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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.

Call for Board Member Nominations

Dear USSEE Community,

The USSEE Board of Directors invites you to nominate candidate(s) for the Board of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics. The election will be held in late May and we are seeking nominations for the following positions by May 10th. You are welcome to self-nominate.

Nominations are for the following 5 positions with terms beginning June 1st, 2019:

·  Secretary Treasurer

·  Board Members at Large (2 members)

·  Graduate Student Member

·  Undergraduate Student Member

The Undergraduate Student Member Position is a new position that we hope to fill for the first time this year. Candidates for student representative must be an active student member of the society (requiring the individual to be enrolled at least half time at an institution of higher education) and have a desire to be engaged in the field of ecological economics and help USSEE fulfill our purposes, which include: the advancement of understanding of the relationships between ecological systems and economic systems, and the application of this understanding to the mutual well-being of nature and people, especially that of the most vulnerable, now and in the future. The representative will serve as a voice for the undergraduate student perspective on the board of directors, helping us to better train, reach, and retain the next generation of ecological economists. We see the role of the student representative to help USSEE connect with students across our regional networks and bring those topics to the board for consideration, as well as help the Society to expand our reach to students engaged in the study and practice of ecological economics.  Activities and initiatives could include helping to organize student research highlights on the blog, coordinating student events on ecological economics at different universities, and hosting networking events for students at biennial conferences. Please help us in circulating this notice among your student networks or suggesting outstanding students for this position.

Names or inquiries for all positions can be submitted to ussee2013@gmail.com.

Thank you in advance for your consideration and suggestions,

The USSEE Board of Directors

USSEE @ SEA 2019: Call for papers

The United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE) will organize sessions in ecological economics at the 89th annual meeting of the Southern Economic Association (SEA), to be held in Fort Lauderdale, FL at the Fort Lauderdale Marriott Harbor Beach Resort & Spa, November 23-25, 2019 (Saturday to Monday) (www.southerneconomic.org/conference/). We are seeking 8 to 12 papers to organize two to three USSEE@SEA sessions in ecological economics. Proposals for full sessions as well as individual presentations will be considered. Please send the abstracts or complete sessions to Robert Richardson (rbr@msu.eduby April 10, 2019, and we will organize the USSEE sessions and submit directly to the SEA. Please list all authors and full contact information for each author on the abstract page.

Feel free to contact Robert Richardson at rbr@msu.edu with any questions.

Call for Nominations: Herman Daly Award and Bernardo Aguilar Award

The USSEE Board of Directors is soliciting nominees for two awards (the Herman Daly Award and Bernardo Aguilar Award) to be given in conjunction with the 2019 ESA & USSEE Joint Meeting, to be held August 11th-16th in Louisville, Kentucky.

The deadline for nominations is May 1st. Details on award criteria and submissions are below:

  • 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 the following:
    • made visionary contributions to the field of ecological economics
    • connected ecological economic thinking to practical applications
    • created conceptual frameworks and practical solutions to sustainability challenges
    • identified policies and processes that  advance social and environmental sustainability
    • advanced the recognition of scale as an essential part of sustainability
    • advanced distributive justice and social consciousness as an essential part of sustainability
    • contributed to conservation and the just allocation of resources

A list of past Daly Award winners can be found at
http://www.ussee.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/03/Past-Herman-Daly-Award-Winners.pdf

Please send nominations to ussee2013@gmail.com by May 1st. Nominations should include the name, affiliation and contact information of your nominee, and a brief statement describing the nominee’s qualifications for the Herman Daly Award. The Board will review all nominations and select the recipient.

  • 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.

Please circulate to students! Students can submit nominations to ussee2013@gmail.com by May 1st. Nominations should include the name, affiliation and contact information of your nominee, and a brief statement describing the nominee’s qualifications for the Bernardo Aguilar Award. The Board will compile the nominations and call for a student vote to select the award winner.

February webinar: Gross Domestic Welfare: Comprehensively Measuring Income

Wednesday February 27th, 1pm EST.

Gross Domestic Welfare: Comprehensively Measuring Income, with pilot accounts for the U.S. and California.

Presented by Eli Lazarus, PhD student, UC Berkeley Energy and Resources Group 

In order to better understand, track and optimize welfare, we need assessments of comprehensive welfare. Various initiatives attempt this; from GDP and other standard national accounts, to the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), metrics like the U.N. Development Program’s Human Development Index, the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs’ Sustainable Development Goals, and Bhutan’s Gross Happiness Index. Gross Domestic Welfare (GDW) attempts to fill a gap in this research and these projects. GDW builds from the Genuine Progress Indicator, and from efforts to assess the full welfare contribution of ecosystem services and other non-market elements such as leisure. Elements that contribute to human welfare are incorporated as comprehensively as possible, valued in currency terms as a common unit, with shadow prices from valuation research where necessary. GDW differs from GPI in removing: historical and regional benchmarks; the boundary of impacts of the industrial economy; and a ‘standard’ and limited set of elements.

Initial pilot accounts are being built assessing California and the United States over the period 1995 to 2016. I will present these initial results, comparing them to GSP/GDP, and GPI accounts for CA and the US recently completed for the same period. I will present the framework, theory, and methods of Gross Domestic Welfare, and look forward to a robust discussion, including limitations, challenges, and priority steps forward.

To Register, email ussee2013@gmail.com, or visit Evenetbrite at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/ussee-webinar-gross-domestic-welfare-comprehensively-measuring-income-tickets-55840319900

December 5th Webinar: Advancing the Integration of Ecosystem Services and Livelihood Adaptation

Presented by Dr. Elizabeth G King

Wednesday December 5th, 1pm EST
The concept of ecosystem services has become a cornerstone in dialogues and policymaking in conservation, natural resource management, and sustainable development. Most methods for ascribing values to the benefits provided by ecosystems are based on a conceptual “flow model” in which natural capital yields services, which in turn yield valued benefits to people. However, in sectors such as rural development and urban planning, there are increasingly vocal criticisms of outcomes that arise when decisions based on optimizing ecosystem services are put in to practice. In this talk, I will examine two limitations of mainstream conceptualizations of ecosystem service flows, and some methodological tools and cutting edge research from other disciplines that can help overcome those limitations. The first limitation is a failure to account for the range of capabilities that people need in order to co-create ecosystem services, and the second is a failure to formally consider how the benefits and values are distributed among members and segments of society. Principles from Sustainable Livelihood Analysis and the nascent field of adaptation studies can complement ecosystem service analyses and valuations to give more holistic and realistic understandings of ecosystem service flows and who benefits from them.

To register for this free event, use the eventbrite link here, or email ussee2013@gmail.com

Gund Institute creates Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics

Prize to celebrate best writing on planet’s environmental limits

The Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont is pleased to announce the creation of the Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics to celebrate the best writing on the environmental limits of our finite planet.

The prize is supported by a growing endowment, established with generous contributions by family, friends and colleagues of Zencey, a pioneering scholar in ecological economics, a field that explores the relationships between economics and our planet’s limited natural resources.

[Friends and colleagues seeking to support the Eric Zencey Prize can make donations and pledges online.]

“My sincere hope is that this Prize will help nudge our civilization onto a better path—one that arrives purposefully at an ecologically sustainable relationship between society and nature,” says Eric Zencey. “It’s important to me that the ideas we foster here in the Academy get to work in the world.  I hope this prize will inspire future generations of environmental writers and ecological economists to communicate real-world solutions beyond ‘the Ivory Tower.’”

Valued at $4,000 USD, the Eric Zencey Prize will be awarded every two years to the best English-language current affairs book or work of long-form journalism that advances public understanding of ecological economics’ principles by using them as an explanatory lens on current affairs. The Gund Institute and the United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE) will partner to solicit nominations and select the inaugural recipient by 2020.

“This is an excellent legacy for Eric, and an important new prize for the field of Ecological Economics,” says Taylor Ricketts, Director, Gund Institute for Environment. “We thank the Zencey family for their vision and generosity.”

Learn more or give to the Eric Zencey Prize for Ecological Economics. Share this announcement online. Learn about Gund efforts in Ecological Economics, including funded PhD opportunities.

BACKGROUND

Born in Delaware, and holding a PhD in political philosophy and the history of science, Zencey is a writer, teacher, and public intellectual. At the University of Vermont and Washington University of St. Louis, Zencey has worked to bring ecological economics outside the academy to understand and address the political, economic, social, and environmental challenges facing society.

Zencey is author of four books, including The Other Road to Serfdom and the Path to Sustainable Democracy and (with Elizabeth Courtney) Greening Vermont: Towards a Sustainable State. His first book was the internationally best-selling novel and New York Times Notable Book of the Year, Panama. His writing has appeared in media outlets ranging from The New York Times and Chronicle of Higher Education to Adbusters. He has been a featured contributor to The Daly News, which honors the work of steady-state economist Herman Daly. Zencey has received Fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Rockefeller-Bellagio Foundation and the Bogliasco Foundation.

In Vermont and Missouri, Zencey has been a pioneer in the compilation of and advocacy for the Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), a more comprehensive measure of economic, social and environmental health than GDP. His efforts led to Vermont becoming one of the first states in the nation to adopt GPI measurement.

Zencey’s affiliations at UVM include the Gund Institute, the Political Science Dept., the Honors College, the Center for Research on Vermont, and the Center for Rural Studies. At Washington University, his appointments include teaching and research positions in the College of Architecture and Urban Planning at the Sam Fox School for Design and Visual Art.

ABOUT THE GUND INSTITUTE

The Gund Institute for Environment catalyzes environmental research, develops real-world solutions to global issues, and connects with leaders in government, business and beyond. Based at the University of Vermont, the Institute has 150 faculty, global affiliates, graduate students and post-docs who focus on environmental issues at the interface of four pressing themes: climate solutions, health and well-being, sustainable agriculture, and resilient communities.

Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) Graduate Student Research Symposium

Dear colleagues,

Please join me for an Economics for the Anthropocene (E4A) Graduate Student Research Symposium this Saturday, October 13, from 9 am to 2 pm eastern standard time.  Our symposium is an outgrowth of the E4A partnership supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, McGill University, York University, the University of Vermont, and over 20 institutional partners and 80 individual collaborators from around the world.  Presentation topics are summarized in the attached symposium agenda, including research on the energy-economy interface, human values in human-Earth bonds, food systems transitions, resilience in watershed communities, and socio-economic reform of economic institutions.

The symposium will be broadcast live via Zoom at: https://zoom.us/j/781591328.  Short, high-level presentations will be organized into five one-hour sessions, and you can come and go at your leisure.  Written questions can be addressed to our presenters via an online chat window throughout each session.

Thank you for your interest in our work, and we hope to see you virtually this Saturday.

-Jon Erickson

USSEE People @ ISEE-2018

The following was written by the three attendees enclosed in ( ). The conference program may be found at http://15th-isee2018.uam.mx/ .

In the morning of 10 September 2018, the ISEE folks attended a joint session that began the proceedings and allowed the attendees to hear the voices of representatives of indigenous peoples. In the first set of parallel sessions, Brent Haddad presented on defining the field of ecological economics, Jim Kahn spoke on integrating economic, energy, and environment policy in Tunisia, Robby Richardson discussed ecosystem services and climate change in Mali and Paul Bartlett put forth on emerging chemicals of concern. In another building, Rich Howarth presented on deliberative methodologies for ecosystem service valuation, work which is a collaboration with Georgia Mavrommati. After lunch, ecological footprint efficiency by consumption category was the topic of Eli Lazarus. Josh Farley discussed finance for a just and sustainable future, and ecological economics education for sustainability. (John Sorrentino)

The second day of the ISEE conference consisted of two parallel sessions with multiple tracks, one thematic session on Ecological Economics research (in Spanish), the plenary session on Agroecology, the ISEE assembly in the evening and the banquet with award ceremony. The morning and evening parallel sessions covered wide ranging ecological-economics topics and geographic regions, including bioenergy, carbon credit, species extinction, urban sustainability, sustainable agriculture, etc. USSEE member John Sorrentino presented on behalf of Jonathan Harris a paper on how to respond to ecological and economic deficits in a morning session. The conference featured several sessions in Spanish only so that Spanish speaking audience could fully participate in the conference. The Agroecology plenary session featured thoughtful debate between the academicians and practitioners of agroecology. Remi Cruset of FAO introduced to the audience their ongoing efforts on conducting international and regional stakeholders seminars in agroecology in different parts of the world. These regional seminars provide forums for experts, agencies, farmers and other stakeholders to exchange ideas on emerging concepts and practices of agroecology as a way to build the discipline from bottom up. Other panel members, namely Omar Giraldo (Colombia), Maria Noel Salgao (Uruguay) and Adelita San Vicente (México), who represented various grassroot organizations, challenged researchers and academies to think about creating a level-playing field for agroecology-based production system along with modern agriculture. ISEE President Clóvis Cavalcanti welcomed the participants at the Society’s assembly. President-Elect Joshua Farley presented a number of ideas on the future directions of the Society and how to expand its membership and their participation in Society’s activities, including international and regional conferences. There were a number of suggestions made by the meeting participants in order to increase participation by industries and stakeholders. The President of the the Russian Society for Ecological Economics presented a proposal for hosting the 2020 ISEE International Conference in Moscow, Russia. The ISEE Board will consider the merit of this proposal and will make a decision later. USSEE President James Kahn expressed concerns that he finds it uncomfortable attending the meeting in Russia, a country that has openly criminalized LGBT members. He further commented that being an organization that supports social justice, USSEE should not support a meeting in Russia. The evening banquet featured the presentation of 2018 Kenneth E. Boulding Memorial Award to Dr. Inge Røpke, in recognition of her long-term efforts on behalf of ISEE and European Society for Ecological Economics, as well as her contributions to the field of Ecological Economics. Her work focuses on sustainable transitions with a particular emphasis on the essential role of financial institutions and the banking system. (Mahadev Bhat)

The first set of parallel sessions on the final morning of the conference saw Mahadev Bhat speak on a solidarity economy for labor supply, technological improvement, and resource management in agriculture. Eli Lazarus presented on a comprehensive measure of income in California. Joshua Farley moderated a thematic session on a research agenda in ecological economics with Inge Røpke, Sabine O’Hara, Katie Kish, Richard Howarth. In the afternoon, Christina Estela Brown presented on valuing recreational ecosystem services under climate risk in the Florida Everglades. Anders Hayden revisited the subject of his webinar, alternative indicator metrics to move beyond GDP. John Sorrentino presented on tradeoffs in residential development in two Philadelphia-area watersheds, and Nicholas Charles presented on water resources in Karnataka, India. In the evening, the final plenary roundtable of the conference was on the topic of a social and solidarity economy of workers. This was followed by the closing ceremony, a demonstration of traditional cultural dance throughout Mexico’s history, from indigenous to colonial to modern times, and finally a closing toast. (Christina Estela Brown)

Maryland’s Experience in Measuring “Genuine Progress”

Anders Hayden

Associate Professor, Dalhousie University

anders.hayden@dal.ca

 

Gross National Product “measures neither our wit nor our courage, neither our wisdom nor our learning, neither our compassion nor our devotion to our country, it measures everything in short, except that which makes life worthwhile. And it can tell us everything about America except why we are proud that we are Americans,” Robert F. Kennedy, 1968.

“I always remembered that quote,” said former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, explaining one reason why he supported introduction of a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI). His administration began calculating the GPI in 2010 to complement but not replace GDP. By including monetary estimates for a range of environmental, social, and economic costs and benefits ignored in GDP calculations, the GPI provides a more comprehensive picture of wellbeing.

The idea that the state should examine alternative prosperity indicators came from Maryland’s Office for a Sustainable Future and its sustainability policy director, Sean McGuire, who was trained in ecological economics at the University of Maryland (where, years earlier, Herman Daly had developed the GPI’s predecessor, the Index of Sustainable Economic Welfare). While moving beyond GDP as the leading prosperity measurement has been, for some supporters, a key part of the project of dethroning economic growth as the dominant societal priority, the idea has also gained ground in recent years in the political mainstream among those who see it as a tool for better policymaking without directly questioning the growth paradigm.

In our recent article on the Maryland GPI, Jeff Wilson and I examine the following questions: What have the impacts been of Maryland’s GPI initiative? Is there any evidence to date that the GPI has shaped policy and public priorities in ways that live up to supporters’ expectations, whether for better policymaking or more radical transformation? What key obstacles exist to fulfilling those expectations? To answer these questions, we draw on semi-structured interviews with elite respondents—including Governor O’Malley, senior public servants, academics, non-governmental organization employees and foundation leaders—involved in producing, advocating and using the GPI, along with analysis of relevant documents and media articles.

We found that Maryland’s GPI initiative revealed promising possibilities for policymaking that gives greater weight to ecological and social considerations—potentially helping to level the playing field that has been tilted toward conventional economic values—although these possibilities are still some way from being fully realized.

The GPI can help to show net societal benefits of policies such as investing in public transit, increasing the minimum wage and reducing GHGs—giving policymakers and advocates additional ammunition for political battles over such issues. In other words, the potential for what some theorists call the “political use” of indicators was evident with Maryland’s GPI.

Less evident so far is any direct impact of the GPI on policy decisions—or “instrumental use.”

Indeed, researchers have often struggled to find evidence of direct policy impacts from other “beyond-GDP” measurement initiatives around the world and from sustainable-development indicators.

To their credit, key players working on the Maryland GPI took steps not only to produce a new indicator, but also explore how to integrate it into policymaking. Some GPI-impact analysis of policy ideas occurred within the state bureaucracy. The non-governmental Center for a Sustainable Economy also produced a prototype “GPI note” on the GPI impacts of a minimum-wage increase (Talberth 2014), providing a more complete picture than a conventional fiscal note outlining a proposed policy’s effect on government finances. One promising offshoot of the GPI initiative was a pilot study of the use of Net Present Value Plus (NPV+) analysis, which goes beyond conventional cost-benefit analysis to include, like the GPI, social and environmental considerations that typically go uncounted. It showed, for example, that when the value of ecosystem services are considered, the state would derive more value from purchasing wetlands and forests and protecting them than by allowing sprawling suburban development (GFN 2015).

One main obstacle in Maryland was that the clock ran out on officials who were working behind the scene on innovative GPI applications before a new Republican governor took office in 2015. (Although there has been, in one interviewee’s words, a “de-emphasis on the use of the GPI” since 2015, the state’s Department of Natural Resources has maintained its GPI web pages and continued some GPI work.) Other obstacles included the commonplace challenge of resistance to new ideas, including some bureaucratic resistance; the need for training to use the GPI and related policy tools; and concerns over cost and time involved in producing the data needed to apply the GPI to policy decisions.

Although both the initiative itself and political opposition to it had a low profile, ideologically driven opposition could be found on the margins of public debate.  For example, former Republican Governor Robert Ehrlich (2015) called the GPI “liberal snake-oil for what ails anti-business states,” while another right-wing critic went further, likening it to the “propaganda” that supported Lenin’s New Economic Policy and Mao’s Great Leap Forward (Pettit 2012). Should the GPI or other beyond-GDP indicators become more prominent and shift policy decisions in a greener and more socially progressive direction, they will likely attract more fire from opponents, suggesting a need for further work to build up the base of political support for alternative prosperity measurements.

The Maryland case also raises some questions about the GPI’s own limits, especially for those who hope that moving beyond GDP can support a post-growth, post-consumerist economic narrative. While GPI is an improvement in important ways on the use—or misuse—of GDP as a wellbeing measurement, it remains dominated by personal consumption expenditures. This can lead to surprising results. In 2015, for example, Maryland saw increased costs from income inequality, crime, and environmental degradation, including a 3 percent increase in greenhouse gas emissions. Yet the GPI rose nearly 4 percent—due mainly to a large increase in household consumption. There remain grounds for debate over how to further refine the GPI (e.g. to reduce the prominence of consumption expenditures and increase estimates of environmental costs), whether the GPI deserves to be the main beyond-GDP alternative, and which other indicators are needed to supplement it.

One final lesson from Maryland is that achieving a significant impact through beyond-GDP measurement is a long-term process. Governor O’Malley referred to the initiative in terms of “planting seeds,” while some theorists have emphasized potential long-term impacts from the “conceptual use” of indicators, i.e. by changing mental models and encouraging new ways of thinking. As a pioneer and host of two national GPI summits, Maryland also contributed to encouraging GPI initiatives of various kinds in other states, including Vermont, Oregon, Washington, Hawaii, among others. There may yet be impacts to come in Maryland from increased awareness among non-governmental organizations of the need for efforts to make the policy sphere friendlier to non-economic values and, hopefully, a future revival of efforts to apply beyond-GDP measurement to policymaking in innovative ways.

The full article is available (open access):

Hayden, Anders and Jeffrey Wilson. 2018. “Taking the First Steps beyond GDP: Maryland’s Experience in Measuring ‘Genuine Progress’.” Sustainability 10(2):462. http://www.mdpi.com/2071-1050/10/2/462

 

References:

Ehrlich, Robert. 2015. “Kitzhaber and How the Left Cooks the Books.” National Review, February 17.

GFN. 2015. “Making the Economic Case for Sustainable Investments in Maryland.” Oakland, CA: Global Footprint Network.

Pettit, Jim. 2012. “Redefining American Progress.” National Review, October 25.Talberth, John. 2014. HB 295: Maryland Minimum Wage Act of 2014. Washington, D.C.: Center for Sustainable Economy.