2. News from ESEE and its members
- News on Environmental Policy and Governance, the ESEE Journal
3. Hot Topic
- Should we develop a standardised classification of ecosystem services?, by Jasper Kenter
- Sustainable development policies or the art to postpone deadlines, by Olivier Petit
- Report from the International Conference on Policy Mixes in Environmental and Conservation Policies, 25. - 27. February 2014, Leipzig, Germany
- RESPONDER project final conference: Austerity, Stimulus or Post-growth for Europe? Revisiting Sicco Mansholt's Vision
- New Book: The Costs Of Economic Growth, Edited by Peter A. Victor, Professor in Environmental Studies, York University, Canada
6. Students and early career
- Post-Doctoral Fellowships, Humboldt University
- Postdoctoral Announcement - Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona
- 2014 WWF Science Internships
- UK Energy Research Centre International Summer School, 6th to 11th July 2014, Warwick, UK
- International Summer School on Urban transitions to sustainability, Reims University (France), 22-26 June 2014
- 6th Greek Summer School in Conservation Biology, University of Ioannina alongside SCB Europe Section and EEF
- Interactive Online course – Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice – The EJOLT project
- Adapting to the times of crisis: an advanced course on socially sustainable degrowth
- Student Research Exposé - Erika Ohlund
by Tim Foxon
Here in Leeds, we are already busy preparing to welcome you to the ESEE 2015 Conference, which will take place at the University of Leeds, UK from 30 June – 3 July 2015. In addition to the usual mix of high profile keynote speakers and parallel session presentations, we are keen to use the conference as an opportunity to continue to engage strongly with local municipal authorities and economic development agencies. This is to stress the importance of integrating social and environmental objectives into local economic planning. As part of this engagement, we will be holding the conference dinner in the Victorian Leeds Town Hall. We are also aiming to take into account the useful suggestions made by Tommaso and Igor in a previous editorial that the conference should reflect the distinctive strengths and identity of ecological economics, and aim to improve the thematic coherence of the sessions.
One distinctive area where our research in Leeds aims to contribute is to promote understanding of the ecological basis of the macroeconomy and examine alternatives to the dominant model of unlimited economic growth. As part of that work, my colleague at Leeds, Dan O’Neill and his co-author Rob Dietz have written a book entitled Enough is Enough: Building a Sustainable Economy in a World of Finite Resources. Building on the work of Herman Daly, Tim Jackson, Peter Victor and others, they explore specific strategies to conserve natural resources, stabilize population, reduce inequality, fix the financial system, create jobs, and more — with the aim of maximizing long-term well-being within ecological limits. With the help of funding from the Climate and Geohazard Services hub at the University of Leeds, Berrett-Koehler publishers, and the Urbal Institute, we have now made a short film, also entitled Enough is Enough (produced and directed by Tom Bliss) to get the ideas in the book to a wider audience. The film was launched to an enthusiastic audience of over 300 people in Leeds in January, and is now available on YouTube and via the Centre for the Advancement of a Steady State Economy at http://steadystate.org/discover/enough-is-enough/ .
I recently had the opportunity to show the film to the York Environmental Forum with an audience including local councillors, where it was again well received. Two local school students also presented the work that they had been doing on the circular economy, in connection with the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. This is exploring alternative business models, such as service company and leasing models, and technological opportunities for re-use of materials to prevent waste and move towards an economy powered by renewable energy. It is especially pleasing and hopeful to see that kids intuitively get these ideas.
2. News from ESEE and its members
News on Environmental Policy and Governance, the ESEE Journal
The ESEE Journal, Environmental Policy and Governance is progressing really well! There is a significant increase in the number and quality of papers being submitted, which will hopefully show in the papers being accepted and in the impact factor soon again. The journal website is now updated with a more specific notes for authors regarding manuscript submission and the expectations of the journal.
The special ESEE conference issue of Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG) is also under way and is expected to be available online in August 2014. Currently, papers are being refereed and revised, a process managed by Olivier Petit, Begum Özkaynak and Irene Ring.
Begum Ozkaynak, ESEE editor of EPG
3. Hot Topic
Should we develop a standardised classification of ecosystem services?
by Jasper Kenter
As the ecosystem services (ES) concept and framework is gradually maturing and with increasing uptake by policy makers, one of the debates on moving forward the ES agenda is on whether we need a common framework and classification system. Since the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MEA), some developments in the ES framework are becoming increasingly accepted, such as the distinction between intermediate and final ES, and the ‘cascade model’ distinguishing services, benefits and values, which was applied in the UK National Ecosystem Assessment (NEA), the most comprehensive sub-global assessment to date. Increasing support with decision makers for broader progress indicators and natural capital asset assessments has driven the agenda for extending systems of environmental accounting, with the EU Environment Agency driving development of a Common International Classification of Ecosystem Services (CICES).
The notion of a single, common classification poses a difficult dilemma for ecological economists. While many of us have adapted ES as a way of expressing human-environment relations, we have stayed acutely aware of the limitations of the concept, and the dangers of it obscuring the complexity of both ecological processes and of the complex plurality of how we know and relate to the natural environment. Statements such as “We cannot manage what we do not measure” (Pavan Sukhdev) illustrate the oversimplification sometimes portrayed by ES advocates. We will never be able to measure and manage the environment in the same way that we can manage production lines: in predictable, measurable quantities. The key ecological economics principle of epistemological and value pluralism suggests that this complexity cannot be reduced to quantitative single indicators and metrics (whether through monetary valuation or non-monetary means, such as multi-criteria analysis), and post-normal science discourse indicates that choices of indicators and metrics in itself are value-laden, blurring boundaries between evidence-generation and decision making.
On the other hand, a degree of standardization or at the very least, a degree of common understanding and parlor between disciplines and cultures about ES is needed if we are to communicate about their state and values. An interesting example of this is the draft conceptual framework of the International Panel on Biodiversity and ES (IPBES), which includes multiple descriptors for individual elements of the framework. For example, ES are also termed ‘nature’s gifts’. The notion of a gift is quite different from that of a service (as is detailed by at least 70 years of anthropological research on the subject since Marcel Mauss!), but this might not be important in the sense that either nature’s gifts or ES in terms of both their materiality and experience are underpinned by what IPBES calls both ‘biodiversity and ecosystems’ and ‘systems of life’.
The question of standardization also closely links to the question of scale. At national and supra-national scales, standardization is important to be able to set and deliver targets at a gross resolution, and to assess whether we are making genuine progress in terms of wellbeing. At smaller scales, a degree of standardization is still needed for practitioners to implement and learn from each other’s management practices, but our conceptualisations can be more flexible in order to recognise regional and cultural differences in how we relate to nature. We might also ask the question whether the desirability of standardisation differs across types of ES. Provisioning and regulating services are perhaps more amenable to positivist production function approaches and other forms of modeling than cultural ES. It might be possible to generate multiple sets of values, some of which are standardized and assessed through quantitative modeling, and others that are idiosyncratic and derived through a more interpretive approach. The big question is then how to bring together plural values and different domains of knowledge together in decision-making.
The second phase of the UK NEA, which will be published late this spring, has tried to take such a pluralistic-pragmatic approach. It includes a range of conceptual innovations, including around cultural ES and shared, plural and cultural values. A difference is highlighted between transcendental values, our principles and end-goals that guide our lives and transcend specific situations, and contextual values that relate to specific situations and objects. These each operate not just at individual but also societal, cultural and communal level. Importantly, different methods are required to assess these, and there is evidence to suggest that group deliberative methods are better suited to assessing these shared values than monetary valuation based on individual surveys. In terms of cultural ES, the conceptualisation of environmental spaces themselves as services provides an avenue for using standardised indicators to assess their status in terms of quantity and quality. Benefits are then derived through the practices and experiences associated with these spaces, Experiences and practices are clearly culturally defined and idiosyncratic, largely defeating standardised classification. While some standard indicators can be assessed quantitatively (e.g. numbers of users and their spending, standardized subjective wellbeing indicators), to really understand their value requires interpretive and narrative-based approaches without ex-ante categories; the NEA follow-on phase uses participatory mapping of special and problematic features, visual arts and storytelling, amongst other techniques. In appraisal of policy and management options, these different domains of knowledge can be brought together through deliberative and deliberative-analytical approaches such as citizen’s juries and deliberative monetary valuation.
In conclusion, comprehensively trying to capture the value of nature through a standard classification is a futile endeavor. However, a common classification can allow development of standardised indicators and accounting for ecosystem services at a large-scale, increasing the potential for recognition in decision-making. Such a framework should have a degree of openness and flexibility, recognising the often place-bound, culturally specific, idiosyncratic nature and plurality of values. Modeling is important, but much of the value of the environment will escape us unless we also use interpretive, deliberative and mixed methods for assessing how we depend on and relate to nature.
Report from the International Conference on Policy Mixes in Environmental and Conservation Policies, 25. - 27. February 2014, Leipzig, Germany
Foto 1: Plenary lecture by Jaroslav Myšiak at the POLICYMIX Conference, © Ogarit Uhlmann, F&U Confirm
The International Conference on Policy Mixes in Environmental and Conservation Policies was held in cooperation with ESEE and took place at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) in Leipzig, Germany from 25 to 27 February 2014. The conference brought together the participants in the EU FP 7 POLICYMIX, as well as scientists and practitioners from 26 countries and 5 continents. The original project’s scope on assessing the role of economic instruments in policy mixes for biodiversity conservation and ecosystem services provision was broadened for the conference to include contributions from other policy sectors such as climate, energy, fisheries and water resource policies. The full program can be accessed here.
The POLICYMIX project shifted the focus of policy assessment away from a simple ‘cost-effectiveness of individual instruments for conservation’, towards understanding how instruments interact with one another. Policy mix analysis acknowledges the real world complexity of the design and evaluation of policy instruments and can produce broadly applicable findings across instruments and landscape contexts. POLICYMIX has evaluated a selection of existing and proposed economic instruments in seven case studies in Europe and Latin America. In particular, the project evaluated payments for ecosystem services (PES), agri-environmental measures (AEM), tradable development rights (TDR) and ecological fiscal transfers (EFT). The conference facilitated exchange among researchers and practitioners to discuss novel approaches to instrument analysis and design in policy mixes. Keynote speeches from Vic Adamovicz (University of Alberta, Canada), Arild Vatn (Norwegian University of Life Sciences, Norway), Jaroslav Myšiak (Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei, Italy), Felix Matthes (Öko-Institut, Norway), Lucy Emerton (Environment Management Group, Sri Lanka), Marianne Kettunen (Institute for European Environmental Policy, Belgium), and Jan-Erik Petersen (European Environment Agency, Denmark) were complemented by plenary contributions from the POLICYMIX team. In 15 parallel sessions a total of 67 papers were presented and discussed. The third day focused on practitioners’ perspectives and culminated in a roundtable about communicating and acting on policy mix research and analysis. Lucy Emerton led an inspiring discussion on experiences from a diversity of perspectives. Abstracts, presentations and full papers are now available in the online conference archive. Three special issues with material from POLICYMIX and from contributions to the conference are planned to be published in international journals.
Foto 2: The POLICYMIX Team, © Sebastian Wiedling, UFZ
As an overall project and conference résumé, economic instruments are not a mere alternative to command-and-control or information instruments, but rather dependent on and complementary to them. In short, economic instruments need a regulatory home and a family of information instruments. Such a regulatory home is built on clear tenure and use rights, and furnished with enabling instruments such as availability of up-front finance, capacity-building and support to collective action. This is in many ways perceived wisdom among experienced policy-makers, but is sometimes ignored by research on market-based solutions to conservation.
David N. Barton, Graciela M. Rusch, Irene Ring (POLICYMIX Coordination) & Nils Droste (Local Organizing Committee)
RESPONDER project final conference: Austerity, Stimulus or Post-growth for Europe? Revisiting Sicco Mansholt's Vision
Friday March 21st, 2014, European Parliament - Petra Kelly Room ASP A1G3 - 60, Rue Wiertz - 1047 Brussels – Belgium
RESPONDER brings together high-level scientists, policy-makers and practitioners to explore, discuss and address pressing questions about the contradictions between sustainable consumption and economic growth. In this final conference we revisit the propositions of Sicco Mansholt, President of the European Commission in 1972-73, to explore the complex relations between economic growth and sustainability, and what they mean for dealing with the European crisis. Further information can be found here http://www.scp-responder.eu/events/conference. In case of any questions, do not hesitate to contact us.
RESPONDER (www.scp-responder.eu) Conference organizing team: Joan Martinez Alier, Giorgios Kallis, Viviana Asara, Hali Healy, Francois Schneider, and Filka Sekulova, ICTA, Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona - 08193 Bellatera, Barcelona, Spain
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
The current student’s news section includes various announcements about post-doctoral positions, internships, summer schools and courses, and conferences.
Post-Doctoral Fellowships, Humboldt University
Humboldt University offers up to three-year postdoctoral positions to outstanding young researchers who have completed their PhD. During this time, the postdoctoral fellows have the opportunity to extend and refine their academic profile. They conduct a research project of high academic quality and originality in cooperation with partners at Humboldt University and, where relevant, their non-university partners. Excellent postdoctoral researchers from Germany and abroad who are not yet affiliated with Humboldt University are invited to submit applications. Applications from all disciplines are welcome.
For more information, please visit http://www.humboldt-graduate-school.de/foerderlinien-der-exzellenzinitiative/humboldt-post-doc-fellowship
Postdoctoral Announcement - Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy, University of Arizona
The Udall Center for Studies in Public Policy (www.udallcenter.arizona.edu) seeks to fill the position of Postdoctoral Research Associate in water security—with emphasis on transboundary aspects and one or more of the following: sustainable water governance, use and dissemination of climate information, adaptation to global environmental change, groundwater policy, the water-energy nexus, water-demand management, development of alternative sources of water, and science-policy coproduction. This is expected to be a two-year position (August 2014 – July 2016), with an initial appointment of one year that is renewable for a second year based on performance.
The job posting and instructions for submitting application materials online can be found at uacareertrack.com (search for Job #54525, or go to: www.uacareertrack.com/applicants/Central?quickFind=210962). For more information on this position please contact Christopher Scott (firstname.lastname@example.org).
2014 WWF Science Internships
More than 15 internships around conservation strategy and science are available at the World Wildlife Fund – United States. They are designed typically for graduate students, although some may be appropriate for advanced undergraduates. Projects can be undertaken over the summer (with extensions, as necessary, into the fall semester). Most projects could also be extended over the course of one or two semesters as part of a student’s course work or thesis requirements; advance arrangements would be necessary with faculty advisors. Internships are typically unpaid unless otherwise noted, but facilities, library resources, and computers at WWF headquarters are available. Hours are flexible.
UK Energy Research Centre International Summer School, 6th to 11th July 2014, Warwick, UK
The UK Energy Research Centre (UKERC) is holding its 10th Annual Energy Summer School. There will be 100 places available with a preference for second year PhD students, giving them an opportunity to look beyond their own research and develop a broader understanding of energy and look at pathways to low-carbon and more resilient energy systems. It is professionally facilitated to provide continual support for participants, and includes networking opportunities, as well as social events. Applications are welcome from those engaged in energy-related research including technical, physical, social, economic, environmental and business aspects of energy and energy systems. A fee of £800 will be charged to cover five-nights’ accommodation and all meals during the School. Registration is now open until midnight GMT on 7th April 2014.
More info: www.regonline.co.uk/ukercSS2014 / email@example.com
International Summer School on Urban transitions to sustainability, Reims University (France), 22-26 June 2014
This course is specifically designed for doctoral students, post-docs and young scholars who wish to further explore urban sustainability, discuss cutting-edge research with peers and established scholars alike and develop specific skills such as presenting their own research, developing abstracts and discussing the research of other scholars in the make.
If you are interested in attending, please pre-register to this summer school following the link below: http://enquete.univ-reims.fr/limesurvey/index.php?sid=65819
6th Greek Summer School in Conservation Biology, University of Ioannina alongside SCB Europe Section and EEF
This features two weeks in the picturesque mountainous reserve area of the Vikos-Aoos National Park, where you can learn the principles of modern biodiversity theory, practical skills for biodiversity fieldwork including sampling design and data analysis using R-based methods.
GSS-2014 is open to all postgraduate students from anywhere, MSc and above.
For more information and registration please visit the website: http://www.jmax.gr/gss2014/index.php
To read more about previous Greek Summer Schools, check out our blog: http://euroconbio.blogspot.com/ or go to www.cbcd.eu/gss/
Interactive Online course – Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice – The EJOLT project
The EJOLT project (www.ejolt.org), coordinated by ICTA UAB, is running its interactive online course, Ecological Economics and Environmental Justice. The course, which is based on civil society organisation (CSO) case studies, will run from April 2014 and can be completed on a part-time basis.
More information about the course is here: http://www.ejolt.org/2013/10/online-course-ecological-economics-and-activism/
To apply, simply send a one page letter of intent to firstname.lastname@example.org
The deadline for applications is April 4th.
Adapting to the times of crisis: an advanced course on socially sustainable degrowth
The Summer School on Degrowth will offer a range of perspectives located at the core of the concept, looking at its sources, dimensions and policy implications. For this purpose the school will bring together some of Europe's leading academics in politics, philosophy, ecological economics, ecology and economics that work in the field of degrowth to teach to the next generation of researchers. Teachers in the school include Clive Spash, Barbara Muraca, Joan Martinez-Alier, Nadia Johanisova, Amaia Orozco, Giorgos Kallis, Fabrice Flipo, Francois Schneider and others. The school will be held close to the campus of Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona from July 4-21, 2014. It is organized and coordinated by ICTA (icta.uab.cat) and Research and Degrowth (www.degrowth.org). The School is funded by the EU Erasmus action, which covers the participation of 28 students from 7 Universities. In addition to those, we open the School to a limited number of external participants, who will pay a small fee of 100 Euros (for covering the costs of their participation). The deadline for Application is April, 30th, 2014. We expect a high number of applications for a limited number of seats for external participants, so motivation and quality of letter and CV will matter.
For more information: www.degrowth.org/summerschool
Student Research Exposé - Erika Ohlund
Tell us about yourself!
I grew up next to my grandparents’ farm, and have always had an interest in where food comes from and how it is produced. As a teenager, I wanted to change the world and was working hard in an environmental organization. However, during a study trip to rural Uganda when I was 18, my focus changed a bit and I decided that I wanted to understand how the world could be this unfair and why money seemed to be the only thing that mattered. I got my master’s degree in international economics and trade in 2005 from the Stockholm School of Economics. Then I worked with international development and CSR issues for a few years, but after my son was born I quit my job and took a one year course in environmental science at Stockholm University. I felt much more at home in the multidisciplinary environment of that subject, and already after the introductory lecture, I had decided that I wanted to do a PhD. I started my PhD in environmental science at Södertörn University in Stockholm in September 2012. Swedish PhD studies are four years, of which the first is mainly dedicated for courses. My position is financed by the Foundation for Baltic and East European Studies, requiring that I focus on Baltic and/or Eastern European countries.
Except from working and spending time with my family, I listen to music, read books, run in forests and try to make conditions between men and women more equal through feminism.
What are you researching?
I have known for several years which empirical field I wanted to research: Food is one of few “goods” that we do not survive without. Agriculture is a main contributor to negative environmental effects both locally and globally, and the most common land use. But it was not until the ESEE conference in Lille 2013 that I realised how I could use ecological economics. I research agriculture in Sweden and Poland from ecological economics and agro-ecological perspectives. Some questions that I am interested in are: What does growth mean for agriculture when the added value of the sector is decreasing while the amount of produce is increasing? What would the agricultural sector’s role be in a degrowth society? Which of today’s practices in Swedish and Polish agriculture could be possible to use in a localized steady state economy? How does the current political framework affect the possibilities to achieve a more sustainable agriculture in the EU? Currently, my main challenge is that there are very few researchers in Sweden that are interested in degrowth issues, why I feel a bit “theoretically lonely” sometimes.
For a better integration of ecological and economic systems and to move closer to “sustainability”, what should we do, according to you?
Focus on increasing prosperity and happiness among inhabitants and sustainability for ecosystems instead of economic growth. Some steps on the way could be: Introduce basic income for all. Change local administrative boundaries according to catchment areas so that they better take the ecosystem perspective into account. Introduce a year of farm work after high school for all inhabitants in countries with industrial agriculture.