Nominees for ESEE Board Member 2022-2024
You can vote for up to 4 nominees.
I am the Data Analysis & Research Lead at Doughnut Economics Action Lab, an organisation co-founded by Kate Raworth and Carlota Sanz to turn Doughnut Economics from ideas in a book into transformative action with a growing community of practitioners spanning civil society, government, business, education, academia, and more.
I’m based in Spain, and I lead our distributed team’s engagement with applied research, data analysis and iteratively improving our methodologies, especially for “downscaling” the global Doughnut to many places – from neighbourhoods to nations.
Before joining Doughnut Economics Action Lab, I was the recipient of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Fellowship funded by the European Commission for the project ‘Living Well: Provisioning Systems for Sustainable Resource Use and Human Well-Being’ hosted at the Sustainability Research Institute at the University of Leeds (with Dan O’Neill), where I remain a Visiting Research Fellow.
My research in ecological economics has been published in leading journals, such as Nature Sustainability and Global Environmental Change, and I have led the development of an interactive website where people can explore the results of our major studies that quantify the social achievements and ecological sustainability of 150 countries since the early 1990s.
I’ve been a member of ESEE since 2015 and I’m motivated to join the Board because I believe this Society of researcher-activists holds more potential than any other that I’m aware of to inspire and inform deliberate action towards safe and just post-growth economies.
At Doughnut Economics Action Lab, we receive an overwhelming level of interest, energy, and desire for change from people outside of academia, of all ages and stripes – from UN agencies and the Pope to Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future, and everything in between. I believe that I can contribute to the Board’s work by bringing this non-academic perspective while simultaneously raising the profile of ecological economics outside of the academic sphere.
I’d be honoured to serve on ESEE’s Board and I’m confident that my values and unique experience would make a meaningful contribution. At the same time, I also want to acknowledge that I have inherited a privileged starting position as a middle-class, able-bodied, light-skinned, Canadian-born male – I warmly encourage all ESEE members to vote for your Board with a diversity of lived experience in mind.
I research and teach in the areas of social ecology and ecological economics, with a focus on social metabolism, that is, on the resource flows and stocks required to reproduce a society. Much of my work has been on the role of trade in international material (and other) inequalities. I’m particularly interested in how societal organization, e.g., the prevailing economic system, shapes resource flows and vice versa. To me, this type of knowledge is an important precursor to finding out how we can organize better societies that not only have less impact on their environment but are also more equal and conducive to a good life for all.
I teach classes related to the concept and methods of social metabolism, ecological (macro)economics, environmental justice, and environmental sociology, as well as quantitative research methods (‘working with numbers’).
My passion-on-the-side is for language and the many ways in which how we communicate shapes our thinking and hence understanding of the world around us (in the vein of, e.g., ecocriticism).
Since September 2021, I’m an assistant professor at the Department of Environmental Sciences and Policy at the Central European University in Vienna, Austria. I previously worked for almost 15 years at the Institute of Social Ecology (now at the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna) and spent two years as a postdoctoral research fellow at the Institute of Environmental Science and Technology of the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (ICTA-UAB).
Ecological economics must provide analytical counter-approaches to the ‘mainstream’ economics arguments for socially and environmentally destructive institutions and policies. I joined the ESEE board in 2018 with the aims of facilitating collaborative work on a strong, consolidated research agenda for ecological economics with unified overarching aims and a diversity of strategic perspectives and of strengthening our academic society and the ecological economics research it conducts.
During the last 4 years, as ESEE board members, we have sought to be more vocal and pro-active on important topics for our community. I am centrally involved in our emerging initiative on staying grounded (i.e., avoiding air travel) and the framework that must be in place in order to make this the choice of ecological economists. As chair of the publications and publicity committee, I am currently working to get our website into shape and to awaken our newsletter from its intermittent slumber. I have enjoyed working on the ESEE board and would very much like to continue to do so.
Mine Islar is an Associate Professor at Lund University Center for Sustainability Studies (LUCSUS). Her research interests are political ecology and transformative political frameworks including degrowth. Currently, she is co-leading a project called ‘Postgrowth Welfare Societies’ that aims to assess ways of decoupling welfare from economic growth. She is a Lead Author for the IPBES Global Assessment (2019) and Values Assessment (2022) with a focus on multiple valuation methods of nature. She has published over 20 internationally peer-reviewed articles in journals including Ecology & Society, Geoforum, Global Environmental Change, COSUST, Conservation and Society.
I have been an active member of the ESEE since 2010. The research community has been central in expanding the scope and vision of my academic work. I would like to return this contribution by joining the ESEE board and bring forth questions about post-growth economy and society. This will support the ESEE´s work on important questions relating to the interdisciplinary nature of economics and how it is intertwined with discussions about planetary challenges, societal change and just equitable futures.
Simon is an ecological economist. His work focuses on trying to understand and undermine capitalism.
Simon is employed as a lecturer in circular economy and data analytics at the University of Bradford, where he is program lead for the Master in Business Administration in Innovation, Enterprise and Circular Economy. He is co-investigator on “Pedagogy Without Growth: An exploratory study of post-growth teaching in UK Business Schools”. An action research project exploring degrowth and post-growth teaching in management education. He is also co-investigator on the “Marine Spatial Planning Addressing Climate Effects (MSPACE)” project where he leads a work package using input-output models to explore links between marine resources, climate change, and regional supply chains.
Before joining the University of Bradford, Simon got his PhD from the University of Surrey, where he also worked as a Research Fellow with the Centre for the Understanding of Sustainable Prosperity. Here he explored the economic potential of utopian fiction, and the history of economic thought. He was also a teaching fellow at the University of Salford.
Simon’s academic work has been published in Ecological Economics, The Lancet Planetary Health, The Journal of Cleaner Production, and other outlets. His non-academic writing has been published by BBC Future, Current Affairs, and New Socialist, amongst others.
The central strength of ESEE is in bringing together a community of politically engaged scholars with a shared worldview. For many of us, this community is an invaluable space because the other institutions we are embedded within are complicit in maintaining unjust and unsustainable economies. If elected I would work to strengthen ESEE’s community.
First, I would like to strengthen links between our community and likeminded communities. There are substantive overlaps between ecological and feminist economics, and I would work to increase links between our communities, through shared events, for example.
Second, I will work to develop spaces within ESEE where we can come together as communities of practice and develop strategies for embedding ecological economics within other institutions. As a concrete example, I propose convening learning sets where we can share and develop strategies for embedding ecological economics within teaching programs. This is an extension of the action research project I am currently undertaking which seeks to develop a community of practice around degrowth and post-growth teaching in UK business schools (which are generally very pro growth!). In this way we can use the space offered by ESEE to make concrete advances in our scholarly and political agenda.
I’m professor in Economics at the University of Pisa. My research is mainly centered on the relationship between (un)economic growth, environmental degradation and human well-being, from an ecological economics perspective, but you can read more on my web-page https://people.unipi.it/tommaso_luzzati/curriculum/626-2/
From the time of my PhD, environmental degradation and sustainable development have been at the center of my interests. Simultaneously, I have been aware that the idea of externalities, coupled with methodological individualism and exogenous preferences, provide a very limited view on the issue, and give rise to an approach that is epistemologically very weak. This was also the argument that I tackled in the paper which I presented at the first ESEE conference I participated in, which was held in Geneva in 1998. I found it to be a convivial and highly interdisciplinary community, based on very robust epistemological tenets (for instance, incommensurability). Since then, I have been fortunate to participate in all conferences organized by the ESEE and some by the ISEE.
Much has changed meanwhile. Within economics what was seen as very heterodox in the past has become (almost) mainstream, such as the importance attributed to behavioural issues or to social preferences. Our academic journal was seen in many countries, or at least in Italy, as a low-quality journal not belonging to economics, however in the last few years it is becoming increasingly appreciated. At the societal level much has also changed. For instance, until recently, “planned obsolescence” was dismissed as belonging to conspiracy theory, and now the EU parliament and EU commission have acknowledged it as an important failure of our economic system and are introducing policies that, at least on paper, are aimed at fighting it. In addition, Greta has appeared, and thousands of young people are now putting pressure on politicians. Finally, the debate is now centered on issues which have always been at the core of our research.
In my opinion, there is an urgent need to strengthen the social impact of Ecological Economics and contribute to making our system exiting the lock-in in which vested interests and mental habits dramatically keep us chained. We have been living in the XXI century for 20 years, but politicians seem to have difficulty in realizing this.
ESEE has the duty to contribute both towards dismissing false myths that still prevail today (e.g. technological salvation) but also to show ordinary people that a just transition is not only possible, but also improves welfare and well-being.
For the reasons which are synthesized above, I am chairing the organization of the 14th ESEE conference next June 2022 in Pisa and I am available to serve on the board of the ESEE, hoping to bring a fresh contribution and make the ESEE even more visible both in academia and in the public debate.
My CV is available here https://people.unipi.it/tommaso_luzzati/curriculum/626-2/
Originally a human geographer, I discovered ecological economics while working for Statistics Norway. I later wrote my Ph.D on the role of numbers in environmental policy, including their discursive role and the link between quantification and capitalism. As a result, I moved to focus on understanding the underlying causes of the social-ecological crisis (vs. simply mapping what is going on), and in this process, also developed a strong interest in philosophy of science.
I worked as a civil servant on international biodiversity politics at the Austrian Ministry of Sustainability, but found it difficult to address the causes of the current crises from within the existing state institutions. I now work for the Association for International Water Studies and as a freelance writer covering topics such as greenwashing, the Green New Deal and financialisation of nature.
As an environmental activist, I have been involved in organising the Degrowth Vienna 2020 conference, editing the report Degrowth of Aviation and running the website https://degrowth.no/. I am also a co-founder of Rethinking Economics Norway and enjoy promoting ecological economics and heterodox thinking, including recently editing a Norwegian textbook on heterodox theories.
For more information, please visit: https://www.wu.ac.at/mlgd/staff/tone-smith
At the Turku conference (2019) the decision was taken for ESEE to become more politically engaged. That means we must move beyond technical discussions on policy instruments and address the need for structural change and for exploring alternative societal institutions. ESEE should help ‘translate’ scientific understanding of structural challenges into more available language and participate in societal debates at the appropriate level. If elected to the ESEE board, I wish to contribute, in particular, to the following two issues:
1) Building stronger ecological economic theory. Sound theoretical thinking is necessary to inform the development of policy proposals and political projects that addresses the current social-ecological crisis. Furthermore, it is important for evaluating the current plethora of sustainability proposals (e.g. circular economy, well-being economy, doughnut economics).
2) Making ecological economics better known. My work in Rethinking Economics has revealed there is a real hunger for alternative economic perspectives, amongst political parties, eNGOs and social scientists who would like to cooperate with alternative thinking economists. However, they often don’t know exactly where to find such economists (us!), nor what are the alternatives.