1. Editorial

  • Editorial: Getting to work for the society, by Irene Ring  

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • News from the ESEE board
  • ESEE Ecological Economics Training Institutes: Call for applications

3. Hot Topic

  • Biodiversity, motivation, habit: The big bad wolf and biodiversity in general, by Juha Hiedanpää

4. Events

  • Policy Mixes in Environmental and Conservation Policies, 25-27 February 2014, Leipzig, Germany
  • Call for papers: Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, 2-6 September 2014, Leipzig, Germany
  • Second Meeting of the Ecological Economics Association in Spain, 14-16 February 2014, Ronda (Malaga) Spain

5. Publications

  • News Book: The Costs Of Economic Growth, Edited by Peter A. Victor, Professor in Environmental Studies, York University, Canada

6. Students and early career

  • Ecological Economics Masters programs
  • DFG/ICSU/ISSC Young Scientists Networking Conference on Integrated Science: Ecosystems and human wellbeing in the green economy
  • Symposium on “Remote Sensing for Conservation”, 22-23 May 2014, London, UK
  • Applied Methods Related to Regime Shifts in Social-Ecological Systems, 27-28 June 2014, Istanbul, Turkey
  • European Summer School The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change, 6-12 July 2014, Venice, Italy

1. Editorial


   Editorial: Getting to work for the society

by Irene Ring

Towards the end of the year 2013, I am looking back on a very busy year in service for ESEE. We have been updating and setting up ESEE governance structures with some experienced and many new board members. I would like to take the opportunity to cordially thank my fellow board members for all the hard work dedicated to ESEE this year. Many of us needed to get familiar with new or additional tasks and it has not always been easy to find the necessary time in the light of stressful lives in research and education. Nevertheless, we had two board meetings with full participation and I am really delighted having the pleasure to work with a highly motivated and creative team. We are now all engaged in 4 committees – Conferences and Meetings, Education, Publication and Publicity, and Fund Raising and Membership, with a number of initiatives on the horizon.

For the Conferences and Meetings committee, the ESEE 2013 Conference has naturally been the major focus, with preparations and discussions for ESEE 2015 in Leeds, UK, already on their way. In the follow up of ESEE 2013, committee chair Olivier Petit is leading activities for the ESEE special issue in Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG). The ESEE 2013 Local Organizing Team is also following up with further options for conference publications, as there were various offers by publishers as well as many promising paper submissions available. Furthermore, we dealt with requests to become a partner of other conferences and workshops. So we will have some ESEE-supported events in 2014, such as the Degrowth Conference 2014 in Leipzig, Germany.

With regard to the Education committee, the Board has decided at its summer board meeting that in the future, we will financially support ESEE Ecological Economics Training Institutes. Guidelines and a Call for Applications are available at the "news" section of the newsletter and we hope to provide some seed money already for a first event in 2014. Committee chair Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská has also led the process working on the guidelines for the Best Student Paper prize, awarded at the ESEE biannual conferences. For our website, Jasper Kenter is about to update master courses with a significant component of ecological economics in them.

The Publication and Publicity committee has a lot of important continuous tasks for our society with the regular newsletter and website management, now under the responsibility of Lenka Slaviková. We currently organise a change of duties for the core persons in the background putting together and sending out the ESEE newsletter and managing the website. I would like to cordially thank Panos Petridis at the Vienna Institute of Social Ecology (newsletter) and Peter Baus at CETIP network (website) for their managerial support to ESEE in the past! During ESEE 2013, we had a meeting on the status and development of Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG) together with Andy Gouldson (Editor of EPG), Begüm Özkaynak (ESEE editor of EPG) and ESEE representatives on the EPG Editorial Board. Previously called “European Environment”, EPG is now on its way to become a truly international journal since its relaunch under the present name back in 2009, when it also became the official scientific journal of ESEE.

The Fund Raising and Membership committee, chaired by Erik Gómez-Baggethun, is currently updating the ESEE country contact network that has been set up under the presidency of Arild Vatn. The ESEE board would like to intensify the regular exchange between the country contacts and the board. For this purpose, we are planning a joint half-day meeting just before the ISEE 2014 conference in Reykjavik, Iceland. Led by Nuno Videira, the committee is also intensively reviewing past experience on membership campaigns and working on a membership recruitment and retention strategy.

Last, but not least, our student representatives Leslie Carnoye and Jasper Kenter are doing a great job involving students in ecological economics and matters of the society. Leslie is managing and moderating the quite active ESEE facebook group with a membership almost as large as the membership of the society itself – wow! Jasper Kenter is handling the ESEE student email list with around 200 participants, next to managing the ESEE LinkedIn group. Both are also taking care of the ‘students and early career’ section in the ESEE newsletter where we regularly get acquainted with young academics in ecological economics.

Building ecological economics requires good research and intellectual engagement. It also requires a dynamic society with active members and good leadership. So if you have good ideas to support the work of the board, please let us know! In the meanwhile, I wish you and your families a peaceful and relaxing Christmas holiday and a Happy New Year! 


2. News from ESEE and its members

News from the ESEE board

ESEE Committees set up

Work in the ESEE Board is largely organized in sub-committees. During the last ESEE board meeting in June 2013 in Lille, four committee chairs have been assigned to manage ESEE business in relation to education, fund raising and membership, conferences and meetings as well as publicity and publications. Each committee chair is supported by 2 to 3 board members, and together, they follow up with a number of responsibilities on their agenda. Committee chairs are the relevant persons to contact in case of your questions, comments or inputs, relating to the agenda topics below. They are as follows:

·         Education Committee chaired by Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská (agenda: summer schools, ESEE training institutes, student prices, educational courses and programmes in Ecological Economics)

·         Fund Raising and Membership Committee chaired by Erik Gómez Baggethun (agenda: country contacts, membership, fund raising)

·         Conference and Meetings Committee chaired by Olivier Petit (agenda: ESEE conference venues, planning and supervision; ESEE workshops and meetings; ESEE supported events)

·         Publications and Publicity Committee chaired by Lenka Slavíková (agenda: website, newsletter, relations with journals, marketing and PR)

All committee chairs welcome your suggestions and concerns, if any, so do not hesitate to write them. All relevant contacts are listed on the ESEE webpage in the governance section.

Election to the Board of the ISEE

ISEE elections of seven board members and the President-elect are currently taking place. The elected candidates will all serve for two years. ESEE members are automatically ISEE members, and have recently received information on candidates and the election process. We encourage you to cast your ballot! 

ESEE Ecological Economics Training Institutes: Call for applications

Following the history of past educational events (THEMES 2006-2009, Thor Heyerdahl Summer School in Environmental Governance 2011 & 2012, Central European School on Multiple methods in the Governance of the Commons (2009-2013), the ESEE board is pleased to announce a call for funding a series of transdisciplinary and collaborative training institutes on Ecological Economics aimed at early career researchers, practitioners and decision-makers in Europe. Events can be focused on any of the diverse range of topics associated with ecological economics, but will share a common participatory approach and structure. Local organisers can (annually) bid for up to 2000 euros for events that meet a number of criteria, as detailed below:

Event Criteria
• Highly collaborative and participatory; not just a series of lectures and presentations.
• Transdisciplinary: including participants beyond academia, e.g. decision-makers, practitioners, community representatives, etc.
• Students are heavily involved in organising the event.
• Zero or low cost for participation, with some kind of bursary opportunities for those in a low-income situation.
• The organisers have to record participant feedback on the event and make this available to ESEE.
• Environmental awareness: a plan to minimise (and potentially compensate) the carbon footprint and other environmental costs.
• Involvement of one or more ESEE board members to guarantee criteria are met and to further year-to-year learning regarding format and engagement.

Further guidelines and suggestions
In addition to mandatory criteria, ESEE suggests the following guidelines for the events. These guidelines will also be used to decide between competing applications if more than one application is made for sponsorship in an annual round.
• Duration: 2 days for pre-conference events, 3-5 days for other events
• Number of participants: 20-30 participants; a relatively small group of students helps to build group cohesiveness and identity.
• A mix of students and post-docs with at least one third post-docs.
• Provide opportunities for publication of outputs.
• Provide opportunities for ECTS credits associated with courses.
• Remote locations are preferred to maximise engagement.
• Family friendly locations with childcare options available.
• As the decision on competing proposals is taken by the ESEE Board, active ESEE Board members are excluded from submitting applications for competition. However, they are still free to submit applications, but these will only be considered in the case of no other eligible application(s) available from applicants outside the ESEE Board for the following year.

Procedure for applications
Candidates can apply annually to ESEE for up to 2000 euros towards the cost of an event to be held within the following two years, provided it meets the criteria, but are responsible for raising the remaining funds. Applications should include a short rationale for the meeting including a description of the meeting format (max 2 pages), a budget, an indication of what ESEE funds will be spent on, and an overview of other (potential) funding sources.

Applications for events in 2014 should be submitted by the 28th of February 2014, the decision will be published by the 30th of April 2014.

Applications for events in 2015 should be submitted by the 31st of October 2014, and will be decided upon in November 2014.

Tatiana Kluvankova-Oravska, Chair of Education committee


3. Hot Topic

Biodiversity, motivation, habit: The big bad wolf and biodiversity in general

by Juha Hiedanpää

Biodiversity is on the decline globally. This is the case despite various institutional designs following the RIO 1992 summit. On a Brundtlandian pathway, the Rio+20 meeting rearticulated the concern and hoped that we [the representatives of the States] “with the full participation of civil society, renew our commitment to sustainable development and to ensuring the promotion of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet and for present and future.” In twenty years, the focus has shifted to the critical role of civil society in attaining sustainable development. It is not only formal institution-building that matters.

The principles and spirits of international treaties, such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES), the Bern Convention, the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and, in Europe, the Habitats Directive as well, set the basis for national conservation legislation. In Finland, as well as in other parts of Europe, national biodiversity strategies and biodiversity action plans have recently been undergoing renewal. Governments around the globe are taking various steps to handle the challenge of biodiversity. How much do biodiversity or ecosystem services really weigh?

The work of the intergovernmental platform for biodiversity and ecosystem services (IPBES) began in 2012 with high expectations. It is hoped that IPBES will prove as meaningful on the biodiversity front as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has become on the climate front. This may of course become the case. As national work is about to begin, one important aspect has come to the fore, at least in Finland. Governmental resources for the IPBES are miniscule. At the first IPBES stakeholder meeting, held in November 2013, it became evident that the majority of the work will build upon voluntary action by scientists and administrators. Some participants stated that the lack of financial resources will handicap the process. But not all shared that opinion.

One environmental economist stood up and claimed that, the situation being as it is, we - as scientists and administrators - must act voluntarily, become committed to the task of the good cause without asking for payment for our time and effort. She hit the nail on the head.

Recall all of the fine institutional arrangements erected for the sake of protecting biodiversity – and the problems still prevail. The true challenge is, then, not the institutional scaffolding as such but the motivation that these scaffolds prevent or enable. It seems to be the case that biodiversity laws, policies and instruments do not motivate people to act for nature. Indeed, institutions have been erected to prevent us from doing wrong (to biodiversity and people) but they have not been designed to help us to do good. Prohibitions do not motivate action the same way as, say, encouragement.

Nonetheless, people do exist who act for biodiversity. How do they do it? Why do they do it?

This is exactly what the BIOMOT project (MOTivational strength of ecosystem services and alternative ways to express the value of BIOdiversity) is addressing in 2011–2015. The BIOMOT project, funded by the EU’s FP7 programme, collects together partners from seven European countries, comprising eight partner universities. The project is employing a variety of scientific disciplines, such as economics, philosophy, governance studies and social psychology. The interdisciplinary work will explore (i) the current state of environmental valuation and actual and potential alternatives to mainstream approaches; (ii) the features of those biodiversity policies, instruments and initiatives that motivate people to act; (iii) the personal and social characteristics of the innovators of such schemes; and (iv) the building blocks of the alternative theory of motivation. When the project concludes, it might be possible to gain a robust insight how these “successful” schemes have broken old habits and routines and helped to form new ones that motivate people to act for nature.

It is, indeed, one task to figure out the causes and reasons for inactivity, i.e. why people do not act for nature. The other task is to figure out why people act purposefully against nature. This is the wicked case with the protection of some specimens of biodiversity, say, the wolf (Canis lupus).

In Finland, the government has been committed to erecting institutional scaffolds to protect the wolf, but this has actually had the opposite effect: despite the efforts, the size of the wolf population has been in a steady decline for nearly all of the past ten years. The Finnish wolf policy is a showcase in institutional design, the purpose of which is to prevent people from doing wrong, i.e. killing wolves illegally. The government has, for instance, introduced a category of severe hunting crime to the criminal code and multiplied the nominal values of large carnivores. The approach has not been a solution to a problem. Perhaps it is one of its key causes. The top-down regulation of the wolf issues faces strong and persistent resistance, and at the same time the ex ante and ex post damage compensation schemes and ever more accurate information about the numbers and origins of wolves are not really helping the people to live with the wolves.

The question is: which kinds of instruments or policies would motivate people to live with the wolves? This is not a matter of preventing people from doing wrong, but actively helping them to do something which is good for both themselves and the broader society. This concern does not only apply in Finland. Large carnivores are also returning to their native territories and habitats after decades of absence in other parts of Europe.

Perhaps the wolf policy would need workable “nudges” to make co-existence easier. According to Cass Sunstein (2013, Simpler: the future of government, p. 38), “nudges are approaches that influence decisions while preserving the freedom of choice”. Thinking around nudges offers a way to look beyond regulation, compensation and information and focus on how to design perhaps only slightly modified choice architectures that may have large effects on outcomes, i.e. how people come to terms with the presence of the wolf. The wolf-related nudges alter the shared environment of the wolf and humans. For instance, feeding areas for white-tailed deer may be located a bit further away from the vicinity of houses (so that they do not draw wolves close to humans) or sheep pastures that are located close to wolves’ ecological routes may be relocated (in order to lower the risk). These kinds of social-ecological nudges preserve freedom of choice but may subtly break the old habits of feeling, mind and action and help to form new ones.

In order to halt biodiversity decline, the challenge lies in understanding the anatomy of motivation, how motivation is related to habits, and how nudges and policy instruments can help to change problematic behavioural patterns without diminishing the degree of freedom and curtailing the basic rights of citizens, consumers and other species.

Further materials:

The BIOMOT project (

Human-wildlife transactions: a pragmatist approach to institutional fit project (


 4. Events

Policy Mixes in Environmental and Conservation Policies, 25-27 February 2014, Leipzig, Germany

In most countries, environmental and conservation policies build on strategies involving a wide range of policy instruments. Within these policy mixes, economic instruments are gaining increasing attention from policy-makers and analysts. This holds for policies designed to conserve and finance biodiversity and secure ecosystem services as much as for climate, energy and water-related policies. However, there are still many open questions regarding the combination of several instruments in a policy mix. What is the role of different instruments or instrument types in a policy mix? What frameworks and empirical methods for policy mix design and analysis are available?  How can the various instruments be assessed in their contribution to environmental objectives, cost-effectiveness, cross-financing, social and distributional impacts or institutional requirements, when assessing policy mixes rather than single instruments?

The conference brings together both researchers and practitioners to discuss novel approaches to instrument analysis and design in policy mixes, covering applications to a wide range of environmental and conservation policies. Parallel sessions will cover theoretical contributions as well as case studies from all relevant disciplines such as political science, economics, law, ecology and other social and natural sciences. We encourage integrative approaches bridging between science and society and combining knowledge from different disciplines for successful environmental and conservation policies.

Early bird registration until 20 December 2013!

Go to online registration:
Preliminary programme:

Call for papers: Fourth International Conference on Degrowth for Ecological Sustainability and Social Equity, 2-6 September 2014, Leipzig, Germany

The International Degrowth Conference has reached its fourth venue: since Paris 2008 the debate on how to move away from a growth-oriented economy towards a more sustainable society has drawn world-wide attention. The Degrowth Conference questions the importance of growth for economic policies and seeks to promote social and sustainable alternatives. Different traditions of growth critique, such as the concept of a post-growth society stemming from the German-speaking community or the French and Southern European degrowth debate, are invited to a fruitful dialogue. The 2014 conference will give room for scientific debates, exchange between activists and economic/cultural pioneers and also artistic approaches to the subject. For further information see:

The conference has three overarching topics: (1) Organizing society, (2) Building a social and ecological economy, (3) Living conviviality. More detailed information:

Date and location: The conference will take place in the German city of Leipzig on September 2-6, 2014.

Submission deadline for abstracts and papers: January 31, 2014

Submission deadline for special sessions: December 31, 2013

All information on submissions:

Second Meeting of the Ecological Economics Association in Spain, 14-16 February 2014, Ronda (Malaga) Spain

The Ecological Economics Association in Spain announces its forthcoming second meeting, to be held on February 14-16, 2014 in Ronda (Malaga) Spain. The theme of the meeting is “Changing values in university education system: ecological economics, holistic education and agroecology”. The aim is to facilitate the exchange of experiences and knowledge between ecological economists to promote a change of values in the university education system.

The Ecological Economics Association in Spain (the former Spanish Ecological Economics Network) aims to promote and coordinate the teaching in ecological economics at national level, facilitating the exchange of experiences and knowledge between Spanish ecological economists and promoting the relations with the European and international societies of ecological economics.

For further information visit:


5. Publications

New Book: The Costs Of Economic Growth, Edited by Peter A. Victor, Professor in Environmental Studies, York University, Canada.

This book is a convenient and comprehensive collection of seminal papers on the costs of economic growth. The papers are grouped in 6 sections covering: the origins of the debate, the limits to growth, measurement, international and global dimensions, developing countries, and looking ahead. The original introduction, written by the editor, draws out the main themes that run through this extensive and thought-provoking literature. This timely collection is intended for academics, students, researchers and anyone interested in this controversial topic.   


6. Students and early career

Ecological Economics Masters programs

The European Society for Ecological Economics needs your help! We are updating our list of master degrees that have a significant component of ecological economics in them. If you know of any such masters programs, could you please register them using this link:

Want to register more than one? When you completed the form, just click ‘Submit another response’.


More info: Contact Jasper Kenter (ESEE student representative),

DFG/ICSU/ISSC Young Scientists Networking Conference on Integrated Science: Ecosystems and human wellbeing in the green economy


A key theme of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, held in June 2012, was the promotion of a “green economy”. Future Earth, launched during Rio+20, is an ambitious new 10-year research programme which will provide the knowledge we need to tackle the most urgent challenges of the 21st century related to global sustainability, and that includes issues relating to transformations towards green economies.

The International Social Science Council (ISSC) and the International Council for Science (ICSU), in collaboration with the International Network of Next Generation Ecologists (INNGE) and Institute for New Economic Thinking’s Young Scholars Initiative (INET YSI), are planning to assemble a group of early career researchers with diverse backgrounds and research perspectives to reflect on ecosystems and human wellbeing in the transition towards green economies and debate relevant issues as part of a series of conferences on Integrated Science that are funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

The aim is to bring together creative multidimensional, interdisciplinary and trans-disciplinary perspectives to address the complex topic of how future societies deal with ecosystems and human wellbeing. Young scientists will debate issues relating to the topic, questioning key assumptions, theories and models underlying the current research on ecosystems, human wellbeing, and the transformation towards green economies; dynamics of governance, justice, authority at global and local levels; and the development of research methodologies to assess change in the transformations towards sustainability.

The Networking Conference is open to post-doctoral researchers interested in the collaboration between the social and the natural sciences. The conference will bring together senior and leading scientists and researchers with a diversity of perspectives to identify top priority questions for future research on the topic.

Closing date for applications: 7 January 2014. 

More info: click here


Symposium on “Remote Sensing for Conservation”, 22-23 May 2014, London


This symposium will illustrate how integrative approaches allow a better ecological understanding of the mechanisms shaping current changes in biodiversity patterns, while triggering innovative approaches, new research directions in remote sensing science and the development of new remote sensing products. It will also demonstrate how ecological knowledge and satellite-based information on environmental conditions can be effectively combined to address a wide array of current conservations needs. By bringing together a range of stakeholders spanning academic experts in remote sensing and ecology, conservation NGOs to policy makers and space agency representatives, it will finally highlight how knowledge exchange is at the heart of the future development of both disciplines.

More info:


Applied Methods Related to Regime Shifts in Social-Ecological Systems, 27-28 June 2014, Istanbul, Turkey

Many ecosystems have nonlinear features that can cause them to shift abruptly from one state to another. Human action is typically the trigger for such regime shifts, which can be difficult to reverse and can cause the loss of valuable ecosystem services. Regime shifts have been documented for example in coral reefs, savannahs, and lakes. More details and examples can be found in the Regime Shifts database ( Economists have become increasingly interested in understanding how regime shifts affect environmental management and policy decisions.

The course is a standalone follow up to the one held two years ago in Prague which was mostly on theory. This time we will focus on two methodological approaches for conducting applied research on environmental regime shifts: statistical methods for identifying thresholds and tipping points in empirical data sets, and experimental methods to assess behavioral responses of people to regime shifts. In addition to lectures, the course will include lab sessions in which participants will gain experience applying these approaches.

Following the lectures and lab sessions, there will also be discussion sessions during which participants will work with the instructors to identify promising topics for applied research on environmental regime shifts in their countries and determine the key informational requirements for studies on those topics. The intention is to give participants a head start on preparing research proposals to be submitted to funding sources in their countries or regions. The course will be different from the previous one and a good complement for the students who took it last time, however people who didn't have the opportunity to take the course two years ago are much welcome to apply as well on equal premises.

The course will be held at the Istanbul Technical University (ITU), Istanbul, immediately before the 2014 World Congress of Environmental and Resource Economists. Its target audience is researchers from developing and transition countries. It is organized by the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics.

Deadline for papers applications: February 1st, 2014

More info:

European Summer School "The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change", 6-12 July 2014, Venice, Italy

The European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists (EAERE), Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei (FEEM) and Venice International University (VIU) are pleased to announce their annual European Summer School in Resource and Environmental Economics for postgraduate students. The 2014 Summer School will take place from July 6th - 12th, at the VIU campus on the Island of San Servolo, in Venice, located just in front of St. Mark’s Square. The theme of this Summer School is “The Economics of Adaptation to Climate Change”.

There is no doubt that both adaptation and mitigation will be necessary to reduce the impact of anthropogenic global warming on the economy. The objective of the School is to provide tools and methods to understand how economists frame the problem of adaptation to climate change. The lectures will start with an introduction to the theory of adaptation to climate change and will then focus on specific sectors or impacts – tropical cyclones, agriculture, forestry and ecosystems, water. Two final lectures will introduce the use of integrated assessment modeling tools to study optimal adaptation to climate change.

Application deadline: February 1st, 2014

More info: