The recording from the June 3rd Panel Discussion on the Genuine Progress Indicator is now available on the USSEE Youtube channel, and webinars page
Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) is a metric designed to take fuller account of the well-being of a nation, only a part of which pertains to the health of the nation’s economy, by incorporating environmental and social factors which are not measured by Gross Domestic Product (GDP). GPI has been suggested to replace, or supplement, GDP as a measure of economic growth. This roundtable will comprise of researchers from across the United States who have calculated the GPI for their local regions. The focus of this panel will be on the GPI methodology and to what extent it can be used to guide policy discussions at the state and local level. Topics will include application of GPI at the subnational level, tradeoffs faced when deciding whether to use regional data or scaled national data, practical challenges faced during GPI calculation, and opportunities for making GPI gender inclusive. The presentation will include 40 minutes of panel discussion, followed by 20 minutes for open discussion and Q&A.
The webinar recording is now available for the April 15th webinar, titled Ostrom, Commons, and Voluntary Environmental Programs presented by Erik Nordman.
Twenty cities (including Grand Rapids, Ann Arbor, and Detroit) have established 2030 District Energy Programs. Building owners within the districts voluntarily pledge to reduce their building energy use, water use and transportation-related greenhouse gases by 50% by 2030. The question is, can a voluntary program result in real resource use and pollution reductions? If so, how can the members hold each other accountable? Aseem Prakash, a student of Elinor Ostrom, and Matthew Potoski extended Ostrom’s ideas about managing a commons to voluntary environmental programs. The 2030 District program is evaluated using their “club theory” of voluntary environmental programs.
Erik Nordman is an associate professor of natural resources management at Grand Valley State University in Michigan. He teaches courses and conducts research in natural resource policy and environmental economics. He is on sabbatical as a visiting scholar at Indiana University’s Ostrom Workshop and is the author of a forthcoming book about Elinor Ostrom, to be published by Island Press.
Presented by Eric Kemp-Benedict of the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) .
On October 9th, 2019 Eric Kemp-Benedict, senior scientist at SEI and USSEE member, presented for the USSEE webinar series on the topic of the Green New Deal. You can find Eric’s webinar on the USSEE Youtube page here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Jt5qF4hh9fA
Eric has also made his slides from the presentation available here
Webinar Abstract: In high-income countries, the first generation likely to be substantially impacted by climate change is coming of age, and they are urging us to action. Greta Thunberg is asking us to please panic, while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez led the writing of the Green New Deal resolution. Their calls are grounded in appeals to “the science”: the physical mechanisms driving climate change and evidence of impacts from the natural sciences. Meanwhile, William Nordhaus was given the Nobel Memorial Prize for Economics for his work on the economics of climate change. His research program has arguably allowed for people to tell us not to panic. Yet, his has not been the only view within economics. In this presentation, I will briefly survey some of the alternatives and present a simple model for exploring broad alternatives. I will then talk about the role of social and institutional trust in making major systemic changes in a time of uncertainty.
Now accepting submissions for Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics
The Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont invites submissions for the inaugural Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics, which celebrates outstanding writing on the environmental limits of our finite planet.
The winning author will receive $4,000, plus financial support for a trip to the University of Vermont for a public campus event in Burlington, VT.
The Zencey Prize will recognize the best current affairs book or long-form journalism that addresses real-world environmental issues using the principles of ecological economics, a field that explores the relationships between economics and Earth’s limited natural resources.
To be eligible, submissions must be published in English, in the years 2018 or 2019, and target a general audience.
The prize is named after Eric Zencey, a pioneering scholar and public intellectual who worked to bring ecological economics outside the academy to understand and address the political, economic, social, and environmental challenges facing society.
“I hope this prize will inspire future generations of environmental writers and ecological economists to communicate real-world solutions beyond ‘the Ivory Tower,’” said Eric Zencey (1954-2019), whose life will be celebrated on Sept. 29.
UVM students and scholars will benefit from the Zencey Prize through educational opportunities, seminars, readings, and events.
“The Gund Institute for Environment is a leader in ecological economics, thanks to the efforts of scholars like Eric Zencey,” said Taylor Ricketts, Director, Gund Institute. “The Eric Zencey Prize in Ecological Economics is an important new prize for the field – and exemplifies Eric’s passion for real-world issues. We thank the Zencey family for their vision and generosity.”
The term “ecological economics” need not appear in submitted works, but the field’s underlying goals – understanding links among ecological, economic and social systems and advancing sustainability, equity, and human well-being – must be evident.
The USSEE is excited
to announce our 2019 award recipients: Jonathan Harris of Tufts University for
the Herman Daly Award, and Mahadev Bhat of Floridan International University
for the Bernado Aguilar Award. Dr. Harris and Dr. Bhat were presented with
their awards by USSEE president Robert Richardson at the member luncheon of the
10th biennial conference on Wednesday August 14th.
Herman Daly Award
This award is given in honor of Herman Daly, one of the
visionaries who founded the field of ecological economics. The award is
designed to recognize individuals who have connected ecological economic
thinking to practical applications and implementation of solutions that are
sustainable in scale, equitable in distribution and efficient in allocation. An
ad-hoc Awards committee, composed of USSEE Board members, convenes prior to the
biennial conference, no later than February of the conference year. The
committee actively seeks nominations for the award, researches the candidates,
and makes a recommendation to the USSEE board as a whole. The board then votes
on the award. The award is given in conjunction with the US Society for
Ecological Economics biennial conference.
The 2019 Herman Daly Award is presented to Dr. Jonathan M. Harris.
Harris is a Senior Research Associate with the Global Development and
Environment Institute at Tufts University. Dr. Harris is co-author of Environmental
and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach (4th ed.,
Routledge, 2018) and of Macroeconomics in Context, Principles of
Economics in Context, and Microeconomics in Context (Routledge,
2019), author of “Green Keynesianism: Beyond Standard Growth Paradigms” in Building
a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics (Robert Richardson
ed., MSU Press 2013); co-editor of Twenty-First Century Macroeconomics:
Responding to the Climate Challenge (Edward Elgar, 2009), New Thinking
in Macroeconomics: Social and Institutional Perspectives (Edward Elgar,
2003), and of the Frontier Issues in Economic Thought volumes A
Survey of Sustainable Development, A Survey of Ecological Economics,
and Human Well-Being and Economic Goals. He is also editor of Rethinking
Sustainability: Power, Knowledge, and Institutions; author of World
Agriculture and the Environment; and co-author of environmental teaching
modules on climate change, renewable energy, and environmental issues in
macroeconomics. He has served as President of the United States Society for
Ecological Economics, and as Adjunct Associate Professor of International
Economics at Tufts University’s Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy.
Bernardo Aguilar Award
This award is given in honor of Bernardo Aguilar, a longtime
member of ISEE and USSEE, a current member of the ISEE Board, and a former
member of the USSEE Board. The Bernardo Aguilar Award was established in 2007
and is given to a person nominated and selected by students. The award was
created to recognize a professional who has inspired students through teaching,
research, ideas, and/or mentoring in ecological economics.
The 2019 Bernardo Aguilar Award is presented to Dr. Mahadev G. Bhat.
Dr. Mahadev Bhat is Professor of Natural Resource Economics in the Departments of Earth and Environment and Economics at Florida International University (FIU). Dr. Bhat’s research focuses economic and policy issues relating to natural resources management, including sustainable development, agriculture, water, coastal and marine resources, and ecosystem services valuation. He has more than 250 research articles, book chapters, publications and presentations. He has received research funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), National Science Foundation, National Parks Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, and private foundations. Dr. Bhat has advised more than 30 graduate students and 150 undergraduate students on their research and independent study projects. He co-founded the FIU Agroecology Program with the aid of over 20 different USDA grant programs, which helped train over 400 under-represented students in agricultural and natural resources sciences and prepare them for career and higher education. His USDA-funded grants helped establish a multi-university consortium for training over 150 Hispanic students in South Florida and Puerto Rico. Dr. Bhat co-established the FIU Organic Garden, which serves as a teaching tool in urban and sustainable agriculture. The Garden was designated as a People’s Garden by USDA for having promoted sustainable agriculture education and benefited the FIU student community.
Advancing the Integration of Ecosystem Services and Livelihood Adaptation
Presented by Lizzie King for the United States Society for Ecological Economics Webinar Series.
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.
Transforming the Economy for a Just and Sustainable World