background/convention/application/pdf/english_paris_agreement.pdf. Last accessed August 4, 2017.

Raftery, Adrian E., Alec Zimmer, Dargan M.W. Frierson, Richard Startz, and Peiran Liu (2017) “Less than 2°C warming by 2100 unlikely.” Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/NCLIMATE3352.

van den Bergh, Jeroen C.J.M. (2017) “Green Agrowth: Removing the GDP-Growth Constraint on Human Progress.” In (Eds.) Victor, Peter and Brett Dolter The Handbook on Growth and Sustainability. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, MA.

Victor, David G., Keigo Akimoto, Yoichi Kaya, Mitsutsune Yamaguchi, Danny Cullenward & Cameron Hepburn (2017) “Prove Paris was more than paper promises.” Nature, August 1, 2017. Available on-line at: http://www.nature.com/news/prove-paris-was-more-than-paper-promises-1.22378.

Victor, Peter and Brett Dolter (Eds.) (2017) The Handbook on Growth and Sustainability. Edward Elgar: Cheltenham, MA.


Peter A. Victor, Professor, York University and Brett Dolter, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Ottawa, Canada

W3-Professorship ‘Biodiversity Economics’

Integrated in iDiv, the Leipzig University, Germany, offers the following position at the Faculty of Economics and Management Science:
W3-Professorship ‘Biodiversity Economics’
Application deadline: 15 October 2017

Integrative biodiversity research is interdisciplinary at heart, bridging different disciplines like biology, ecology, forestry, agriculture, economics, and social sciences. In contrast to classical ecology, it recognizes ecosystems as complex socio-ecological systems where humans impact on as well as manage and obtain benefits from biodiversity. This requires a transdisciplinary program linking scientists to practitioners and decision-makers. The importance of engaging different disciplines in biodiversity assessments is increasingly recognized, and thus, it is also reflected in the work of the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). In particular, economics has been providing important contributions in fields such as ecological-economic modeling, valuation of biodiversity, financial mechanisms to conserve biodiversity, policy instruments and governance of biodiversity management, among others. At the same time, evolutionary economists have started to adopt and develop theory on fundamental ecological and evolutionary concepts that are common to both economic and biological systems, such as diversity, stability, and facilitation. Further integration of economics and biology to understand the common underpinning of social and ecology systems is emerging as major research frontier, to address not only questions at the interface of both fields, but also to promote cross-fertilization of economics and ecological theory. The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) provides a unique environment to address this research frontier. Therefore, we are opening a professorship in Biodiversity Economics hosted by iDiv and affiliated with the Faculty of Economics and Management Science at Leipzig University.

iDiv is a world-leading institute for integrative biodiversity research. Its central mission is to promote theory-driven synthesis and data-driven theory in integrative biodiversity research. The concept of iDiv encompasses the detection of biodiversity, understanding its emergence, exploring its consequences for ecosystem functions and services, and developing strategies to safeguard biodiversity under global change (www.idiv.de).

https://www.idiv.de/fileadmin/content/Vacancies_PDF/Vacancies_2017/170810_iDiv_Ausschreibung_W3_Biodiversitaetsoekonomik.pdf

UCS at ESA

Several members of the Union of Concerned Scientists Food & Environment team will be going to the Ecological Society of America (ESA) Annual Meeting in Portland, and we’d love to meet you! Here’s where you’ll be able to find us:

  • UCS Networking Happy Hour: Join us on Wednesday, August 9 from 5:30 – 7:30pm for a happy hour at Spirit of 77 Bar, 500 NE Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd. Appetizers and a complimentary drink will be provided, and Ricardo Salvador, Director of the Food & Environment Program, will offer brief remarks. Please RSVP here.
  • Visit our booth: Stop by booth #503 to speak with UCS staff and scientists, pick up copies of our latest reports, preview the recently released Special Issue of Agroecology and Food Systems, and find out about how you can join our efforts to put rigorous, independent science to work to solve our planet’s most pressing problems.
  • Attend our panel: On Tuesday, August 8 at 10:10am, Marcia DeLonge, Senior Scientist in the Food & Environment Program, will present her talk, “Ecological and societal impacts of transitioning to more sustainable agroecosystem management: The case of beef production systems.” Find us in room B112 to hear about the ways that conventional cropping systems that support beef production could be redesigned based on agroecological principles.
  • Join us for coffee: Want to hear more about what the Food & Environment team is up to? Email Leslie Morrison (lmorrison@ucsusa.org) to set up a time to grab coffee and learn about how we’re fighting for a more sustainable food and farming system under this administration.

You can see a full list of UCS events at ESA at this link.

Handbook on Growth and Sustainability Launched

Edited by Peter A. Victor, Professor, York University and Brett Dolter, Post-doctoral Research Fellow, University of Ottawa, Canada
Cover Photo of Handbook on Growth and SustainabilityThis Handbook assembles original contributions from influential authors such as Herman Daly, Paul Ekins, Marina Fischer-Kowalski, Jeroen van den Bergh, William E. Rees and Tim Jackson who have helped to define our understanding of growth and sustainability. The Handbook also presents new contributions on topics such as degrowth, the debt-based financial system, cultural change, energy return on investment, shorter working hours and employment, and innovation and technology. Explorations of these issues can deepen our understanding of whether growth is sustainable and, in turn, whether a move away from growth can be sustained. With issues such as climate change looming large, our understanding of growth and sustainability is critical. This Handbook offers a broad range of perspectives that can help the reader to decide: Growth? Sustainability? Both? Or neither?

Herman Daly and Bernardo Aguilar Awards

At the 9th biennial conference of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, held at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, June 25-28, 2017, the Herman Daly and Bernardo Aguilar Awards were presented to Peter G. Brown and Mary Mellor.

The Herman Daly Award was established in 2003 in honor of one of the visionaries and founders of ecological economics, Herman Daly. The award is designed to recognize outstanding contributions to the field, and acknowledges individuals who have connected ecological economic thinking to practical applications and solutions that are sustainable in scale, equitable in distribution, and efficient in allocation. The award criteria include making visionary contributions to the field of ecological economics and connecting ecological economic thinking to practical applications.

Photo of Peter BrownThe nomination for Dr. Peter G. Brown, Professor at McGill University, Montreal, Quebec, Canada, stated that “his intellectual contributions have ranged from environmental ethics to practical proposals for trusteeship institutions. As a teacher he has inspired many students, at University of Maryland, at McGill, and all over the world through his writings. In addition Peter has been an entrepreneur in founding university programs that embrace and encourage ecological economics, most notably and recently the Economics for the Anthropocene program uniting the efforts of McGill, York, and University of Vermont. And in his spare time, in addition to nurturing students and protecting colleagues, he has planted many thousands of trees!”

The Bernardo Aguilar Award was established in 2007 and is given to a person nominated and selected by students. The award was created to recognize a professional who has inspired students through teaching, research, ideas, and/or mentoring in ecological economics.

Photo of Mary MellorThe nomination for Dr. Mary Mellor, Professor at Northumbria University, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK, stated that “Mary Mellor’s work is highly influential to me. Over a long career she has done a brilliant job of blending ecological, feminist, and monetary issues into a body of work that is unparalleled in any field. Mary’s work is rare in its ability to speak convincingly across many fields to offer an actionable response to the most pressing issues of our time. It is my pleasure to nominate Mary for the Aguilar award as thanks for writing two books that have inspired me more than any others: Debt or Democracy, and The Future of Money.”

Congratulations to both awardees!

Democracy Convention III: August 2-6, Minneapolis

https://www.democracyconvention.org/

The convention will include a workshop on the Genuine Progress Indicator and its relationship to democracy.

“If you want to strengthen democracy where it matters most … in our communities, our schools, our workplaces and local economies, our military, our government, our media, our constitution … you will find something inspiring in Minneapolis, Minnesota this August 2-6, 2017. Join us at the third Democracy Convention.

More than one conference, the Democracy Convention houses many conferences under one roof, as well as cross-conference tracks and plenaries. As the great progressive reformer Fighting Bob La Follette said, “democracy is a life,” and “involves constant struggle” in all sectors of society. With the Democracy Convention, we recognize the importance of each of these separate democracy struggles, as well as the need to unite them all in a common, deeply rooted, broad based, movement for democracy. “

Project Director – Earth Economics

Earth Economics is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization located in Tacoma, Washington with a 20-year track record of innovation and success. Our mission is to quantify and value the benefits nature provides. Our work drives effective decisions and system change through a combination of education, natural capital analysis, and policy recommendations. We are currently seeking a Project Director (PD) to join our team. The PD is responsible for leading client and partner engagements throughout the full lifecycle from concept through research and report publication. Projects will range in topic from ecosystem service valuations to complex benefit-cost analyses, and funding mechanism recommendations. Projects may include small, rapid assessments or multi-year endeavors. In this role, you will help leaders around the world understand, protect, and expand their natural capital to provide safe drinking water, flood protection and many other critical benefits.

Responsibilities and Duties
Duties may include, but are not limited to:
• Define project scope, approach, and budget with input from internal and partner stakeholders
• Assemble and manage project teams of internal and contract resources
• Engage proactively with the partner teams providing regular updates and leading working sessions
• Review published literature, public data, and conduct outreach to subject matter experts
• Write technical reports with input and contributions from multiple team members
• Present results to partners and the public at workshops and conferences
• Participate in national and international conferences, often as a presenter
• Manage all project logistics including schedules, deliverables, tasks, and invoicing
• Participate in business development, fundraising, and strategy development for Earth Economics

Qualifications
• Curious, flexible, and pragmatic with excellent attention to detail
• Experience successfully working within and leading matrixed teams
• Expertise and professional experience in ecological economics and/or benefit-cost analysis
• Excellent written communication including technical reports, presentations and fact sheets
• Strong verbal communication both 1:1 and through professional presentations
• Aptitude for conducting web- and journal-based research and integrating and summarizing information in a concise and timely, manner.
• Strong proficiency with MS Office Suite including Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
• Degree in economics, applied science, or policy relevant to listed responsibilities (masters preferred.)

Other Details
• This position may require up to 25% domestic/international travel depending on project need.
• Positon comes with a robust benefit package including fully paid healthcare.
• Compensation will depend on qualifications.

Interested applicants should submit a cover letter and resume to info@eartheconomics.org with the subject: Project Director Position.

We’re an equal opportunity employer. All applicants will be considered for employment without attention to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, veteran or disability status.