Category Archives: USSEE

Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies at Michigan State University

The Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position in environmental studies at the assistant professor level, with a 60% research, 40% teaching appointment. The Department seeks a colleague who embraces the faculty’s core value of community engagement and who will bring the scholarship of sustainability to bear on critical environmental and natural resource issues challenging communities across Michigan, the U.S. and the world.

Duties include: (a) conducting and disseminating peer-reviewed research related to environmental and natural resource management and policy; (b) obtaining external funding to support a strong research program; (c) developing and delivering high quality classroom instruction; (d) recruiting and advising graduate students and directing thesis and dissertation research; (e) collaborating effectively with students, faculty, resource managers, policymakers, and other community stakeholders; and (g) performing professional and university service.

Qualifications include: Disciplinary or interdisciplinary PhD in an area that contributes to the natural resources and environment focal area of the Department of Community Sustainability; Evidence of successful research leading to publications in peer-reviewed journals; Preparation for successfully pursuing external funding to support research, outreach and teaching programs; Potential for successful teaching in the sustainability core curriculum, the Environmental Studies and Sustainability major, and research methods; potential for mentoring students; Demonstrated interest in community engagement and collaborative and interdisciplinary research.

For more information about the Department, see Department of Community Sustainability.

For more information about the position, see Position Description.

Innovations in Collaborative Modeling Conference to be held at Michigan State University

Michigan State University is pleased to announce the Innovations in Collaborative Modeling Conference (ICM), to be held June 4-5, 2015 in East Lansing, Michigan.

This conference will focus on the use of systems modeling techniques in managing the complex social and environmental problems related to food systems, natural systems, wildlife management, water, health, transportation, and education.

The conference is jointly organized by the Sustainable Michigan Endowed Project (SMEP), the Environmental Science & Policy Program (ESPP), and University Outreach and Engagement (UOE) at Michigan State University (MSU).

Important Dates
Call for Proposals opens – September 19, 2014
Call for Proposals due – December 19, 2014

For more information about the conference, visit the ICM website.

Open Call for Hosting the 8th Biennial USSEE Conference in 2015!

The U.S. Society of Ecological Economics (USSEE) Board of Directors has started planning our 8th biennial conference, and is seeking a conference site and local host partners! We are hoping to find an institutional host and venue that can continue to build on the success of our 2013 conference. Previous conferences have been held in June and attract between 200-300 participants. We are especially interested in bringing the 2015 conference to the West Coast, as the past four conferences have been held on the East Coast:

  • 2013 – Gund Institute for Ecological Economics, University of Vermont: “Building Local, Scaling Global: Implementing Solutions for Sustainability”
  • 2011 – Michigan State University: “Building a Green Economy”
  • 2009 –American University: “Science and Policy for a Sustainable Future”
  • 2007 – Pace University : “Creating Sustainability within Our Midst”

Attached to this email please find an overview of the committee structure and general timeline of conference planning tasks. The board will work with you to develop the conference theme and planning strategy and provide a full conference planning guide.

Please contact Executive Director Whitney Lash-Marshall at as soon as possible if you are interested in this opportunity!

7th Conference of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP)

The 7th Conference of the Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP): “Local action for the common good”, will be held in Costa Rica 8-12 September 2014.

Every year ESP organizes an international conference on the science and best practice and policies of Ecosystem Services. In addition to several high-level keynotes, and an opening address by the Costa Rican Minister of Environment, the core of the conference is built around 45 workshops and special sessions. It hosts over 270 presentations on a wide range of topics on the science, policy and practice of ecosystem services. In addition, several EU funded projects will present results of 4-5 years of research on the use of Ecosystem Services in Community Based Ecosystem Management in Latin America and there are several free pre-conference trainings on practical tools for ecosystem service assessment.

The local organizer is Fundacion Neotropica in collaboration with CATIE, Universidad Nacional and IUCN-CEM Meso-America and supported by the CGIAR-Water, Land and Ecosystems program.

Deadline for registration for the free trainings is August 15, and the conference registration closes September 1st.

For information on the conference:

For information on ESP:


May Election Results


The newly elected board members are:

President-Elect: Jonathan Harris
Members at Large: Kirsten L.L. Oleson and Laura Schmitt Olabisi
Student Representative: Abigail Dan

Newly elected board member terms will begin June 1st, joining current board members Valerie A. Luzadis (President), Robert Richardson (Secretary-Treasurer), Ken Bagstad (Member at Large), and Lisi Krall (Member at Large).

The board also extends our thanks and gratitude to outgoing board members Jon Erickson (Past President), Rumi Shammin (Member at Large) and Mairi-Jane Fox (Student Representative).

Thank you to all our members who voted in our May election!

USSEE Board of Directors


Announcing Nominees for USSEE Board of Directors

The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2014 Board Elections. There are two nominees for each of four positions: President-elect, At-Large Member (2 positions), and Student Representative.  Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections will open on Wednesday, May 7 and run through May 21.

President-elect (Term June 2014 – June 2015)

paul-baer-200pxPaul Baer received his BA in economics in 1984, and after learning about ecological economics in 1994 decided to return to school, obtaining his MA in Environmental Planning and Management from LSU in 1999 with Paul Templet and his PhD in 2005 with Richard Norgaard at UC Berkeley’s Energy and Resources Group. He presented his first paper on climate justice at the 1998 meeting of the ISEE in Santiago, Chile, and served as student representative on the founding committee of the USSEE. Together with colleagues at EcoEquity (which he co-founded in 2000) and the Stockholm Environment Institute (US), he helped develop the influential Greenhouse Development Rights climate policy framework, and promote it in the Climate Action Network International, among global justice philosophers, and elsewhere. After a post-doc with Steve Schneider, in 2009 he became an Assistant Professor at Georgia Tech’s School of Public Policy, where he helped found the Climate and Energy Policy Laboratory with Dr. Marilyn Brown; he taught undergraduate courses in statistics, environmental policy, and political economy, and graduate courses in climate policy, microeconomics and ecological economics. In 2013, he returned to the NGO sector as a Climate Economist for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ California office.

Candidacy Statement: I chose my graduate programs to work with people who were helping define ecological economics (EE), because I saw a need for ecologists and others doing interdisciplinary work to have an alternative to neoclassical economics. My work on global climate justice has focused on identifying the appropriate scale for GHGs and an equitable approach to redistributing newly scarce rights in a global commons. My natural science training led me early on to recognize that CO2 concentrations around 350 ppm were necessary to preserve a reasonable probability of climate stability. Given our overshoot, egalitarian ethics makes the need for redistribution – globally and domestically – seem obvious.

I recently left academia to work for UCS, a “science-based advocacy organization.” But there is no coherent body of social science to provide the necessary analysis of the political and ecological economics of climate change. I believe EE and the USSEE can help organize a coherent alternative to neoclassical climate economics, providing enough legitimacy to be useful to organizations like UCS and other scholars, activists and politicians who see the sustainability transition as non-marginal and redistribution as an essential component. I hope as President-elect to work across intellectual communities to help make this possibility a reality.

Jonathan M. HJ_Harrisarris is Director of the Theory and Education Program at the Tufts University Global Development and Environment Institute. His publications include “Green Keynesianism: Beyond Standard Growth Paradigms” in Robert Richardson ed., Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics (2013); “Reorienting Macroeconomic Theory towards Environmental Sustainability” in Jon Erickson and John Gowdy eds., Frontiers in Ecological Economic Theory and Application (2007); co-editor of Twenty-First Century Macroeconomics: Responding to the Climate Challenge (2009); co-author of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach (3rd ed., 2013); Macroeconomics in Context, Microeconomics in Context, and Principles of Economics in Context (2014); Environmental and Social Issues in Economics (Encyclopedia of Earth, 2006); co-editor of New Thinking in Macroeconomics: Social, Institutional and Environmental Perspectives (2003); A Survey of Sustainable Development (2001); A Survey of Ecological Economics (1995); Human Well-Being and Economic Goals (1997); editor of Rethinking Sustainability: Power, Knowledge, and Institutions (2000). He has taught courses in environmental economics and sustainable development at Tufts University, Brown University, and Boston University.

Candidacy Statement:Large-scale environmental problems, especially global climate change, demand a fundamental re-orientation of economic theory and policy. An ecological perspective has the potential to transform the narrow views of economics and development that currently dominate mainstream economics, and to broaden the understanding of a generation of students who will shape the twenty-first century. In the texts and educational modules on climate change and other environmental issues available at http://www.gdae.orgI and my colleagues attempt to introduce fundamental ecological economics concepts to economics curricula.

I have been active with USSEE its inception, and have served on the boards of USSEE and ISEE. I believe that USSEE has the potential to expand its reach both in trans-disciplinary research and in efforts to reform the teaching of economics and other fields to reflect ecological realities. I would especially like to promote availability of more curricula and teaching materials on the USSEE website’s education page, both for those who are developing programs in ecological economics and those who are teaching in more traditional disciplines but seeking to broaden their course content.

At Large Member, 2 positions (Term: June 2014- June 2016)

McGuire-BioPicSean McGuire worked at Maryland’s Department of Natural Resources for 15 years before recently moving to Oregon. For the last seven years, Sean was the Director of Sustainability Policies and focused on statewide systemic policy solutions and initiatives, including those addressing green economy; ecological economics; sustainability indicators; and, ecosystem services, valuation, and markets. In 2009, Sean initiated Maryland’s Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI), the first State government to do so. Recently, Sean joined Oregon Government to not only calculate the State’s GPI, but more importantly to institutionalize the GPI into Oregon’s 10-Year Policy & Budget Plan. Sean continues to be an active national leader on the GPI and other alternative, more comprehensive gauges of true prosperity and wealth. His main emphasis centers on making academic research more approachable to the general public, useful for State policy makers and budget analysts, and politically palatable for State government officials. Sean earned his Master of Public Policy degree with a Certificate in Ecological Economics from the University of Maryland, and a B.A. in History of Public Policy from U.C. Santa Barbara. He presented at several national events, including the 2012 Strategies for a New Economy Conference and the USSEE 2013 Conference. Sean gets outdoors as much as humanly possible by enjoying backpacking, hiking, and triathlons.

KirstenOlesonDr. Kirsten L.L. Oleson is an Assistant Professor of Ecological Economics with the Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Management, University of Hawaiʻi Mānoa. Her current research program focuses on natural resource accounting as a tool to measure sustainable development, ecological-economic modeling to inform resource management and climate adaptation, developing methods to value ecosystem services, and community-based management institutions. She has academic publications pertaining to wealth accounting, ecosystem service valuation, fisheries bioeconomics, environmental and social impact assessment, input-output modeling, and climate change policy analysis. Prior to joining the University of Hawaiʻi Manoa, Dr. Oleson was an environmental engineer at the World Bank from 1998-2003, a teaching fellow with Stanford’s Public Policy Program from 2007-2009, and an NSF post-doctoral fellow in Madagascar 2009-2011. She received her PhD in 2007 from Stanford University’s Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, an MSc in Applied Environmental Economics from University of London, an MSc in Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Delft in the Netherlands, and a BSc in Civil Environmental Engineering from the University of Virginia. Her website is:

Laura Schmitt OlaLaurabisi is an assistant professor at Michigan State University, jointly appointed in the Environmental Science & Policy Program, and the department of Community Sustainability. Laura served on the scientific committee for USSEE’s 2011 conference, and is currently serving as a USSEE board member at large (elected in 2012). During her tenure on the USSEE board, Laura has taken leadership on conducting a strategic planning exercise for the future of the society and soliciting feedback from members on the intellectual agenda of the society, as well as assisting the board, the president, and the secretary with moving USSEE forward (for example, by hiring an executive director). Laura is a systems ecologist and participatory modeler, working directly with stakeholders to conduct research on topics such as soil erosion, population growth, greenhouse gas emissions, water sustainability, energy use, deforestation, adoption of organic/sustainable agricultural techniques, climate change adaptation, and climate change and human health. She holds a B.S. in Environmental Science from Brown University, and a Ph.D. from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. Prior to her appointment at Michigan State, she worked as a post-doctoral researcher with the Ecosystem Science and Sustainability Initiative, housed at the University of Minnesota.

js_1-09-large_reducedJohn Sorrentino received his Ph.D. from Purdue University and was hired by Temple University in 1973. 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 (forthcoming). His works-in-progress include articles on sustainable housing placement, environmental information systems, sustainable business practices and urban agriculture. He has presented at many USSEE and ISEE conferences, and will be presenting research on “Greenworks Philadelphia” in Iceland. John was a co-founder of Temple University’s Environmental Studies Program, and was honored by the University with a 1999 Lindback Award for Distinguished Teaching. He has performed service on numerous committees at all levels of the university and in the outside community. He looks forward to having a direct hand in promoting USSEE.

Student Representative (Term: June 2014 – June 2015)

Abigail Dan_Bio Headshot_2013Abigail Dan was raised in a rural community in Northern California and gave up a promising future in the financial services industry to follow her passion for science.  Through work in organic agriculture production and international commodities research, she came to realize the power of markets to shape decisions about how we use land and other natural resources.  With a vocational degree in horticulture, she went on to earn a B.S. in Applied Ecology with a minor in environmental and development economics.  Through her undergraduate career, she was a student delegate to the Property and Environment Research Center’s Free-Market Environmentalism Colloquium; interned with the Natural Capital Project at Stanford University; and is completing her term as the North America Section Representative for the Society for Conservation Biology’s Ecological Economics and Social Science Working Group.  After beginning a Master of Science in Conservation Ecology at California State University, Chico, she joined a local Resource Conservation District as Project Manager, where she is currently overseeing multiple grant-funded habitat restoration sites and working closely with community members towards collaborative environmental improvement.  It would be an honor for her to serve as the Student Member of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics’ Board of Directors as she continues to pursue her graduate studies and develop a deeper understanding of the economic drivers of conservation decisions in the field.

Kyle_2013Kyle Gracey is a Ph.D. candidate in the Engineering and Public Policy Department at Carnegie Mellon University. He is a chapter author of the recently released book Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics and has published in Ecological Indicators. Kyle has presented at both USSEE and ISEE conferences. He is the former Student Representative on the Board of Directors of the Working Group for Ecological Economics and Sustainability Science at the Society for Conservation Biology. He formerly worked as a Research Scientist at Global Footprint Network, at Gade Environmental Group consulting, Climate Action Network-International, and for the White House, U.S. Department of Transportation, and U.S. Department of the Treasury. Kyle also serves on the boards of directors for Engineers for a Sustainable World, Student Pugwash USA (Vice President), SustainUS: U.S. Youth for Sustainable Development (Board Chair), and the Truman Scholars Association (President). He received his M.S. from the Geophysical Sciences Department and Harris Public Policy School at The University of Chicago, and earned B.S. degrees from Rensselear Polytechnic Institute in Biochemistry & Biophysics and Ecological Economics.

Online Course Offering: Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice

Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice – Deadline for Applications March 24th, 2014

This in an interactive online course taught in English over sixteen weeks. It features lectures based on Civil Society Organizations and Environmental Justice Organization case studies across a broad range of topics, taught by well known ecological economists / political ecologists including Joan Martinez Alier, Bernardo Aguilar, Beatriz Rodriguez-Labajos and Hali Healy. It has been designed for activists interested in understanding and applying the tools of ecological economics to their work, and for researchers of the sustainability sciences interested in the real world application of the concepts and methods of ecological economics and political ecology.

Full information on the course can be found at:


  • Each module is tutored by a leading researcher or practitioner of ecological economics. It consists of a recorded lecture, an assigned case study reading from the core text, and further optional readings. A key feature is the online discussion forum – a virtual classroom where trainees interact with each other and with tutors. Each module ends with the submission of a short assignment that is assessed by the module tutor. The time needed to complete a module depends on depth that students choose to go into with the materials, however a rough estimate is 10-20 hours per module.
  • The course requires trainees to submit an additional final assignment in the form of a contribution to an interactive map of environmental (in)justices, along with a corresponding “factsheet”, on a particular issue they are familiar with or interested in.
  • All course elements can be accessed whenever it is convenient for trainees – within the time period (one week) dedicated to each specific module. However, as the lectures cannot be downloaded and have to be watched online, a strong, reliable internet connection is a must.
How to Apply: Send a one-page letter of intent, outlining your relevant experience and interests, and why you wish to take the course, and email it to

What We Know: a AAAS initiative to promote awareness of the science of climate change

The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) has released a new report entitled What We Know, which aims to “present key messages for every American about climate change” as a way to hopefully show people the reality of what we’re doing to the Earth. Based on the evidence, more than 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening. What We Know helps us understand the science behind the realities, risks and response to the climate challenge.

It is not the purpose of this paper to explain why this disconnect between scientific knowledge and public perception has occurred. Nor is the initiative seeking to provide yet another extensive review of the scientific evidence for climate change. Instead, the report presents key messages for every American about climate change:

  1. Climate scientists agree: climate change is happening here and now. Based on well-established evidence, about 97% of climate scientists have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
  2. We are at risk of pushing our climate system toward abrupt, unpredictable, and potentially irreversible changes with highly damaging impacts.
  3. The sooner we act, the lower the risk and cost. And there is much we can do.

The AAAS is the world’s largest non-government general science membership organization and the executive publisher of Science, a leading scientific journal. Its mission is “advance science for the benefit of all people.” Its goals include providing a voice for science on societal issues and promoting the responsible use of science in public policy. There may be no more pressing issue intersecting science and society than climate change and the What We Know initiative was born in response to that reality.

The What We Know initiative is dedicated to ensuring that three “R’s” of climate change communicated to the public.

  • The first is Reality — 97% of climate experts have concluded that human-caused climate change is happening.
  • The second is Risk — that the reality of climate change means that there are climate change impacts we can expect, but we also must consider what might happen, especially the small, but real, chance that we may face abrupt changes with massively disruptive impacts.
  • The third R is Response — that there is much we can do and that the sooner we respond, the better off we will be.

To guide the What We Know initiative, AAAS convened a group of prominent experts in climate science to address the fact that many Americans still erroneously believe that the scientific community is divided on the issue and that Americans are largely unaware of the full spectrum of climate risks – both what is likely to happen and what might happen — that human-caused climate change presents to Americans now and in the future. The AAAS has published a summary report with information and details.

Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice: Online Course

EJOLT, in collaboration with Fundación Neotrópica, a Costa Rican NGO, and UCI (Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional) is running an online course “Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice”, taught through civil society organisation (CSO) case studies. It will run starting April 1st 2014.

This in an interactive course taught in English over sixteen weeks. It features lectures based on CSO and EJO case studies across a broad range of topics, taught by well known ecological economists/political ecologists including Joan Martinez Alier, Bernardo Aguilar, Beatriz Rodriguez-Labajos and Hali Healy. It has been designed for activists interested in understanding and applying the tools of ecological economics to their work, and for researchers of the sustainability sciences interested in the real world application of the concepts and methods of ecological economics and political ecology.

Further information:

Deadline for Application: March 1st, 2014
How to Apply: Send a one-page letter of intent, outlining your relevant experience and interests, and why you wish to take the course, and email it to

Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) Conference

The 7th Ecosystem Services Partnership (ESP) conference: “Local action for the common good”, will be held in Costa Rica 8-12 September 2014.
In addition to the ESP working group sessions, the conference will present examples of Ecosystem Services practices in Community Based Ecosystem Management from several EU funded projects in the region. The conference is organised by ESP with local organizer Fundacion Neotropica, in collaboration with CATIE, Universidad Nacional and IUCN-CEM Meso-America.
For information on the conference visit
For information on ESP visit