Best Poster Presentations: USSEE Virtual Conference

USSEE held its first Virtual Conference and Poster Session on April 16, and the theme for the event was “Building Resilient Economies in a Time of Uncertainty”. USSEE is pleased to announce the winners of Best Poster Presentation.

Arden He was selected for the Best Undergraduate Student Poster Presentation, entitled “Beyond the quantitative box: Local food hubs as creative leaders of food justice“. Arden is an undergraduate student of mathematical economics & computer science at the University of Wisconsin, with interests in exploring sociological issues with quantitative and computational methods.

Daniel Pratson was selected for the Best Graduate Student Poster Presentation, which was entitled, “A shift in the weather: Does experience with extreme weather events inform attitudes towards the relationship between the natural environment and the economy?”. Daniel is a doctoral student with the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, with interests in applied interdisciplinary scholarship on the human dimensions of natural resources.

Congratulations to Arden and Daniel!

2021 Board Nominees

The USSEE Board of Directors is pleased to announce the nominees for the 2021 Board Elections. The following nominees are for 4 available positions: Secretary-Treasurer (1 nominee), two At-Large Member Positions (5 nominees), and Undergraduate Student Member (1 nominee). Nominees are presented by position in alphabetical order. Elections are open Tuesday May 25 through Monday May 31.

Please note, your ISEE/USSEE membership must be up-to-date to vote! If you are an active member, you will receive voting instructions via email to the address in your ISEE/USSEE profile. If you believe you are an active member but have not received a ballot, please Contact Us.


John A. Sorrentino 

John was a charter member of ISEE/USSEE. Currently, he is an Associate Professor of Economics at Temple University. He 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. 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 ReviewJournal of Environmental Economics & ManagementEnvironmental Management, Landscape & Urban Planning, & Sustainability. He also has an essay entitled “Containing Carbon through Cap and Trade or a Per Unit Tax” forthcoming in the Encyclopedia of Environmental Economics edited by James Kahn. 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.


I am running again for Secretary-Treasurer because I firmly believe in the transdisciplinary mission & goals of ISEE/USSEE, & I believe that I can continue to promote them in another term. With respect to conferences, I have served on the scientific committees reviewing proposals, and presented my own research at many of them. In 2017, I managed the financial interactions with invited speakers, sponsors, registrants & the host institution. I convinced the latter to accept $2K less than agreed upon, given that there were fewer registrants than expected. My university allowed USSEE to use its WebEx software for meetings & webinars, & this saved USSEE hundreds of dollars per year for a few years. I have chaired or co-chaired the Board’s Membership Committee, seeking to maintain or expand membership as sub-groups of our previous constituency broke away. I hope that you will give me the chance to continue to work with the Executive Committee & the Board of Directors to get more of our general members involved in USSEE activities, & to spread the word about ecological economics.

Member At-Large (2 positions)

Mairi-Jane Fox

Dr. Mairi-Jane Fox is an assistant professor in Economics and Finance at Regis University Anderson School of Business and Computing where she directs the Sustainable Economic Enterprise Development (SEED) Institute. She holds a doctoral degree in Natural Resources from University of Vermont where she worked with her advisor, Dr. Jon Erikson, on research related to Genuine Progress Indicator. She also has a Master of Science in Ecological Economics from the University of Edinburgh and a BA in Humanities from the University of Texas at Austin. Among her many professional roles prior to her current academic role in higher education, Mairi-Jane taught 3rd grade, wrote the environmental justice, public participation, and economics sectors of EIS and EIA for pipelines and mines, consulted on sustainability strategy for publicly traded companies, and research ESG factors for asset managers. Mairi-Jane served on the USSEE board from 2012-2015 as graduate student representative and as one of the team of conference organizers when the conference was held at UBC in 2015. 


I joined USSEE while I was working at an environmental consulting company before I started my PhD studies because I believed in the transformation and innovation available for humanity and earth through the ecological economics paradigm.  If I were to be elected to the position with my background as K-12 educator as well as time working in the private sector, I’d intent to bring an expansive view about whom USSEE can serve and the avenues through which it can have impact. Also, since I work in a business school in the mountain West, I believe I can bring a form of academic and regional diversity to the board. For example, I was the lead author on the only business-focused chapter in the recent book published about the ecological economic research agenda; but I also co-authored the chapter about metrics. I am eager to join the USSEE as a board member at large to build on the devotion and passion of the previous board members to integrate ecological economics into teaching, policy, research, and 21st century business practices. Professional and academic societies must always be dynamic to meet the ever-evolving nature of academic work; but this ability to innovate and adapt in order to have an impact and support change-makers is critically important as higher ed (and the business sector) move through this pandemic-accelerated creative-destruction period.

Headshot of Roland Ofori Roland Ofori

I am a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Prescott Lab at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. I received my PhD in Environmental & Energy Policy from Michigan Technological University, MS in Agricultural, Food & Resource Economics from Michigan State University, and BA in Economics from University of Ghana. I specialize in ecological economics, environmental economics and complex systems science. I also have public sector experience, having served as an Assistant Economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Finance & Economic Planning for five years. My past research projects involved studying the impacts of invasive species on fisheries sustainability and coastal communities, and the environmental cost of petroleum subsidies in West Africa. My current project seeks to develop agent-based computational models and econometric models to identify food waste reduction strategies in the National School Lunch Program, a USDA-sponsored program that supports over 30 million school children across the US.


My interest in serving on the USSEE Board is driven by my academic and professional background, as well as my vision to promote ecological economics as a substantive field in the social sciences. I have had the opportunity to work on environmental and energy policy issues over the years, and have paid particular attention to how complex human behaviors makes balancing environmental protection and economic growth difficult. I have also come to appreciate the potential of ecological economics as the best field capable of integrating both neoclassical and heterodox economics, and accommodating the interdisciplinary perspectives and diversity of scholarship needed to unpack the complexities of environmental problems. Hence, I want to serve on the Board to support the promotion of ecological economics as a major field of scholarship in the social sciences. In order to allow ecological economics to flourish as a substantive field, we need to promote the discipline to the point where it will no longer be othered or considered a “heterodox” field. The Board can achieve this by increasing both the demand and supply of research output in ecological economics. On the demand side, the Board can market the potential of ecological economics to key environmental organizations such as public agencies and interest groups that fund environmental research to increase funding for ecological economics research. Regarding the supply, the Board can organize promotional campaigns to introduce high school and university students to the discipline, facilitate the creation of ecological economics graduate programs, and connect students to opportunities for ecological economics research at universities across the US. I look forward to serving you.

Headshot of John Polimeni John Polimeni

John 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, a M.A. in Economics and a Certificate of Graduate Studies in Regulatory Economics from S.U.N.Y. at Albany, and a Ph.D. in Ecological Economics from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. He was awarded a Fulbright Senior Fellowship to Romania, where he is a Honorary Member of the Institute of Economic Forecasting in the National Institute of Economic Research in the Scientific Council of the Romanian Academy. His area of research is on the intersection of the environment and economic development, typically focused on energy economics, sustainable agriculture, and technology. He has received several research grants on his work in the area of economic development and the environment. John has published 60 peer-reviewed research articles, published four books, and eleven chapters in edited books. He has presented his research 81 times at international conferences with an additional eleven conference abstracts or posters. In addition, he serves or has served on 14 editorial boards of academic journals. John is a reviewer for the Romanian Fulbright Commission and serves as a reviewer for numerous academic journals. Lastly, John has been elected to two terms of the Schenectady (N.Y.) City Council and is on the Board of Trustees for miSci – the Museum of Innovation and Science.

Headshot of Susan Santone Susan Santone

Susan Santone is an internationally recognized educator with twenty-five years of experience in curriculum, policy, and teacher preparation with a focus on sustainability and social justice. At the University of Michigan (and formerly, Eastern Michigan University), she teaches graduate- and undergraduate courses on educational policy, multicultural education, sustainability and ecological economics. Her academic publications include numerous articles, book chapters, and a book, Reframing the Curriculum: Design for Social Justice and Sustainability (Routledge, 2019). [She serves on the board of the US Society for Ecological Economics.]

For twenty years, Susan was Executive Director of Creative Change Educational Solutions, the nonprofit consulting firm she founded in 1999 to support schools and universities to redesign curriculum and courses using the approaches brought together in her book. Through Creative Change, she’s reached thousands of teachers and created innovative content with partners ranging from universities to the United Nations.


I have had the pleasure and honor of serving as a USSEE Board Member at Large for the past two years and now am running for reelection. 

My service on the board has focused on communications, promotions, and outreach. Together with other board members, I’ve expanded our reach on social media (including Twitter and Linked In), and used these platforms to plan and promote USSEE webinars, publications, and members’ achievements. By engaging with other organizations and individuals, these efforts have grown our presence in the global EE community. 

In addition, I’ve been working with the Executive Director (outgoing and incoming) on updating the website with new graphics and more streamlined organization. Goals for this ongoing effort include expanding the resource offerings, creating member-only benefits, and launching a set of K-12 lessons. (The latter were vetted in 2019, then put on the back burner once the pandemic hit.) 

Clear, “on-mission” messaging is the foundation of communications. To support this, I researched lobbying constraints for nonprofits and compiled examples of allowable/prohibited messaging. I’ve also been curating content, creating a spreadsheet of links to our webinars, resources, and more. This one-stop curation enables easy access to shareable content.

Beyond the above, I also served on the subcommittee to select the winner of the Eric Zencey Prize and helped moderate for the recent Virtual Poster Conference.

Bigger picture, I’ve been a member of USSEE/ISEE for over ten years, presenting 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. 

USSEE is a visionary organization that offers solutions for a troubled world. I am proud to be on the board, and will continue to advance our work if re-elected. 

Thank you for your consideration.

Photo of Laura Villegas Laura Villegas

Laura is an ecological economist by choice, though trained in the mainstream views of environmental economics. She holds a PhD from North Carolina State University in environmental and development economics, a master’s degree in applied economics from Montana State University, and bachelor degrees in economics and political science, also from Montana State University. By the time this application is reviewed, Laura will be starting a new position at Earth Economics as a Sr. researcher. She’ll also be serving as an associate in the Human-Environment Systems program at Boise State University, where she’ll be teaching a graduate seminar on topics of social-ecological economics. Laura is also part of the Women in Environmental Economics and Development (WinEED) group hosted by the Environment for Development initiative. Her previous position was with the World Resources Institute, where she worked as an economics researcher studying the role of macroeconomic policies and growth pathways in addressing the joint effects of climate change and rampant inequalities in the developing world, and the role of natural infrastructure in improving the provision and management of water-related services.


 My name is Laura Villegas, I am Colombian and American. I grew up with German shepherds in a little town in the Andes. Now, I live in Nampa, Idaho. I love mountains.

Perhaps because of the context I grew up in, a Latin American country with very complex problems rooted in the unequal distribution of wealth, I have always been attracted to the study of poverty, political and social struggle, ecological integrity and its connection with cultural values, and natural resources management—all topics very much related to the concepts of justice and ecological economics.

As a restless immigrant undergraduate student, I studied political science and economics at Montana State University. I continued my studies in economics at Montana State directing my research to issues of development, agriculture, and environmental topics. A turning point in my professional trajectory was the day I learnt about “ecological economics.” Interestingly, I only learned about this after graduating with a PhD in environmental and development economics from North Carolina State University. I was mostly disappointed at the academic institution for not exposing me as a student to this fundamentally different school of thought: a school of thought that, to be completely honest, made a lot more sense with observations I had gathered from studying and experiencing poverty and environmental injustice.

My PhD was mostly funded by the Southeast Climate Science and Adaptation Research Center and the Applied Ecology department at NCSU. With their support and that of outstanding environmental economists (!), I was able to explore the role of alternative land use policies in mitigating flood damages in a less than conventional manner (something that suits me well, given my personality and interests). Reality is very complex. During my research, I was able to learn a few disturbing truths about who gets what and why in 3 coastal counties of South Carolina. I wish during my studies I could have elaborated on the role of history, slavery, and power imbalances in driving property values and property sales in South Carolina, but these ideas were left as a footnote because they were deemed a subject matter of sociology and anthropology, not mainstream economics.

My dissertation was published as a discussion paper by the Environment for Development group, and I presented it in a conference that took place at the midst of the first round of historical riots in my near-home-town Bogota in November of 2019. Of course, I participated in the peaceful demonstration—which was just a few weeks after the war against civilians launched by the Chilean government, and not far in time from protests in Ecuador and Peru. The people of Latin America were loudly manifesting that the economic model of Neoliberalism was not working for them–at the very least, it was not addressing the driving causes of social struggles. Sadly, since then not much has changed in my country (at least not for good), but at least in Chile, through the use of democratic processes, the demonstrations led to a new constitution. You can find the publication here.

As I hope you can tell from this letter, I am passionate about ecology and ethics. Recently, together with some kind and woke scholars we published a commentary where we continue discussing the climate emergency and the technical inadequacies of (Nobel Prize winning!) climate-economic models. Our commentary extends beyond the technical problems and calls for the imperative need to revisit morality and values upon which the international social and economic structure is built upon. We have published a few more commentaries following that original piece. I must continue in this line of work.

I think discussions of economics are always political and I think the civic dialogues we see in the world could be enriched by bringing in the plurality of voices across economic philosophies. There are important concepts and lessons from EE that will be crucial for my and future generations if we are to navigate the Anthropocene. These topics would include planetary boundaries and limits to growth, flaws in current accounting methods, degrowth, climate-economic models and international policy, economics of sustainability, feminist economics, and so on. As part of the USSEE, I would love to continue this mission of bringing the EE voice to the academic and policy spheres.

I have more to say about how much finding ecological economics as an effort to shift the economics paradigm has meant in the development of my personal and professional mission. Alas, there’s only so much ink paper can take. I truly immensely appreciate your time and attention through this very long candidacy statement. I thank you for considering my application and I look forward to hearing from you.

Undergraduate Student

Headshot of Brian Gallagher Brian Gallagher

Brian Gallagher is a rising senior at Temple University dual majoring in Mathematical Economics and Film & Media Arts. During his junior year, he won the second-place prize for best essay by an economics student for his research on elephants, economics, and the environment. Through the Temple Economics Society, Brian was able to attend and become a member of the National Association for Business Economics (NABE) in February 2020. In May of 2020, he remotely worked with a Temple economics faculty member to help research and write his Economics For Life textbook. Outside of economics, Brian also has an interest in volunteer work and political change. Since December 2020, he has worked as a writer and interviewer with “First Up,” an organization dedicated to promoting Early Childcare Education. Additionally, Brian has attended many protests in the last year, including one related to homelessness in Philadelphia.


Having seen the numerous directions one can travel with an econ degree, ecological economics is the path which speaks loudest to me. I have believed since I was a young child that it is the responsibility of every person to fight climate change, and with my current major, USSEE is a great society of which to be a part. Among similar organizations, USSEE distinguishes itself by its transdisciplinary foundation, incorporating multiple academic fields into its approach. As a dual major in Mathematical Economics and Film & Media Arts, two very distinct subjects, I personally understand how engaging with multiple schools of thought can be tactful in analyzing problems and drafting greater, unique solutions. Additionally, my experience in filmmaking has given me the skills to work with a coordinated team and create promotional media – two assets which would be valuable going forward.

With the skills I have gained, I hope to assist the growth and policy-drafting functions of USSEE; pushing the world closer to long term goals of renewable energy, sustainable environments, and species preservation. I am humbled to be nominated for the position and thank you for your time and consideration.

Nominate by May 23: USSEE Board of Directors

The USSEE Board of Directors invites you to nominate candidate(s) to fill the 4 board positions listed below. The election will be held in late May, and we are seeking nominations by May 23. You are welcome to self-nominate.

Nominations are for the following 4 positions with terms beginning June 1, 2020:

  • Secretary-Treasurer
  • Board Member at-Large (2 members)
  • Undergraduate Student

Board members are expected to attend monthly virtual board meetings, help to recruit and retain members, organize, plan and publicize conferences and events, and help develop and curate information and materials relevant to the discipline. The expected time commitment is 2-4 hours per month. All positions are for two year terms.

Please note that in order to vote in the election, or run for a position, you need to be an active member of USSEE. To join, renew, or check your membership status, visit:  

You can submit nominations (name and contact information) or any questions about the positions to  

Roundtable Discussion: Transitioning to Just and Sustainable Food Systems: Lessons from Ecological Economics

A round table discussion with Liz Carlisle, Kamuela Enos, and Albie Miles; moderated by Phil Warsaw

Friday April 2nd 3pm EDT

The 2nd Event in the United States Society for Ecological Economics’ 2021 Webinar Series: The Post-Covid Economy: Centering Justice, Sustaining Ecosystems

The COVID-19 pandemic has put into stark relief the everyday inequities within the food system faced by working-class communities, particularly BIPOC populations, as well as the broader unsustainability of industrial agriculture globally. The challenges span the entire supply chain: consolidation among producers has resulted in unsafe working conditions among farmworkers, while encouraging farming practices which deplete natural resources and reduce biodiversity. Retail workers, facing similarly consolidated markets, have been forced into underpaid (yet “essential”) employment. All the while, these same households face inadequate access and control of their local food environments, contributing poor public health outcomes reflected in disparate COVID-19 mortality rates among BIPOC in the U.S. This round table discussion will explore the existing dynamics within the food system, local perspectives on resisting these trends, and the potential for ecological economics as a base for envisioning a new and more just food system in the post-COVID economy.

Register on Eventbrite

Panel Bios:

Liz Carlisle is an Assistant Professor in the Environmental Studies Program at UC Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching is dedicated to fostering a more just and sustainable food system, with a specific focus on agroecological transition in the US. Born and raised in Montana, she got hooked on sustainable agriculture while working as an aide to organic farmer and U.S. Senator Jon Tester, which led to a decade of research and writing collaborations with agroecological farmers in her home state. She is the author of the book Lentil Underground and co-author, with Bob Quinn, of the book Grain by Grain, and she has written both popular and academic articles about food and farm policy, incentivizing soil health practices, and supporting new entry farmers.

Kamuela Enos is the Director of the newly created Office of Indigenous Innovation for the Office of the Vice President for Research and Innovation at the University of Hawaiʻi. Before taking this position he worked for 11 years at MAʻO Organic Farms where he served as their Director of Social Enterprise. He was born and raised in Waiʻanae on the island of Oʻahu. He received a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian studies and a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. He sits on the boards of numerous community-based nonprofits, and was a commissioner on President Obama’s White House Initiative on Asians and Pacific Islanders.

Albie Miles is Assistant Professor of Sustainable Community Food Systems at the University of Hawai’i – West O’ahu. Dr. Miles received his Ph.D. in Environmental Science, Policy and Management from UC Berkeley in 2013. His natural science research explores the relationship between farming system biodiversity and the provisioning of ecosystem services to and from agriculture. His social science research explores the socio-economic and political obstacles to achieving ecologically sustainable and socially just food and farming systems. He has worked at the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems at UC Santa Cruz.


Phil Warsaw is an Assistant Professor of Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. Broadly, his research takes an interdisciplinary approach to questions of environmental justice, economic development, and sustainability, combining approaches from economics and the other social sciences, such as the use of critical theory.


Building Resilient Economies in a Time of Uncertainty. Friday April 16th, 3-5pm EDT

In this first virtual poster session hosted by The United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE), undergraduate students, graduate students, and post-docs will present their research focused on “Building Resilient Economies in a Time of Uncertainty”. The conference aims to highlight the multiple uncertainties of our time, including the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental and racial injustice, unprecedented wildfires, an extraordinary Atlantic hurricane season, and ongoing impacts of climate change. The objective of the conference is to provide students with an opportunity to present their work and receive feedback from members of the ecological economics community.

Posters will be presented in three concurrent sessions, held in separate Zoom breakout rooms after and introduction and welcoming remarks by USSEE president Robert Richardson.

Session 1: Environmental Justice, Racial equity, and Indigenous issues; Climate and Energy; Scale, Ecological limits, and Degrowth

Session 2: Ecosystem Services, Measurement and Valuation

Session 3: Natural Capital, Governance, Management, and Policy

To register for this free conference, visit:

Conference Schedule:

3:00 PM: Opening Remarks from USSEE President, Robert Richardson

3:15 – 5:00 PM Breakout Session Poster Presentations

Session 1: Environmental Justice, Racial equity, and Indigenous issues; Climate and Energy; Scale, Ecological limits, and Degrowth

Beyond the quantitative box: Local food hubs as creative leaders of food justice

Arden He, Undergraduate student University Of Wisconsin – Madison                    

Hope and Main (H&M), a large kitchen incubator in Rhode Island, used a point of disruption to impart their own food justice values into the Warren local food system. In response to COVID-19, H&M began using their farmers market as a point of distribution for school lunches; this initial collaboration with the school district led to the creation of the independent Nourish Our Neighbors program, in which H&M sought to distribute what they deemed “real food.” Beyond reaching benchmarks of number of meals distributed or macronutrients satisfied, H&M specifically strived to lend dignity to recipients of the free meals through the creativity and the beauty of the food. Anyone was eligible for the new free meals program: community members did not have to identify themselves as qualifiers for the free meals. At the same public mingling point, other community members were picking up paid-for prepared meals, and shopping at H&M’s farmers market. The Nourish Our Neighbors program also directly sent meals to other community organizations. Through interviews with various Hope and Main staff, as well as the director of the Warren Senior Center, we investigated the attributes of H&M that allowed them to quickly pivot to a highly successful and locally unique meal distribution program, given that their raison d’être is to incubate food businesses. We explore their use of the marketplace specifically as a permeation of public and private interests, and how the multifunctional nature of H&M is a significant factor in their ability to move beyond quantitative expectations. In agreement with previous research by Morales, we find that creative, multifunctional food hubs are essential originators of policy, not simply receivers of policy.

Economic Ramifications: Access to Transportation for People with Disabilities

Michael Schlicting, Doctoral student University of Wisconsin-Madison        

An efficient transportation system is an essential and crucial foundation for productivity. Efficient transportation is often taken for granted, but when transportation fails it can have a detrimental effect on everyone. Midwesterners know the crippling effect a snowstorm can have on getting to work, vacations, or seeing family, but imagine what the world would be like if transportation systems were shut down for not only hours, but years.  This is what someone with an ambulatory disability must struggle with as they may be shut out of transportation systems for a lifetime; which means shut out of work, social activities, and family outings. This study includes a qualitative analysis of feedback from case studies and a pilot study that was conducted on students’ attitude towards the accessibility of ride hailing services.  Additionally, the investigation summarizes a cost-benefit of transportation options to address the future transportation needs of the Baby Boomer generation as well as those who are disabled today and struggle with their transportation. A surprising result of the research is that the difficulty of navigating the system was a constant theme.   This includes giving those who struggle with an ambulatory disability real time information to minimize surprises and plan for obstacles ahead of time including, but not limited to, snow/ice clearing of bike paths, full accessibility inventory of bus stops and stations, and using phone apps to anticipate crowded vehicles, and alert the driver ahead of time of the disabled individuals plans.  Another finding of the report is the application of universal design to increase accessibility for a range of individuals, as well as developing transit-oriented development to all aging in place.  However, emerging technology such as ride hailing services and autonomous vehicles are a major concern.  The findings illustrate the continuous struggle that people with disabilities face regarding transportation in their daily lives. 

Through Technicolored Glasses: Embracing Complexity in Economic Depictions to Support a Sustainability Transition

Naomi Cunningham, Master’s student University of Vermont              

By developing new economic depictions through critiquing and revising previous models, particularly the circular flow diagram, Ecological Economics (EE) has preserved many implicit assumptions of the Neoclassical paradigm. This presentation proposes a new modeling framework developed to align with the core EE principles. Specifically, this framework centers around implicitly emphasizing inter-generational equity and relational values, which are more inclusive of indigenous and non-western worldviews. The modeling framework includes 1) a temporal dimension, indicating that economic overshoot has the potential to impact the quality of life of future generations, and 2) an illustrative mechanism to depict qualitative improvements in well-being. A modeling framework offers a distinct advantage to a singular model of the economy because it can be adapted to new contexts to reflect different theories and values. An adaptable framework also provides a common ‘language’ to illustrate a host of economic concepts, including development, uneconomic growth, and the Ecozoic.                                    

Explaining Changes in U.S. Energy and Economic Trends of the 1970s via the HARMONEY model  

Sajed Sadati, Post-doctoral researcher University of Texas at Austin

This work uses an existing long-term economic growth model, HARMONEY (Human and Resources with MONEY), to explain relationships among biophysical and economic variables. The model uses a stock and flow consistent post-Keynesian economic framework that enables the study of relationships and tradeoffs between resource extraction, consumption, growth, debt, and wages (and hence inequality). The model consists of two industrial sectors, namely Goods production and Extraction of natural resources, and it accounts for both the physical and monetary intermediate demands of the sectors.  As the depletion of natural resources increases resource extraction costs in a negative feedback that slows growth.   At present, the HARMONEY model is not calibrated to the U.S., but because of its inherent formulation that endogenously couples biophysical and ecological economic principles, the HARMONEY model mimics many important trends in the U.S. economic data that changed in direction during the 1970s. In this poster we show that the HARMONEY model helps explain (1) how resource consumption rates and wage bargaining coalesced in the 1970s such that the real wage increased with economic productivity before the 1970s, but not after the 1970s; (2) the increasing quantity of private debt after versus before the 1970s, and (3) decreasing industrial capital capacity utilization after the 1970s. Our results indicate that while wages could have remained high after the 1970s, this would have coincided with very low or no corporate profits. Thus, both increasing private debt and the actions to reduce wage bargaining power, and thus wages, seem to have been a reaction to maintain a capitalist system with profitable firms in the face of stagnating per capita resource consumption.             

The Mortality Cost of Carbon          

R. Daniel Bressler, Doctoral student Columbia University

A large body of scholarly literature has projected that climate change is expected to cause a significant number of excess deaths over the 21st century. However, no studies have yet quantified the number of excess deaths caused by marginal emissions. This is crucial because the effect of marginal emissions today is more important for informing both policy and individual decision-making than the total effect resulting from the emissions of all global economic activity in aggregate across time. This study determines the effect of marginal emissions on temperature-related excess deaths by creating a coupled climate-economy-demographics integrated assessment model called DICE-EMR that includes a climate-mortality damage function estimated from studies chosen from an interdisciplinary systematic research synthesis of the scholarly literature. The impact of marginal emissions on excess deaths is captured in a new metric introduced in this paper — the mortality cost of carbon (MCC) — that avoids many of the pitfalls that plague discussion of the social cost of carbon (SCC) because it measures the marginal mortality impact of climate change in units of excess deaths without discounting or valuing lives. We find that marginal 2020 emissions have a surprisingly large mortality impact over the 21st century: in a baseline emissions scenario, the 2020 MCC is 2.26×10-4 excess deaths per metric ton of 2020 emissions. This implies the emission of 4,434 metric tons of carbon dioxide released in 2020 — equivalent to the lifetime emissions of 3.5 average Americans — causes one excess death globally between 2020-2100. In addition, DICE-EMR updates the climate policy prescribed by Nobel Prize-winning economist William Nordhaus by extending his influential DICE model to include the effect of climate change on human mortality. Before incorporating mortality costs, the 2020 SCC in DICE is $37 per metric ton in the baseline emissions scenario and optimal climate policy involves an emissions plateau and then gradual reductions starting in 2050. After incorporating mortality costs in DICE-EMR, the 2020 SCC increases over seven-fold to $258 per metric ton in the baseline emissions scenario and optimal climate policy involves large immediate emissions reductions and full decarbonization by 2050.      

A shift in the weather: Does experience with extreme weather events inform attitudes towards the relationship between the natural environment and the economy?

Daniel Pratson, Doctoral student University of Vermont            

Perceptions of the relationship between the natural environment and the economy can influence attitudes towards climate change, as the impacts of climate change affect both environmental and economic responses. Literature suggests that personal experience with extreme, short-term weather events can lead to feelings of concern around climate change. However, decision-making regarding climate change is often framed in a way that suggests tradeoffs between the wellbeing of the environment and the strength of the economy. We asked participants of a national online survey to indicate personal experiences with extreme weather events, as well as identify how they perceive of the relationship between the environment and the economy. We provided options that operationalized the concept of the economy embedded within the environment, consistent with one of the core ideas of ecological economics, in order to address the following research questions: How do individuals view the relationship between the environment and the economy? Do experiences with extreme weather events inform this view? Analysis of survey responses is currently underway and will be complete by early spring, 2021. This work will provide current insight to how extreme weather events may impact perceptions of the relationship between the natural environment and the economy. The work will also look to determine whether individuals who have personally experienced extreme weather events may be more aligned to the idea of an “embedded” economy. Results can inform targeted efforts in advocating for a resilient economic system aligned with principles of ecological economics.                                                                                                                                   

Session 2: Ecosystem Services, Measurement and Valuation

Responding to Social Distancing in Conducting Stakeholder Workshops in COVID-19 Era

Catherine Tobin, Doctoral Student, University of Massachusetts Boston

In March 2020, COVID-19 disrupted global society. Impacts as a result of COVID-19 were seen in all industries, including higher education research, which was paused in order to accommodate newly imposed restrictions. Social science research, specifically stakeholder engagement research, was one area that was potentially impacted given its need for person-to-person interaction. Here, we describe how we successfully adjusted our stakeholder engagement methodology to accommodate for socially distant requirements. Initially, we planned to host in-person workshops to assess stakeholder perceptions of microplastics impacts on oysters in Boston Harbor and coastal Massachusetts using the deliberative multicriteria evaluation (DMCE) methodology. To transfer these workshops online, we used familiar, open-access platforms, Zoom and GoogleDrive, to enable dialogue among participants and evaluate preferences. While modifications to length (5 to 3 h) and order (participants were asked to watch expert videos before their participation date) of the workshop were necessary, most other elements of the methodology remained the same for the online format. The main element that was lacking was the in-person interactions. However, with video conferencing tools available, this element was not completely lost.

The value of shade tree disease regulation on coffee farms: a bioeconomic model of coffee rust infestations        

Khashayar Ghorbani, Master’s student University of New Hampshire    

Coffee is under threat of more frequent and more pronounced coffee Leaf Rust (CLR) outbreaks around the tropics due to more extreme temperatures and wet seasons, causing yield losses up to 50%. The Shade-Grown Coffee (SGC) farming system is a recommended climate adaptation and mitigation strategy, but it has remained controversial because of the nonlinear effects of shade on CLR and coffee yields and profits. Shade trees provide disease regulation and other ecosystem services, but they compete with coffee shrubs for soil water, soil nutrition and sunlight. Also, a price premium may be awarded to coffee growers whose production practices align with shade-grown certification framework. We propose a bioeconomic model that integrates an ecological model capturing the effect of shading trees on the CLR temperature and humidity-dependent infestation dynamics, crop growth, and timber production, with a farmer profit-maximization model of optimal shading selection in the presence of CLR infestation. Finally, our model accounts for the value of timber and possible price premiums paid by buyers of shade-grown coffee. Using parameters from the Coffee Triangle region in Colombia, our simulations indicate that in the presence of CLR, the farm expected net present values (ENPV) over 25 years are higher in a SGC system than a sun-grown coffee system in the range of 6-36% shade cover. The optimal shade cover is 23% without any price premium. For higher values of crop growth ecosystem services, the optimum shade cover increases to 28% and decreases to 18% in the absence of a price premium for shade-grown coffee.

How to Save the Elephants

 Brian Gallagher, Undergraduate student Temple University

For over four decades, elephants have been an endangered species. The allure of their ivory tusks, and the products made from them, have attracted traders and craftsmen for generations. However, massive world-wide markets have pushed the demand for ivory beyond sustainable use. The disappearance of elephants would have reverberating effects on other kinds of wildlife, and no doubt impact ivory markets irreversibly. To remedy this crisis, this project focuses on the temporary removal of ivory from markets worldwide and models the restoration of elephant populations to ensure this species’ existence. To curtail poaching, the literature from the last half century suggests a total ban on ivory trading from the world marketplace. Today, Japan remains the largest legal market for selling ivory. A two-step process is required to curtail ivory sales. First, the Japanese government must buy back the nation’s ivory stocks, and then it must educate its populace about the implications of buying ivory products. While this ban is taken into effect, elephant populations will have time to replenish. This project examines Kenyan elephant populations. Using a Leslie Matrix and researched survival rates (under zero poaching), an analysis reveals the nation should see its elephant populations return to carrying capacity in 15-30 years.  As long as there is a financial incentive to hunt elephants, they will always be endangered. For the foreseeable future, the only solution is to close the ivory markets. Perhaps one day, elephants and ivory products can coexist; but for now, preservation should be the priority.

The case for providing financial incentives to local food producers: a measure of economic, social, environmental impact of community food systems

Brian Wiedenfeld, Undergraduate student University of Wisconsin – Madison

In the current state of agriculture in the US, the largest producers are paid to keep being the largest as existing smaller operations are forced to get out, with newer operations struggling to navigate complex markets and systemic barriers. The 2021 Farm Bill budget is $146 billion (USDA, 2021). One quarter will fund farm, conservation, and commodity subsidies. From 1995-2020, the top 10% of subsidy recipients received 78% of the payments (EWG, 2021). Many of these “farms” are subscribed to the industrial agriculture system producing large quantities of product with highly mechanized and chemically intensive processes. This method of farming is synonymous with bad agriculture practices and producing foods that individuals don’t eat. Meanwhile, those who produce nutritious food often do not receive subsidies. In 2020, just $37 million was allocated for the Farmers Market and Local Food Promotion Program and Regional Foods System Partnership (USDA, 2020). Farmers markets offer a way for farmers to reach consumers in a local setting, with measurable impacts in communities. Funding for local food producers and farmers markets is a step forward, but more can be done to support these efforts. It starts with measuring the impact of local food systems. Farm 2 Facts is a non-profit born out of University of Wisconsin – Madison that provides impactful tools for data collecting, analysis and visualization to farmers markets ( A series of metrics have been developed by F2F to track food miles, farmers market visitors, demographics of vendors, dollars spent at the market and a number of others. This presentation reports research in progress of quantitative and qualitative analysis of vendors enrolled in Farm 2 Facts to determine impact on sustainability goals. The conclusion includes suggestions for how to monetize these impacts in the form of financial incentives for local producers and farmers markets.

Farmer Pest Control and Pollinator Health Choices: Evidence from a Choice Experiment with Midwestern Cucurbit Farmers.

Linghui Wu, Doctoral student University of New Hampshire    

Pollinators are declining globally, threatening food production and many ecosystems’ health. Among all bee species, the European honeybee has become the single bee species most heavily relied upon to provide crop pollination services and the most studied. However, ecological studies suggest that wild bees are more productive and more resilient to pests, diseases, and extreme weather.  Despite their importance relative to honeybees, we know little about farmer perceptions of wild pollinating bees and their willingness to conserve them, especially from pesticide exposure. We designed a choice experiment survey asking growers of cucurbits – crop family including squash, pumpkin, watermelon, cucumber- about their preferences for different sets of pollinator and pest management options. We mailed the survey in February of 2019 to a sample of midwestern cucurbit farmers. The dataset includes 143 useable responses. We estimated conditional logit and mixed logit models and found that respondents generally prefer management options with higher pest control effectiveness and do not think honeybee availability and quality have declined over the years.  However, farmers who state that wild pollinators are (very or extremely) important for cucurbit crops, 48% of the sample, are less likely to choose management options with pesticides leaching to nearby soil and water bodies. They are more likely to choose management options that keep managed honeybee colonies strong throughout the season. Surprisingly, even cucurbit farmers who recognize the importance of wild pollinators do not make choices that maintain wild bee populations when adopting management options and consider options that maintain honeybee strength instead. Our results suggest that the perceived notion that honeybee colonies’ availability and quality have not declined over the years induces cucurbit farmers to prefer management options with higher pest control effectiveness and makes them less likely to choose options that sacrifice pest effectiveness for strong honeybee colonies.

Cost Benefit Analysis: Global Sustainable Aquaculture Expansion Versus the “Business as Usual” Scenario

Kaileigh E. Murphy, Undergraduate student Temple University           

In the last 50 years, there has been a sharp increase in wild caught fish exploitation which has led populations to sharply decline and many species to go extinct. In response, regulated harvest rates continue to decline year after year for many species, one being that of Bluefin Tuna, which has cost the US economy millions in profits. Highly regarded literature and data sets suggest this exploitation model has also created negative trophic cascades and many negative externalities to be placed on developing countries or small fishing businesses. Shared belief is that this is the fault of an increasing population while other conceptual models suggest large corporations are doing the majority of exploitation without culpability. Solutions proposed in research suggest the implementation of adaptive frameworks such as the expansion of aquaculture centers globally. Aquaculture is the process of rearing, breeding, and harvesting aquatic species in controlled aquatic environments to increase food production services, restore threatened species, enhance wild stock populations while also enriching and vitalizing communities in the process. Through the lens of Cost Benefit Analysis, this project argues for the installation of four new Bluefin Tuna aquaculture centers off the coast of the US as findings suggest there will be 80 million dollars more in profits as compared to the continuation of business as usual scenario. Moreover, literature also suggests this model will act as a beacon for community-based economic stability, job creation, and science literacy which will help in mitigating the effects of food deserts and species extinction.

Social dependency and forest management in community managed forests of Kumaun Himalayas

Paranjay Kiumar Singh, Doctoral student Indian Institute of Technology, Gandhinagar  

Uttarakhand has a history of community forest management. This paper attempts to investigate different socio-economic characteristics, phytosociology and carbon stocks and their interaction in the Kalsa-Gola sub-watershed of Kumaun Himalayas, Uttarakhand. A total of 406 households from 51 villages in the study area were surveyed using a semi-structured questionnaire. Similarly, phytosociology and carbon stocks were measured in 119 sample plots across 9 different forest types of the study area. Binary logistics model, Spearman correlation, and Whittaker pairwise comparison method were used for the analysis of data. The majority of the households were dependent on forest resources due to lower education level, lesser income, and inadequate alternate livelihood opportunities. The study revealed a significant correlation between diversity index (H’) and tree carbon stock (r=0.381, p≤0.01), herb carbon stock (r=-0.293, p≤0.05), and litter carbon stock (r=-0.398, p≤0.01). Also, it was found that the diversity index has a significant positive/negative correlation with the different carbon pools and extraction of fuel-wood, fodder, and litter. The study found that even with the high dependency of communities with the extraction of different forest products, the forests do not appear to be degraded in terms of diversity and carbon stock. Overall, it can be concluded that village forest communities through experience has evolved an inherent mechanism of sustainable forest management.”

Session 3: Natural Capital, Governance, Management, and Policy

Social Media for Social Change?

Martina Yorde and Natalie Ruben, Undergraduate students Northeastern University

There is no doubt that the speed of climate change necessitates collective global action to educate, mobilize, and address how lifestyle changes are needed to establish values aligned to the natural rhythm of the environment. However, culture, language, and consumerism are significant barriers to rapid and meaningful deployment. These limitations are compounded by the challenge of how to access individuals. One channel that offers multiple communication threads is social media. Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter offer both unique and overlapping opportunities to connect with people. The use of images and visual content reduces language barriers, while access to these media applications increases routine engagement. This paper provides a brief historical overview of the demographics of social media users over the past decade and a foundation for how social media has been used across its different threads. In our assessment we highlight the social media campaigns of selected consumer goods companies (e.g., The Pangaia, Blue Land), limiting our assessment to Instagram and Facebook. We define success as being related to the organic use of a marketing-initiated hashtag. We provide outcomes of these campaigns and we classify the degree of success by hashtag use and participation in non-virtual social action to promote, facilitate, and maintain environmental policy. In concluding, we highlight the limitation of social media, as well. Though social media can catalyze call to action, the understanding and following of a particular social media engagement may be attributed to a preexisting bias. Further, given the limited information that accompanies social media, engagement may not signify understanding of an issue. Finally, research has highlighted that awareness in combination with knowledge presents a tipping point for pro-environmental action. Our next steps include surveys of followers of specific social media engagements to assess what characteristics enable transformation from awareness to action.

Assessing Community Economic Resiliency in Vermont

Emma Spett, Doctoral student University of Vermont    

Vermont is a unique place, and subsequently requires a unique, participatory approach to recovering from the social, health, and economic impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic. This study presents the use of a holistic community development framework and mixed methods research design to consider the key challenges and opportunities for industries and communities across Vermont. The purpose of this study is to consider diverse perspectives from across political, industrial, and social sectors of Vermont to consider the best practices with respect to COVID-19 recovery, and to set the stage for building a more resilient Vermont. This poster will present the preliminary results from a series of roundtables that brought together broad representation from across Vermont sectors, regions, and perspectives that assisted in setting an agenda for community economic development in the state. The poster will also display results from a series of economic analyses aimed at assessing resilience in Vermont. It will then conclude with a look at upcoming research programs aimed at considering the challenges and opportunities that the business and non-profit communities face in Vermont, with a specific focus on BIPOC and women-owned businesses, emerging industries, and non-profit organizations.

Water Market Failure: Solutions in Sustainable Economics

Taber Skiba, Undergraduate student Northeastern University 

Our economic system, by its defined focus, is resource intensive. The number of resources we possess, in effect, defines our well-being. Indeed, GDP has become synonymous with standard of living and quality of life. In the present period, acknowledgement of the anthropogenic impact to the planet is increasingly understood. A conundrum exists in that the measure of well-being based on natural resource quality is adversely impacted as a result of its attainment, as captured in the indicator developed to measure the same. This paper addresses one specific resource, water, as it relates to GDP. I provide a historical perspective on the use and protection of this resource in the United States. Highlighting Adam Smith’s paradox of value, I discuss how the use of economic incentives though necessary are not sufficient in fostering value for water. Findings from a preliminary survey conducted at Northeastern University (Boston, Massachusetts) and designed for this research project reveal that education resulting in voluntary conservation is a more significant tool than rationing or price. The discussion of the survey and results address the relationship between social change and active stakeholder engagement. Next steps related to this study are provided and include a proposal for a stakeholder engagement process.

Connecting the Supply Chain with Consumption: Can Education Reduce Food Waste?

C. Lucia Moreira & Belkis Montas, Undergraduate students Northeastern UniversityMore than 820 million people struggle with hunger every year, while billions of tons of food are wasted. The challenge is indiscriminate, existing in developed, as well as, developing economies.  Related to the issue is food waste, according to the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), one third of all food produced globally is lost or goes to waste. In the U.S., the existing economic system fails to address the contradiction between food waste and food insecurity; instead of providing a channel for price differentiated distribution, commercialized food production incentivizes waste. Given the resource footprint of agriculture, which includes freshwater withdrawals, deforestation, and greenhouse gas emissions, the estimated 35 percent or nearly 140 million tons of pre-market food waste represents more than a humanitarian issue, food waste and our relationship with food is a climate change issue. The problem of food waste is found in the pricing and related commoditization of food that basically distorts its value as a necessity for life to a market price that is not reflective of this significance. In this paper we address the paradox of value inherent in food waste. We evaluate the reason for food waste in a college community where meal plans, and convenience dominate food choice and where the institution has the ability to educate. Using an electronically distributed survey, we gather information related to food aesthetics, purchase motivations, and student understanding of the relationship between food and health. Based on the results, which highlight the limited understanding of food waste, we provide recommendations for reducing food waste through education, food portions, and institutional policies. Further, we advocate for institution-based solutions for food waste reduction, given that microlevel policy is better able to adapt to the characteristics of individual units from the household to the corporation dining hall.

Guiding Humans Toward a Sustainable Future

Patricia McKay, Doctoral student Michigan State University   

Individual, institutional, and policy decision management (i.e. governance) has contributed to a disruption of socio-ecological systems (SES). These disruptions have resulted in unprecedented system challenges (e.g., climate change, the pandemic, and associated consequences such as severe weather, poverty, social unrest; and the decline of ecological health and well-being). Little research has focused holistically on how to transform SES governance for sustainable and resilient SES well-being. This research provides insight into the collective behavior of SES, and underlying problems and barriers to achieving the requisite social change when tackling wicked SES problems. We provide a framework, diagnostic tools, and processes by which improved SES governance can occur. A State of Michigan environmental and public health program provided a longitudinal mixed methods action research case study. This program underwent a re-invention to improve the rate of risk reduction associated with uncontrolled hazardous waste in the environment. At the heart of this re-invention effort was a shift in governance – moving from more traditional hierarchical governance to the Quality Governance Framework (QGF), aligning individuals, institutions, and policy with the complexities of today’s SES. Significant and rapid risk reduction actions occurred. Further, trust was built among the practitioners and the public. We also studied the impact of subsequent system shock on the durability of the social transformation and provide lessons learned. We aim to contribute to the growing body of collective knowledge regarding SES governance and transformative change to meet the challenges we face.

COVID-19 and Seed System Resilience: The Effects of the Pandemic on Seed Sourcing and Access in Vermont

Carina Isbell, Master’s student The University of Vermont       

The effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have rippled across the United States’ (US) food system, resulting simultaneously in skyrocketing demand in some sectors and shrinking markets in others. The US seed sector was particularly marked by the former in the spring and summer of 2020; panic-buying, rising gardening demand, and heightened safety precautions in seed fulfillment facilities precipitated a commercial seed sector overwhelmed and unprepared to meet consumer demand for seed, especially for non-commercial growers. In response, prominent scholars and seed system actors have emphasized the need to refocus on farmer- and gardener-managed seed systems which often maintain higher degrees of crop diversity than the privatized, highly consolidated, and corporate-led global seed system in which four companies control 67% of global market share. However, limited attention to non-commercial seed systems in the US, coupled with an information lag on the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on growers, first warrants investigation into the strengths and vulnerabilities of existing seed systems. This paper examines how commercial and non-commercial growers adapted to seed shortages amidst the pandemic. Using a mixed-methods approach which includes data from online surveys and semi-structured interviews with seed growers and farmers who grow crops from seed in Vermont, initial findings suggest the COVID-19 pandemic led growers to adapt their seed sourcing as well as the types of crop varieties they typically grow. Depending on the seed sources used and crop varieties grown, some growers also faced more difficulties than others in obtaining preferred seed. These findings highlight the varying capacity of different seed systems to contribute to resilience and/or vulnerability among growers. More broadly, the insights from this study illuminate how directing resources and attention to the often-overlooked non-commercial seed system can help US growers meet and respond to manifold challenges.

Microeconomic Perspective of Sustainability: What influences businesses to adopt sustainable practices?

Annie Prince Periapurath, undergraduate student City University of New York (CUNY)          

Sustainability first appeared in 1987 in the Brundtland commission report published by the United Nations. It means satisfying “the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs” (Brundtland Report, 1987).  The framework which helps achieve the needs of the present and protect the needs of the future, is the three pillars of sustainable development which is described to be “economic development, social development and environmental protection” (2005 World Summit Outcome Document, 2005). This framework also requires that progress in any one of these pillars should not reverse the developments of other pillars. This means that progress in all three sectors is equally important in achieving sustainability.  Organizations that buy and sell goods or services for profit are businesses. Due to the nature of buying and selling, these businesses engage with the economy, society, and the environment. In recent years, businesses have tried to emulate similar sustainable development frameworks despite the added costs of researching sustainable alternatives. Unfortunately, they have ignored their moral responsibility of protecting society and the environment by going against the sustainability framework and prioritizing economic development over social development and environmental protection. This paper attempts to understand what drives businesses to go against the sustainable development framework by analyzing how it makes economic decisions. The paper also attempts to study why businesses research sustainable alternatives in their production process. Qualitative analysis is conducted to understand the framework used by businesses in making decisions.

Call for Papers: Building Alternative Livelihoods in times of ecological and political crisis

An International Online Joint Conference of the international degrowth research networks, the International Society for Ecological Economics, and the European Society for Ecological Economics, hosted by University of Manchester, UK, July 5-8, 2021

Call for papers has been extended to March 1st, 2021. For more information and to submit, visit the conference website at

For questions, contact

2021 Webinar Series: The Post-Covid Economy: Centering Justice, Sustaining Ecosystems

The USSEE is excited to announce the launch of our 2021 Webinar Series: The Post-Covid Economy: Centering Justice, Sustaining Ecosystems.

Our first event in this series is titled Fundamentals of Ecological Economics in Today’s World, and will be held Thursday January 28th at 3pm EST by speakers Phil Warsaw and Regina Ostergaard-Klem.

Follow the Eventbrite Link here for more details, and to register for this free event!

Abstract: This webinar will provide a primer on Ecological Economics, with a focus on the foundations of the discipline related to environmental justice, and sustaining ecosystems that are becoming even more apparent and relevant in today’s world.  The COVID-19 pandemic and resulting fallout have shone light on the ongoing disparities economic, health, social and ecological crises, their unevenness among multiple social lines, and the inability of a perpetual growth economy in remediating these crises. This inadequacy calls for the biophysical limits of the planet while centering equity in economic systems, which is at the core of Ecological Economics. This seminar will both cover the fundamentals of Ecological Economics and outline what an ecological economic response to COVID-19 might look like. The event will consist of approximately 40 minutes of presentation, followed by 20 minutes of open discussion.

Speaker Bios:

Dr. Ostergaard-Klem is an associate professor of environmental science in the College of Natural and Computational Sciences at Hawai’i Pacific University. Her research focuses on the design, development, and roll out of the Genuine Progress Indicator for the state of Hawaii as a supplemental indicator to gross state product and exploring the role of ecological economics in developing sustainability competencies in undergraduate and graduate students.

Dr. Warsaw is an Assistant Professor of Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University. Broadly, his research takes an interdisciplinary approach to questions of environmental justice, economic development, and sustainability, combining approaches from economics and the other social sciences, such as the use of critical theory.

Call for Abstracts: USSEE 2021 Virtual Poster Conference

Building Resilient Economies in a Time of Uncertainty

April 16, 2021

The United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE) announces a call for abstracts for our first virtual poster conference on the theme, “Building Resilient Economies in a Time of Uncertainty”. The conference aims to highlight the multiple uncertainties of our time, including the COVID-19 pandemic, environmental and racial injustice, unprecedented wildfires, an extraordinary Atlantic hurricane season, and ongoing impacts of climate change. The objective of the conference is to provide students with an opportunity to present their work and receive feedback from members of the ecological economics community.

We welcome abstracts from undergraduate students, graduate students, and postdoctoral researchers that explore themes related to ecological economics within the context or at the intersection of one of the following contemporary sub-themes:

  1. Climate and energy
  2. Ecosystem services, measurement, and valuation
  3. Environmental justice, racial equity, and Indigenous issues
  4. Natural capital, governance, management, and policy
  5. Scale, ecological limits, and degrowth

Abstracts should include the following information

  • Presenting author’s name, affiliation, and e-mail address
  • Presenter category (i.e., undergraduate, Master’s, or PhD student, postdoctoral)
  • Title of the poster presentation
  • Body of the Abstract up to 300 words, including Background, Research Question, and Methods, in which the objective of the study and the methods are described; and Results and Conclusions, in which results of the study and their implications are discussed.

To submit an abstract, complete the Abstract Submission Form. Abstracts will be accepted through January 31, 2021, and notifications of acceptance will be provided by February 12, 2021, along with instructions for submission of the poster (as a PowerPoint presentation file) and a brief recorded audio presentation of no more than five minutes. The deadline for submission of posters will be Friday, April 2. All presenters must be registered as members of USSEE by the time of submission of posters. To become a member of USSEE and the International Society for Ecological Economics, see this link. Note that students can become a member for an annual membership fee of only $15.

The conference will take place on Friday, April 16, 3:00 – 5:00pm Eastern time, and will include facilitated breakout sessions according to conference sub-themes. We hope that you will submit your Abstract and join USSEE today!

Call for Papers: Special Issue on “Sustainable Economic Development”

A special issue, Sustainable Economic Development, will be published in the journal Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). The special issue focuses on the rationale for human behavioral change to establish sustainable economic development and invites papers from social sciences, humanities, and natural sciences. The themes of focus in this issue (see below) are dominated by questions that, in being answered, may provide the catalyst to drive behavioral change through fostering understanding. Other related themes are encouraged. If you have questions, please email

Special Issue Themes:

Why is sustainability an important objective?

How does culture affect economic systems and what impact does an economic system, in turn, have on culture?

Why has a single economic framework dominated the definition of progress?

How can an alternative indicator of progress be implemented?

What is the purpose of an economic system?

How can sustainability be presented as a universal human value?

What are the most significant impediments to achieving a sustainability focus when it comes to

economic progress?

How can we engage stakeholders to promote sustainability values?

More details on the special issue can be found on the Sustainability website:

The manuscript submission deadline is: 15 March 2021.

We hope that you will consider contributing to this special issue! Please circulate this call among your colleagues or interested parties you may know.

Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050, IF 2.576) is an international, cross-disciplinary, scholarly and open access journal of environmental, cultural, economic, and social sustainability of human beings. Which is indexed by the Science Citation Index Expanded and the Social Sciences Citation Index, please see Our aim is to encourage scientists to publish their experimental and theoretical results in as much detail as possible. There is no restriction on the length of the papers. Please visit the journal’s website at for the journal’s aims and scope, instructions for authors, editorial board members and other details.

Advancing a just and sustainable society within the biophysical limits of global ecosystems