Category Archives: USSEE

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

E3 Network Grants for Future Economy Innovations

The Economics for Equity and Environment (E3) Network is awarding grants to economists to apply an analytical framework to case studies of future economy innovations – emerging models of sustainable enterprise at the level of the firm, cluster, industry, community. Grant recipients will apply the framework to a case study of their choosing and submit a report based on their findings. The report will be included in a collection of case studies edited and produced by E3 Network. E3 Network will complement the case study analyses with photography, video, and other story telling support to create a rich online media presentation of emerging economic innovations. Deadline for applications is January 30, 2014. The grant period runs from February through December 2014.

To download the RFP click here: E3 Network’s Future Economy Initiative RFP


USSEE Board members discuss measuring progress at Ohio workshop

USSEE Board members Rumi Shammin and Ken Bagstad recently presented at the Measuring Progress workshop on Dec. 2 at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History. It was a stimulating discussion about best practices and the future of dashboard/indicator projects in Northeast Ohio (NEO) region – with a great group of practitioners, planning officials and academics from regional universities attending. The presentations at the workshop focused on big-picture issues and challenges, and updates of and ideas for specific initiatives for the region.  There were four modules in the workshop:

  1. What Matters to Metros by the Fund for Our Economic Future (
  2. Sustainable Cleveland Dashboard by Sustainable Cleveland 2019 (
  3. Vibrant NEO Dashboard by the Northeast Ohio Sustainable Communities Consortium (
  4. Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) for Northeast Ohio by ecological economists Rumi Shammin of Oberlin College and Ken Bagstad of the U.S. Geological Survey (

Drs. Shammin and Bagstad collaborated between 2008 and 2012 to develop the NEO regional GPI and published the resulting paper in Ecological Indicators. They are engaged in ongoing efforts to disseminate their work and support further research, application and policy development. Here is a link to a blog post by Marc Lefkowitz of the Green City Blue Lakes Institute at the Cleveland Museum of Natural History about the workshop and GPI presentation:

USSEE President Valerie Luzadis on the Earth Economy

USSEE President Valerie Luzadis on the Earth Economy

What does the Earth ask of us? USSEE President Valerie Luzadis writes that the Earth “asks us to know ourselves and to act as citizens of Earth rather than as consumers in an economy that does not fully recognize Earth or its nonhuman components”. The article is entitled “An Earth Economy: Citizenship before Consumerism,” and it appears on the website of the Center for Humans and Nature, as part of their Questions for a Resilient Future project. Dr. Luzadis is Professor of Environmental Studies at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry in Syracuse, New York.

New book: Building a Green Economy

An edited volume of selected papers from the 6th biennial conference of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics was recently published by Michigan State University Press (September 2013). The book is entitled, Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics, and it is edited by Robert Richardson (Michigan State University). The volume includes contributions from conference plenary speakers Dave Dempsey, David Korten, Bobbi Low, and Kristen Sheeran, along with contributions from numerous other prominent ecological economists. In this timely volume, leading ecological economics scholars offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy. A rich resource in its own right, Building a Green Economy contains the most innovative thinking in ecological economics at a critical time in the reexamination of the human relationship with the natural world.

USSEE President Valerie A. Luzadis (SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry) wrote that “this collection of innovative papers showcases how ecological economics, the science of sustainability, contributes to solving today’s pressing environmental and social issues.” Barry Solomon (Michigan Technological University) wrote that “this volume advances our understanding of a green economy and sustainable society by taking a constructively critical view from the perspective of ecological economics and its relationship to the failures of neoclassical economics in twenty-first century society.”


Mismeasuring Our Economy: An Interview with James Boyce

Mismeasuring Our Economy: Why the GDP is Not Useful

The GDP is the most commonly cited economic metric but it doesn’t tell us what we need to know. From, an interview with James Boyce, Professor of Economics at University of Massachusetts at Amherst features a discussion about why the GDP is not useful as a measure of socioeconomic well-being. James K. Boyce teaches economics at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and is co-founder of Econ4: Economics for People, the Planet, and the Future. His most recent book is Economics, the Environment and Our Common Wealth. See more at Triple Crisis.