Category Archives: News & Events

Assistant Professor in Biological and Environmental Systems Engineering, Cornell

The Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering (BEE) at Cornell University seeks candidates for a tenure-track position.

They are especially interested in candidates who have demonstrated expertise in investigating interconnected biological and/or environmental systems and will interact widely with colleagues in our department and across the university to build an understanding of the multiple trade-offs and competing objectives that may be present at the systems nexus. 

The successful candidate will establish an innovative, high-profile research program that addresses critical problems of society today. Areas of specific interest include, but are not limited to, sustainable agriculture and/or food systems, food safety and security, and interconnected systems of food/agriculture, energy, water, and climate.

A brief summary of the position is below.

More details on the position and how to apply are available at:
https://academicjobsonline.org/ajo/jobs/14806

Webinar Recording Available: The Green New Deal: What is a reasonable “realism” in the face of an existential threat?

Presented by Eric Kemp-Benedict of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) . 

On October 9th, 2019 Eric Kemp-Benedict, senior scientist at SEI and USSEE member, presented for the USSEE webinar series on the topic of the Green New Deal. You can find Eric’s webinar on the USSEE Youtube page here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt5qF4hh9fA

Eric has also made his slides from the presentation available here

Webinar Abstract: In high-income countries, the first generation likely to be substantially impacted by climate change is coming of age, and they are urging us to action. Greta Thunberg is asking us to please panic, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led the writing of the Green New Deal resolution. Their calls are grounded in appeals to “the science”: the physical mechanisms driving climate change and evidence of impacts from the natural sciences. Meanwhile, William Nordhaus was given the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics for his work on the economics of climate change. His research program has arguably allowed for people to tell us not to panic. Yet, his has not been the only view within economics. In this presentation, I will briefly survey some of the alternatives and present a simple model for exploring broad alternatives. I will then talk about the role of social and institutional trust in making major systemic changes in a time of uncertainty.

Webinar: The Green New Deal: What is a reasonable “realism” in the face of an existential threat?

Presented by Eric Kemp-Benedict of the Stockholm Environment Institute. 
Wednesday October 9th, 1-2pm EDT

In high-income countries, the first generation likely to be substantially impacted by climate change is coming of age, and they are urging us to action. Greta Thunberg is asking us to please panic, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led the writing of the Green New Deal resolution. Their calls are grounded in appeals to “the science”: the physical mechanisms driving climate change and evidence of impacts from the natural sciences. Meanwhile, William Nordhaus was given the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics for his work on the economics of climate change. His research program has arguably allowed for people to tell us not to panic. Yet, his has not been the only view within economics. In this presentation, I will briefly survey some of the alternatives and present a simple model for exploring broad alternatives. I will then talk about the role of social and institutional trust in making major systemic changes in a time of uncertainty.

Eric Kemp-Benedict, a Senior Scientist at the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) and USSEE member, studies the macroeconomics of a sustainability transition. He joined SEI in 1997, where he has contributed to scenario and modeling studies on diverse topics of relevance to sustainability at national, regional, and global levels. Eric led SEI’s Rethinking Development theme during 2011 and 2012, was director of SEI’s Asia Centre from 2013 until 2016, and is a member of SEI’s Global Research Committee. He has a B.S. in physics from the University of Texas in Austin and a Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Boston University, as well as an MAT in secondary physics education from Tufts University.

To register for this free event and get login info, visit Eventbrite, or email ussee2013@gmail.com

Call for Papers: 2nd Annual NBER Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy Conference

NBER is seeking papers or proposals for the second annual NBER conference/publication on Environmental and Energy Policy and the Economy. They will accept six papers for presentation at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on May 21, 2020. The audience will include the professional staffs of government agencies, research institutions, and NGOs focused on energy and environmental policy. The contributed papers will then be published in an annual volume by the University of Chicago Press.

To view last year’s agenda and papers for the forthcoming volume, please click HERE and HERE.

Papers should be relevant to current policy debates in the United States and accessible to a professional audience, yet following standard NBER protocol, they should avoid making policy recommendations. While standalone projects are specifically encouraged, they also welcome spinoff projects where authors intend to later submit a more extensive or technical version to a journal, or may have already done so. While no paper should be a duplicate of another paper, alternate versions that put results into a more general, policy relevant context and summarize them in more accessible language are encouraged. This is a great opportunity to communicate research to the policy community.

Submissions should be either complete papers or 2-3 page abstracts outlining the intended contribution. Submissions are due by October 14, 2019, and can be uploaded at

http://www.nber.org/confsubmit/backend/cfp?id=EEPEs20

Submissions from researchers who are not affiliated with the NBER, and from researchers who are from groups that have been historically under-represented in the economics profession, are welcome. The authors of each paper will share an $8,000 honorarium.

Decisions about accepted papers will be made by mid-November. Complete drafts of papers will be due in early April 2019.

The conference and publication is being organized and edited by Matthew Kotchen (Yale), along with James Stock (Harvard) and Catherine Wolfram (Berkeley)

UVM Launches $4,000 Environmental Writing Prize

Now accepting submissions for Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics

The Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont invites submissions for the inaugural Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics, which celebrates outstanding writing on the environmental limits of our finite planet.

The winning author will receive $4,000, plus financial support for a trip to the University of Vermont for a public campus event in Burlington, VT.

The Zencey Prize will recognize the best current affairs book or long-form journalism that addresses real-world environmental issues using the principles of ecological economics, a field that explores the relationships between economics and Earth’s limited natural resources.

To be eligible, submissions must be published in English, in the years 2018 or 2019, and target a general audience.

The prize is named after Eric Zencey, a pioneering scholar and public intellectual who worked to bring ecological economics outside the academy to understand and address the political, economic, social, and environmental challenges facing society.

“I hope this prize will inspire future generations of environmental writers and ecological economists to communicate real-world solutions beyond ‘the Ivory Tower,’” said Eric Zencey (1954-2019), whose life will be celebrated on Sept. 29.

UVM students and scholars will benefit from the Zencey Prize through educational opportunities, seminars, readings, and events.

“The Gund Institute for Environment is a leader in ecological economics, thanks to the efforts of scholars like Eric Zencey,” said Taylor Ricketts, Director, Gund Institute. “The Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics is an important new prize for the field – and exemplifies Eric’s passion for real-world issues. We thank the Zencey family for their vision and generosity.”

The term “ecological economics” need not appear in submitted works, but the field’s underlying goals – understanding links among ecological, economic and social systems and advancing sustainability, equity, and human well-being – must be evident.

The Zencey Prize is awarded by the Gund Institute, in collaboration with the U.S. Society of Ecological Economics.

Learn more and submit writing to the Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics.

2019 USSEE Award Winners: Jonathan Harris and Mahadev Bhat

The USSEE is excited to announce our 2019 award recipients: Jonathan Harris of Tufts University for the Herman Daly Award, and Mahadev Bhat of Floridan International University for the Bernado Aguilar Award. Dr. Harris and Dr. Bhat were presented with their awards by USSEE president Robert Richardson at the member luncheon of the 10th biennial conference on Wednesday August 14th.

Herman Daly Award

This award is given in honor of Herman Daly, one of the visionaries who founded the field of ecological economics. The award is designed to recognize individuals who have connected ecological economic thinking to practical applications and implementation of solutions that are sustainable in scale, equitable in distribution and efficient in allocation. An ad-hoc Awards committee, composed of USSEE Board members, convenes prior to the biennial conference, no later than February of the conference year. The committee actively seeks nominations for the award, researches the candidates, and makes a recommendation to the USSEE board as a whole. The board then votes on the award. The award is given in conjunction with the US Society for Ecological Economics biennial conference.

The 2019 Herman Daly Award is presented to Dr. Jonathan M. Harris.

Jonathan Harris is a Senior Research Associate with the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University. Dr. Harris is co-author of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach (4th ed., Routledge, 2018) and of Macroeconomics in Context, Principles of Economics in Context, and Microeconomics in Context (Routledge, 2019), author of “Green Keynesianism: Beyond Standard Growth Paradigms” in Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics (Robert Richardson ed., MSU Press 2013); co-editor of Twenty-First Century Macroeconomics: Responding to the Climate Challenge (Edward Elgar, 2009), New Thinking in Macroeconomics: Social and Institutional Perspectives (Edward Elgar, 2003), and of the Frontier Issues in Economic Thought volumes A Survey of Sustainable Development, A Survey of Ecological Economics, and Human Well-Being and Economic Goals. He is also editor of Rethinking Sustainability: Power, Knowledge, and Institutions; author of World Agriculture and the Environment; and co-author of environmental teaching modules on climate change, renewable energy, and environmental issues in macroeconomics. He has served as President of the United States Society for Ecological Economics, and as Adjunct Associate Professor of International Economics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.

 Bernardo Aguilar Award

This award is given in honor of Bernardo Aguilar, a longtime member of ISEE and USSEE, a current member of the ISEE Board, and a former member of the USSEE Board. 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.

The 2019 Bernardo Aguilar Award is presented to Dr. Mahadev G. Bhat.

Dr. Mahadev Bhat is Professor of Natural Resource Economics in the Departments of Earth and Environment and Economics at Florida International University (FIU). Dr. Bhat’s research focuses economic and policy issues relating to natural resources management, including sustainable development, agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources, and ecosystem services valuation. He has more than 250 research articles, book chapters, publications and presentations. He has received research funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Science Foundation, National Parks Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and private foundations. Dr. Bhat has advised more than 30 graduate students and 150 undergraduate students on their research and independent study projects. He co-founded the FIU Agroecology Program with the aid of over 20 different USDA grant programs, which helped train over 400 under-represented students in agricultural and natural resources sciences and prepare them for career and higher education. His USDA-funded grants helped establish a multi-university consortium for training over 150 Hispanic students in South Florida and Puerto Rico. Dr. Bhat co-established the FIU Organic Garden, which serves as a teaching tool in urban and sustainable agriculture. The Garden was designated as a People’s Garden by USDA for having promoted sustainable agriculture education and benefited the FIU student community.

In Memoriam: Frank Ackerman

Economist and longtime member of USSEE Frank Ackerman died on July 15, 2019 at the age of 72. He was an environmentalist and a prolific writer on topics ranging from the economics of climate change to critiques of mainstream economic theory. After graduating from Swarthmore College, he earned a PhD in economics from Harvard University. He is the author of Why do We Recycle?: Markets, Values, and Public Policy (2013, Island Press), and co-author of On Knowing the Price of Everything and the Value of Nothing, with Lisa Heinzerling (2004, The New Press). His most recent book is Worst-Case Economics: Extreme Events in Climate and Finance (2017, Anthem Press). Earlier in July, he wrote his final essay, entitled “Why Economics?”. In this essay, Dr. Ackerman summarizes many of the questions that he pursued in his career:

“Was it worth the intellectual effort to work as an economist? The problems I encountered in economics remain very much with us. We are still stymied by complacence and understatement of inequality, the use of overly mathematical cost-benefit models and low carbon cost estimates to justify bad policy, and miscalculation of current and future risks.”

Dr. Ackerman spent his career at Tellus Institute, the Global Development and Environment Institute at Tufts University, Stockholm Environment Institute, and Synapse Energy Economics, where he advised government agencies and non-governmental organizations on a range of climate, energy, and other environmental policy initiatives. Many of his publications, including papers, op-eds, and information about his books can be found at his website. He published numerous articles in Ecological Economics, and his work has been cited in the journal scores of times. Frank Ackerman’s intellectual contributions to the field of ecological economics are significant, and he will be greatly missed. His obituary was published in the Boston Globe.

Call for Sub-Themes for Degrowth/ISEE Conference, 2020

The 7th International Degrowth and 16th ISEE Joint Conference

Building Alternative Livelihoods in Times of Ecological and Political Crisis

Call​ ​for​ ​sub-themes

We are delighted to announce that the first ever joint conference between the International Degrowth Research Network and the International Society for Ecological Economics will take place 1-5 September 2020 in Manchester, UK. This conference will bring together academics from the Degrowth and Ecological Economics communities, voices from the Global North and Global South, civil society actors, activists, artists and policy-makers. It aims to break down silos and stimulate dialogues between and within different perspectives, disciplines and social movements.

Building Alternative Livelihoods in times of ecological and political crisis is the overarching theme of the conference. Economic systems have always co-evolved with social, environmental and technological systems. The worsening ecological and climate crisis means we must urgently abandon practices of production and consumption that drive ecological degradation and that rely on unsustainable extractivism. We must develop alternative livelihoods which are harmonious with planetary limits and safeguard material living conditions.  We must invent and trial new ways of working, providing for everyone’s needs, caring for each other and democratising the economy. We must seek clarity about the systems of provisioning which will be utilised in a society beyond growth where states and markets play more peripheral roles in the allocation of resources. In short, we must ask what are the alternative livelihoods which ensure the future conditions of societal wellbeing.

The construction of alternative livelihoods entails a radical transformation of economy, culture and society. What are the institutional arrangements which safely provide for basic needs, social stability and democratic legitimacy in the transition to environmental sustainability? How can both social and ecological justice for the populations of the Global North and the Global South be ensured? How can political support be mobilised for the necessary transformations? How can the transition to environmental sustainability be made politically viable and democratically legitimate?

We list below some of the topics that the conference could cover. We also look forward to ideas beyond these, which would expand the geographical and thematic scope of degrowth, as well as advance and further substantiate current debates and dialogue within and between degrowth and ecological economics.

  1. the economy beyond states and markets
  2. the future of employment,  work and care
  3. debates on degrowth, green growth, the circular economy, and decoupling
  4. the democratisation of the economy and alternative models and forms of organisation
  5. the production and conservation of energy
  6. low carbon and low energy futures
  7. forms of decommodification and non-capitalist modes of resource allocation
  8. commoning resources
  9. money, debt and the financial system
  10. financing the (transition to a) post-growth society
  11. monetary and non-monetary measures of prosperity and well-being
  12. a universal basic income or universal basic services
  13. the green new deal
  14. the decentralisation of power
  15. decolonization and feminist economics as challenges to power
  16. post- growth policy-making, law and governance
  17. how to respond to the ethno-nationalist environmentalism and anti-environmentalism of ascendant populist groups
  18. the politics of transitions to sustainability and the lessons to be learned from past socio-economic and cultural transformation
  19. spatial issues: planning, housing and the future of cities
  20. diversity: class, race, gender, abilities
  21. Sustainable Development Goals
  22. conflict resolution processes and socio-ecological transformations
  23. biodiversity, ecosystem services, and sustainable livelihoods
  24. social metabolism
  25. political economy and ecological economics/degrowth
  26. sustainable livelihoods and ecological sufficiency
  27. languages of valuation and ecological conflicts
  28. extractivism, environmental justice and illicit activities
  29. social ecological economics
  30. production and consumption
  31. slow science and degrowth of publication economy
  32. strategies for degrowth transformation: lessons from the Vienna conference

Submission Procedure

There will be two stages for the call for both academic and activist contributions. The first stage is a call for sub-theme conveners. Academics and activists who wish to actively participate in these sub-themes or suggest new sub-themes for inclusion in the conference should submit a proposal by30th September 2019. Descriptions of the sub-themes should speak to the overall conference theme. They should be sent todegrowth2020@manchester.ac.uk

Each sub-theme can go from one to four sessions, with up to four papers or other contributions per session. There are many formats which a session can adopt, including the traditional format of paper presentations with a specific thematic​ ​focus, roundtable discussions, and participatory sessions encouraging reflection on a particular topic using an open format​ ​(e.g.​ ​discussion​ ​workshops,​ ​dialogical/reading/planning​ ​sessions,​ ​walks​, ​etc.). Sub-theme conveners will be given full autonomy and responsibility for the organisation of sub-themes.

Sub-theme conveners should present the following information in their proposal:

  1. theme title;
  2. convenor(s);
  3. presenters/roundtable participants anticipated;
  4. subtheme abstract (1 paragraph, maximum 250 words);
  5. how does this subtheme relate to the overall conference theme (maximum 100 words);
  6. format (paper presentation, round-table debate, etc.);
  7. live or remote or both;
  8. number of 1-2 hour sessions anticipated.

Successful sub theme proposers will hear by 30th October 2019.

Once sub-themes have been selected, we will announce a second deadline for individual abstracts for papers. The main language of the conference is English, but we will review submissions in other languages​ ​also.  For​ ​any​ ​questions,​ ​please​ ​contact​ ​us​ ​at:​ degrowth2020@manchester.ac.uk.

Eric Zencey

Dear all,

With great sadness, we’ve learned that our friend and colleague Eric Zencey has passed away. Eric was an important member of our community for many years, and instrumental to the development and success of the Vermont Genuine Progress Indicator. We will miss him.

A full obituary from Eric’s family is below, and a memorial service is planned for September 29 in VCFA’s Chapel.

Please join me in sending thoughts and best wishes to Eric’s family, friends and colleagues. The family asks that contributions to Eric’s memory be made to the Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics, which Eric himself established at the Gund Institute. We are so proud to be continuing his legacy in this way.

Warm regards,

Taylor

————————————

Taylor Ricketts

Director, Gund Institute for Environment
Gund Professor, Rubenstein School

University of Vermont

Family obituary:

Eric Zencey, professor, writer, and social critic, tireless evangelist for a new way of thinking about humankind’s relationship with nature, died on July 1, at his home in Montpelier. His wife Kathryn Davis, daughter Daphne Zencey, and sister-in-law Anne Davis were at his side. He was 65.

Eric arrived in Vermont in 1980 to teach at Goddard College, and quickly developed a deep love for his adopted state. It was at Goddard where he met Kathryn and where they were married, building a life together and raising their daughter Daphne, first at the white farmhouse in Woodbury, then the red millhouse with the waterfall in East Calais, before finally moving to Montpelier. Eric adored hiking Camels Hump, swimming in #10 Pond, walking with Kathryn and the family dog in Hubbard Park, and kayaking with Daphne at Wrightsville. Every August the family would drive to the north shore of Canada’s Prince Edward Island and spend an idyllic vacation along the warmest waters north of the Carolinas. His visit there in 2018, though delayed by a health crisis, was a highlight of his life’s last year.

While his writing focused for the most part on the subject of ecological sustainability, he was also the author of the best-selling 1995 novel Panama, in which Henry Adams (the subject of his PhD dissertation at Claremont Graduate College) turns detective. In addition toPanama, Eric published three works of non-fiction: Virgin Forest: Meditations on History, Ecology and CultureThe Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy; and Greening Vermont: The Search for a Sustainable State (co-authored with Elizabeth Courtney). Before the final stages of prostate cancer debilitated him, Eric was finishing work on an essay collection, Slumlord Nation, entrusting its completion to his brother Matt.

Eric spent much of his career teaching courses that explored cross-currents among the disciplines of economics, philosophy, political science, history, and ecology; he never gave up trying to disabuse the economics profession of its assumption that a planet with billions of people is physically capable of supporting infinite economic growth. In addition to Goddard College, he taught in Empire State College’s International Program, which required frequent travel to its extension campuses in Prague and Albania. More recently he served as a visiting lecturer in the Sam Fox School of Architecture at Washington University in St. Louis, as well as teaching in the Honors Program at the University of Vermont, where he also was a fellow at the Gund Institute.

Over the years, Eric’s work was recognized and supported by fellowships from the Guggenheim, Bellagio-Rockefeller, and Bogliasco Foundations. His commentaries appeared in several publications, including The New York Times, and he was quoted on National Public Radio and in the Harvard Business Review. He also helped convince Vermont leaders to adopt the GPI (Genuine Progress Indicator), providing a more complete measure of a population’s well-being than the myopic GDP (Gross Domestic Product).

After learning that he had exhausted all treatment options for his cancer, Eric responded with characteristic grace, good humor, and persistence. In the months before his death, he raised more than $100,000 to endow the Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics, to be administered by the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont.

Eric is survived by his wife Kathryn and his daughter Daphne, whose return to Vermont gladdened his heart. He is also survived by his brothers Carl Zencey (wife Susanne) and Matthew Zencey (wife Cindy); sister-in-law Anne Davis (husband Joe Mueller); nephews Gregory, Phillip, Nathan, and Kyle Zencey and Bryan Shaw, and niece Jennifer. He was pre-deceased by his parents, Ruth and Charles Zencey, and older half-brother C. Frank Shaw.

His family is grateful to Central Vermont Home Health and Hospice, and especially for the exceptional care provided by Angie Romero. Contributions in his memory may be made to the Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics, through the University of Vermont Foundation, 411 Main St. Burlington, VT 05401.  A memorial service is planned for September 29 in VCFA’s Chapel.

2019 Board of Director Nominees

The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2019 Board Elections. The following nominees are for 5 available positions: Secretary Treasurer (2 nominees), 2 At-Large Member Positions (5 nominees), Graduate Student Member (1 nominee), and Undergraduate Student Member (2 nominees). Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections will open Sunday June 1st and run through Sunday June 9th. Please note, your ISEE/USSEE membership must be up-to-date to vote!

To vote, use the following link: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLScdeJT8zbQ9xN7sE6oEneb2QjafV2n2km9S0YKDZCmLLG1Z-g/viewform?usp=sf_link

Secretary Treasurer:

John Polimeni

Dr. John Polimeni is an Associate Professor of Economics at the Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences. He received his B.S. in Mathematics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, his M.S. in Economics and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Regulatory Economics from S.U.N.Y. at Albany, and his Ph.D. in Ecological Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His research focuses on the interaction of economic development with the environment. He conducts research on sustainable agriculture, the impact on the environment, public health, and how economic development can result. He also performs research on energy and smart cities technology. He has published over 50 peer-reviewed papers, including three in Ecological Economics, and four books. Additionally, he has taught an Ecological Economics course and given numerous conference presentations, including ISEE and USSEE conferences. John also serves on the Schenectady (N.Y.) City Council and has passed several laws to improve the environment.

Candidacy Statement: I am excited by the possibility of serving the US Society of Ecological Economics as secretary-treasurer. I have experience as treasurer for several non-profit organizations I have served on and would use this experience to perform the duties for USSEE. Our current conditions in the United States and globally requires that the ecological economics community take a leadership role in not only academia but in our public policy. I value the role Ecological Economics has played in fostering sustainability discourse and look forward to using my skills to assist the USSEE and the opportunity to give back to the ecological economics community.

John Sorrentino

John A. Sorrentino is Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. After writing a dissertation on the theory of externalities, he participated in a 1975 multi-disciplinary NASA/Federal Energy Administration summer fellowship program on Energy Conservation. He further cultivated his interest in inter-disciplinary teaching & research as a faculty member in the Temple University Freshman Inter-disciplinary Studies Program in the later 1970s. This program was sponsored by the Mellon Foundation to re-vitalize the undergraduate curriculum. Twenty years later, he co-founded Temple’s Environmental studies program with other natural & social scientists.

John 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 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.

Candidacy Statement: I was a charter member of USSEE, have been on the Scientific Committee of several USSEE conferences, and have served the Society as Secretary-Treasurer for two terms. In those two terms, I have gotten to know the Society fairly well. When the Society could not afford an Executive Director, I did that job as well as that of Secretary-Treasurer. My University has allowed me to use its WebEx platform for USSEE Board meetings and webinars, saving the Society hundreds of dollars per year. With regard to the future of USSEE, I regret that certain groups have splintered away. As a member of the Board’s Membership Committee, however, I still cling to the hope that we can expand our membership as people in mainstream economics & other disciplines realize the potential of ecological economics. I am very happy that President Jim Kahn has engineered a joint conference this year with the Ecological Society of America, and that he has suggested that we reach out to undergraduate students. In a third term, I hope to fine-tune my previous activities and add new ones that promote a bright future for USSEE. Trans-disciplinary is IN! 

Board Member at Large

Mahadev Bhat

Mahadev Bhat

Dr. Mahadev G. Bhat is Professor of Natural Resource Economics in the Departments of Earth and Environment and Economics.  Dr. Bhat’s research focuses economic and policy issues relating to natural resources management, including sustainable development, agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources, and ecosystem services valuation.  He has more than 250 research articles, book chapters, publications and presentations.  He has received research funding from the US Department of Agriculture, National Science Foundation, National Parks Services, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and private foundations.  Dr. Bhat has advised more than 30 graduate students and 150 undergraduate students on their research and independent study projects.  He co-founded the FIU Agroecology Program with the aid of over 20 different USDA grant programs (over TEN million in total), which helped train over 400 under-represented students in agricultural and natural resources sciences and prepare them for career and higher education.  His USDA-funded grants helped establish a multi-university consortium for training over 150 Hispanic students in South Florida and Puerto Rico.  Dr. Bhat co-established the FIU Organic Garden, which serves as a teaching tool in urban and sustainable agriculture.  The Garden was designated as a People’s Garden by USDA for having promoted sustainable agriculture education and benefited the FIU student community.  He also co-established the nationally acclaimed FIU Veterans and Small Farmers Outreach Program to assist prospective and beginning farmers with establishing viable farming and agri-business operations.  He is the recipient of multiple awards: FIU Faculty Senate Awards for Excellence in Service (2010), Teaching (2014) and Engagement (2016); FIU Presidential Award for Excellence (2016); FIU Top Scholar Award (2015); Professor of the Year Award (by the 2015 Class of Professional Science Master in Environmental Policy and Management); Best Course Award (by the 2016 Class of Professional Science Master in Environmental Policy and Management).  Dr. Bhat received his Ph.D. from the University of Tennessee and M.S. from the University of Agricultural Sciences, Dharwad, India.

Candidacy Statement: As a founding member of USSEE since 1999, I have made ecological economics and sustainable resource management a unifying theme of my teaching, research, and community engagement portfolio.  My research focuses on understanding how users manage and value natural resources in an economically rational fashion under different ecological and institutional constraints.  My two papers in Ecological Economics investigated how well-intended intellectual property rights bestowed on private industries might lead to unavoidable extinction of scarce biological resources and work against communities that are key to conserving such resources.  In a more recent work on the ecosystem services valuation along with my graduate student, I demonstrate the potential of ecological economics research for contributing to national debate on climate change mitigation. 

Some of the works I did in Africa, Asia and South Florida have made significant impacts on real-life decision making, resource management and awareness creation.  My work on ecosystem services valuation (particularly, carbon storage in the Florida Everglades) was featured in more than 30 local, national and international news and popular media, contributing to intense policy debate.  As part of a USAID-funded research project, I had the opportunity to develop a major implementation guide on Payment for Environmental Services for practitioners, which development and environmental agencies like USAID and the World Wildlife Fund used for agency personnel training in Africa.  This work particularly focused on building grass-root level community and market institutions to provide sustainable, self-funded solutions to major ecological problem facing the Mara River basin (water and wildlife conservation).  In the past, I engaged several master’s students for field research in India concerning biofuel, watershed development and mangroves restoration.  Along with a graduate student who participated in this latter study on mangroves, I not only co-published the work in a journal, but also helped develop a grant proposal that lead to reforesting of mangroves in the west coast of India with 40,000 seedlings and the help of a local NGO.

For the last one year, serving on the Board of USSEE, I have learned quite a bit about opportunities and challenges that our organization is faced with.  I keep asking myself why our membership has shrunk over the years although ecological economics as a discipline has a wide appeal to many other cognate disciplines including ecology, environmental economics, developmental economics, sustainability sciences, etc.  My goal is to take an active role in contributing to increase our membership base by reaching out to sister organizations and inter-disciplinary researchers and professionals.  The work USSEE is doing this year in reaching out to Ecological Society of America and holding the joint conference is a great beginning.  I hope to continue to be part of that inter-disciplinary and inter-organizational dialogue. 

James Casey

James F. Casey is Associate Professor of Economics at Washington and Lee University.  His teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of environment and development with a particular focus on understanding tourists’ preferences for environmental quality in coastal and marine ecosystems.  He has 20 years of experience as a liberal arts educator and has been conducting research in Latin America and the Caribbean for more than 22 years.  He has published widely in the fields of environmental and ecological economics in such prestigious journals as Ecological Economics, Marine Policy, Ocean and Coastal Management, and the Journal of Environmental Management.  Professor Casey considers himself to be an environmental social scientist and is always willing to incorporate alternative perspectives to improve his understanding of the natural world and how humans value nature.

Candidacy Statement: As a candidate for the USSEE Board my primary objective would be to increase undergraduate student involvement.  According to the USSEE website there are only a handful of undergraduate programs currently involved in USSEE and I think this should and can be expanded significantly.  Undergraduate participation through student chapters is something I am currently working on as a member of NEA and it is something I am passionate about bringing to the board at USSEE.  Of course, continuing the great work of promoting and expanding the reach of ecological economics that is currently taking place at the USSEE will be important to me, but expanding undergraduate programs will be my emphasis.

David Martin

After earning his B.A. in Economics at DePauw University, Dave earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Economics at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign before starting at Davidson College’s Department of Economics.  He teaches a broad range of courses, including Introductory Economics, Statistics, Environmental and Natural Resource Economics, and the Economics of Conservation Biology.  Dave is a co-founder and a core faculty member of the College’s Environmental Studies Department for which he teaches Environmental Social Science and its senior research capstone.  Much of his recent professional activity has been devoted to facilitating the research efforts of his junior colleagues and his students; one paper on worker protection standards for pesticide exposure was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, one on the impacts of the Davidson College Farm is under submission, and one on the socioeconomic distribution of an urban tree canopy is being prepared for a conference this winter.  He is continuing his research interest in valuing the impacts of the Panchana Dam upstream of the Keoladeo National Park and its satellite wetlands in India, and he is working on developing a textbook on the economics of conservation biology.  Over the past year, Dave has enjoyed being challenged by Paolo Bacigalupi’s The Windup Girl and The Water Knife and by N.K. Jemisin’s The Broken Earth trilogy.

Candidacy Statement: I welcome this opportunity to pay back some of what USSEE has offered to me over the years.  As someone trained in the neoclassical tradition, I have found that the people involved with USSEE have consistently and valuably offered to me and to others the insights and the opportunities to develop into ecological economists.  This support is not simply about c.v. building activities; it is about the conversations that people have.  This support has allowed me to develop so that I can effectively teach Environmental Social Science (not just economics) in an environmental studies program that is interdisciplinary across the humanities, natural sciences, and social science.  Beyond continuing these supportive opportunities, as a Board member I would relish the opportunity to help develop the new generation of ecological economists by creating opportunities for undergraduates to present their ecological economics research.  This might involve sessions at future USSEE meetings or perhaps at USSEE sponsored sessions at conferences of other organizations, such as the Society for Conservation Biology and/or the Association for Environmental Studies and Sciences (I am a member of both groups).

Regina Ostergaard-Klem

Regina Ostergaard-Klem is an Associate Professor of Environmental Science in the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Hawaii Pacific University (HPU) in Honolulu, Hawaii. She holds a BS in Industrial Engineering from Lehigh University, and both an MS in Environmental Engineering and a PhD in Systems Analysis and Economics for Public Decision Making from The Johns Hopkins University.  From 1994-1995, she was a Fulbright Scholar in Lodz, Poland. After completing graduate school, Ostergaard-Klem was a Science and Diplomacy Fellow with the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) in Washington, DC.  Prior to coming to HPU, she worked as an environmental policy advisor at the US Agency for International Development (USAID). There she managed urban environmental and energy projects throughout different regions of the world.
Candidacy Statement: At HPU, Dr. Ostergaard-Klem teaches in both the undergraduate level Environmental Science/Studies program and the master’s program in Global Leadership and Sustainable Development.  Her teaching is concentrated in the fields of ecological economics, sustainable human systems, industrial ecology, and environmental policy. She is a co-developer of “GPI Island Style,” the application of the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) at the state level in Hawaii. As an extension of that work, Ostergaard-Klem collaborates with partners across the state on several initiatives, including efforts to develop a state sustainability dashboard and incorporating the UN Sustainable Development Goals at the local level in Hawaii.  

Are we preparing sufficient numbers of well-equipped sustainability professionals to meet the challenges that lie ahead? As an educator and former director of a graduate sustainability program, I am constantly asking myself that question. Teaching ecological economics for the last ten years, the nexus between ecological economics and sustainability education is obvious to me. Yet translating ecological economics theory into practical applications to best cultivate the sustainability competencies of my students is challenging. The potential to strengthen the inherent connection between the two fields is tremendous.

I have been a member of USSEE/ISEE since 2013 and I regularly attend and participate in USEE and ISEE conferences.  During the 2016 ISEE meeting in Washington, DC, I coordinated a session on teaching ecological economics from principles to practice.  I was elected to the USSEE Board in June 2017 and serve as a co-chair of the Board’s Curriculum Committee. In this role, I have continued to advocate for ecological economics education by recruiting webinar speakers, coordinating with other organizations such as the Association for Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and co-developing a workshop entitled “Building Bridges in a Full World: How to Teach Ecological Economics Across the Disciplines” that we will deliver at the upcoming ESA-USSEE joint conference in August 2019.

I feel that my strengths and experiences can help USSEE create a stronger role for ecological economics in the training and education of the next generation of sustainability professionals. However, education is just one of many important, relevant roles for USSEE.  If I am re-elected and along with other members of the board, I hope to similarly build or strengthen other connections, like that between researcher and practitioner communities or between USSEE and other stakeholders, according to the priorities set by USSEE members. Thank you for your consideration.

Susan Santone

Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with 25 years of experience in curriculum reform, educational policy, and sustainability. An instructor at the University of Michigan School of Education (and formerly, Eastern Michigan University), she’s designed and taught graduate- and undergraduate courses on education reform, multicultural education, and social justice, the social/political foundations of education, and teaching ecological economics, and curriculum design.

She is the author of Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability, as well as articles and book chapters on educating for sustainability, teaching ecological economics, and countering neoliberal influences in education. Through Creative Change Educational Solutions, the nonprofit she founded, she led teacher education and curriculum reform initiatives with clients ranging from K-12 districts to universities to the United Nations.

Candidacy Statement: I have been a member of USSEE and ISEE for ten years. During that time, I have presented at three US conferences, the International conference (Puebla, 2018), and the Canadian conference (May 2019). I’ve also provided a webinar and written a blog for USSEE. With a background in curriculum design, teacher education, and educational reform, I’ve focused on how to bring ecological economics to audiences outside of the field: K-12 teachers, university instructors in other fields, policymakers, and the general public.

My work in the eco-economics space emphasizes ways to teach and communicate about its root concepts while contrasting them with neoclassical ideas, e.g., homo economics vs. self-in-community, individualism vs. interdependence, and qualitative vs. quantitative concepts of success. My book, Reframing the Curriculum, frames these ideas in terms of overarching narratives and how the underlying assumptions play out not only in society, but also in educational policy and practice. Having used the metaphor of narrative in my courses and workshops, I’ve been able to make complex ideas understandable to a range of audiences.

Perhaps more importantly, the framing helps people uncover widely-shared goals and values of sustainability (such as healthy communities and democracy), creating a message that is embraced by people across the political spectrum. This is why, if elected, I would like to focus on communication and education beyond the academy. The urgency of environmental and social problems means we must not only bring eco-economics to policymakers, citizens, and other stakeholders, but do so in ways that cut through loaded jargon and speak to common values. If elected, I believe I can best advance these aims through the policy committee.

If you would like to learn more about my work, I invite you to visit my webite, where you’ll find my background, blog, and more. Thank you for taking the time to read this and for the opportunity to be considered for the board.

Graduate Student Board Member

Andrew Gerard

Andrew Gerard is a PhD Candidate in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University, where he is also pursuing a PhD major in Environmental Science and Policy. His research focuses on institutional and economic issues related to agriculture and food systems. Current research activities include studying (1) policies related to coffee production and marketing in Rwanda and Burundi, (2) voluntary coffee sourcing standards, and (3) food system governance in shrinking, post-industrial cities such as Flint, Michigan. While pursuing his PhD, Andrew served as director of MSU’s Academy for Global Engagement, a program that provides early and mid-career MSU faculty members with opportunities to collaborate and conduct research internationally. In 2018 Andrew won the Malcolm and Ann Kerr Award for Excellence in Scholarship. This award allowed him to serve as instructor of record for the MSU undergraduate course International Development and Sustainability, which featured concepts from ecological economics.

Prior to coming to MSU, Andrew was a Senior Program Officer at the Global Knowledge Initiative, a non-profit international development organization based in Washington, DC. There he built collaborative research networks and supported science and technology policy programs in East and Southern Africa. Andrew has a Bachelor of Science in Behavioral Sciences from Andrews University and a Master of Public Policy from Georgetown University.

Candidacy Statement: I am interested in serving as a USSEE Graduate Student Board Member because of my academic engagement in ecological economics and desire to become more involved in and support the mission of USSEE. 

I believe that my perspective as a graduate student, and my experiences and skills can benefit USSEE. If elected, I specifically hope to leverage my experience in project management and fundraising (from before and during my PhD) in support of USSEE’s mission.  In addition, I will support USSEE in conducting outreach to graduate students who may be interested in joining the organization or attending the USSEE Conference. During my PhD experience, I have met many students who are interested in concepts related to ecological economics, but who may not know about USSEE or understand the benefits of joining. Finally, I will advocate for the interests and needs of graduate students within USSEE. As a parent of a young child, I understand some of the constraints and challenges that face graduate students. I will look for opportunities to use my experience and the experience of my peers to enhance USSEE’s outreach activities and services provided to grad students.

Undergraduate Student Board Member

Kristen Boligitz

Kristen Boligitz is an undergraduate majoring in economics at Temple University. Since serving as the Sustainability Representative for her residence hall during her first year of school, Kristen has had an interest in the environment, especially in regards to programming and urban settings. She has also participated in two week-long service immersion trips to eastern Kentucky. There, she learned about the environmental impact of the coal industry and became interested in how to balance human interests with environmental regulations. Last summer, Kristen served as an intern on Capitol Hill for Congressman Brendan Boyle where she helped with researching and drafting legislation regarding topics such as PFAS and water pollution. Her research interests lie in the intersections of economics, policy, the environment, human behavior, and social justice. Outside of her interests in sustainability, Kristen has been involved in the Temple Economics Society, Pennsylvania Innocence Project, and Temple Refugee Outreach. She is interested in being a part of USSEE because of its emphasis on exchanging information and advancing practical solutions regarding sustainability. Kristen hopes to use her perspective as a student to help expand the influence of ecological economics and act as a bridge between students and the professional community.

Emma Rice

Emma Rice is an undergraduate student at Michigan State University working towards a Bachelor’s degree in Environmental Economics and Management with minors in Environmental Studies and Sustainability and in Science, Technology, and Environment Public Policy. Rice is heavily involved with the Department of Agriculture, Food, and Natural Resource Economics (AFRE) at MSU. She is the Vice President and co-founder of the Sustainable Business Association, an undergraduate student organization within AFRE, works as a class grader for two professors in the course: Decision Making in the Agri-Food System, and is conducting undergraduate research on the implications of vote-buy gaps in recent animal welfare and GMO ballot initiatives advised by Dr. Melissa McKendree. Rice will present this research at the Agricultural and Applied Economics Association Annual Meeting this summer of 2019. Rice also works as in the lab of Dr. C. Robin Buell in MSU’s Department of Plant Biology as an administrative and laboratory assistant and has conducted experiments with DNR, running Polymerase Chain Reactions and Gel Electrophoresis. Rice spent last summer in the field working for the MSU Department of Horticulture as a research assistant on a sustainable vegetable agriculture cover crop project. Rice is interested in the intersection between agriculture and environmental sustainability. Rice plans to attend graduate school in order to obtain a Master’s degree in applied economics, then hopes to pursue a career in environmental policy. This summer, Rice will be in Washington DC for an environmental policy internship with the Federal Government.

Candidacy Statement: I am interested in joining the United States Society for Ecological Economics because I would like to increase my exposure to the academic environment of ecological economics to prepare myself for graduate school. The interest areas covered by USSEE members align perfectly with the type of research I hope to get involved with in the future. I believe that undergraduate engagement in such organizations is extremely beneficial to inform students on research opportunities and graduate school opportunities many may not know are available. Furthermore, participation enables undergraduates to enhance their education and facilitates networking and other unique opportunities. I am excited by the chance to serve as the Undergraduate Student Member on the USSEE Board and am thankful for your consideration.