1. Editorial

  • Editorial, by Lenka Slavíková

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • News on Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG), the ESEE Journal
  • On Upcoming ESEE Elections
  • Updating the ESEE constitution
  • Country Contact Network
  • Re-organisation of the sub-committees in ESEE board
  • ESEE 2015 conference review
  • Report from the final summer school of the ENTITLE network
  • LIFE CONOPS: Development & demonstration of management plans against - the climate change enhanced - invasive mosquitoes in S. Europe
  • Measuring-Progress: Website for green economy indicators

3. Hot topics

  • Puzzling out the environmental effects of the sharing economy, by Nuno Videira
  • Needs beyond growth? Some results from the workshop „European Experiences with HSDA“, 20th May 2015, Jena, Germany, by Felix Rauschmayer
  • Participation, what do you mean?, by Jasper Kenter

4. Events, jobs and publications

  • Summer School in Sustainability Economics
  • Workshop on Behaviour Change From the Inside Out: Psychosocial Approaches to Sustainability, Energy and Climate Change
  • Job Posting: Assistant Professor level in Industrial Ecology
  • Vacancy: Lecturer / Senior Lecturer with focus on Social and Cultural Geography
  • Vacancy: Professor of International Forest Policy
  • Call for Papers for a Special Volume on Technology and Degrowth
  • New Book: Revisiting the Energy-Development Link

5. Students and early career

  • Highlights from the ESEE 2015 Conference in Leeds: Transformations, by Ellen Stenslie
  • Marie Sklodowska-Curie (Innovative Training Network - ITN) Early Stage Researcher (PhD) in Environmental Humanities
  • Early stage researcher (ESR) – PhD student – Cultural ecosystem services, values and cost-benefits of restoration of endangered diadromous fishes

1. Editorial



by Lenka Slavíková

The 11th bi-annual ESEE conference in Leeds lies behind us. The intensive week containing the summer school, hundreds of presentations, intensive debates and nice social events has confirmed the existence of a flourishing intellectual platform at the European scale.

For some participants, a more radical critique toward the political non-action in terms of climate change should have been articulated. For others, the plurality of thoughts, emotion-free confrontations and scientifically grounded debates represented the major value added. And thirdly, practitioners had a chance to express their views and expectations regarding the outputs of the scientific community. In this context it was emphasized that different case studies are needed to show how to do things differently (to influence values and positions of decision-makers) – since most of us are doing case studies, this was a nice encouraging point to listen to.

The Leeds conference directly or indirectly articulated numerous questions and challenges to be addressed, such as:
• What can each of us do to contribute to the transformation to sustainability?
• How can the research community accelerate the process of value change within the society?
• How do we assess how much is enough?
• And last but not least: How difficult is it to defend the carbon neutrality principle (i.e. do not use air-conditioning) when all participants are melting?

Our next ESEE conference in Budapest in 2017 will surely build on these challenges and it promises to engage in an even more intensive dialogue with different groups of practitioners and decision-makers. Looking forward to it!


2. News from ESEE and its members

News on Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG), the ESEE Journal

The ESEE Journal, Environmental Policy and Governance, is developing really well and is becoming more sophisticated and cohesive. The nice news recently is that we have the impact factor revised; it went up to 1.614 based on citations in 2013-2014 and will hopefully carry on growing.

ESEE 2015 participants have access to the internet version of Environmental Policy and Governance (EPG) for two years, as EPG subscription was included in their conference registration fees.
All conference participants will receive the details of their individual EPG online subscription from Wiley, the publisher of EPG.  

Begum Ozkaynak

On Upcoming ESEE Elections

Dear ESEE Members,

As we announced in our Ordinary General Meeting in Leeds 2015, ESEE will be running elections once again at the end of this year! This time the terms of office of the President, 2 Vice-Presidents, 3 Board Members, and 1 Student Representative is ending after 3 years.

As usual, we hope that the Board Members whose terms are expiring will stand again. However, we also hope for a broad feedback among the larger ESEE membership and count on your interest in playing an active role in the ESEE Board and get nominated for the election later this year. To be elected to the Board provides an opportunity to influence the direction of the Society and Ecological Economics in Europe and to work in a well-motivated team. Active engagement in the work of the sub-committees shall be considered as a matter of course.

An official call for nominations together with a more detailed timetable for the elections and information regarding the procedure will be made in the September newsletter. The same information will be made available at the ESEE website as well.

In the meantime, if you have any questions regarding nominations and/or elections, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best wishes,
Begum Ozkaynak,
ESEE Secretary

The ESEE Board held its board meeting ahead of the ESEE Conference in Leeds.

Updating the ESEE constitution

Building on the experience of recent years, the ESEE Board is presently working on a change and update of the ESEE constitution. There are basically three issues we want to change.

Firstly, at present ESEE Vice-Presidents cannot become Committee Chairs according to the ESEE constitution. While there is no necessary obligation for Vice-Presidents to become Committee Chairs, we would like to provide them with the option to do so if they are interested. Therefore, we want to remove this restriction and delete the relevant clause from the present constitution.

Secondly, ESEE is an unincorporated association under the governing laws of England and Wales. The association is organised and operates on a not-for-profit basis which is stated on our website and information material. However, the “not-for-profit” term is thus far missing in the ESEE constitution and we want to make it more explicit in the future and include it in the constitution.

Thirdly, we want to make adjustments to the membership categories related to students. ESEE has two categories for students: 1) the ‘Active Student Members’ (those who pay annual membership fees, belong to both ISEE and ESEE, and have full membership rights) and 2) the ‘Student Members’ (who are given dispensation from paying membership fees for up to three years, are only members of ESEE and do not have full membership and hence voting rights). Historically, this goes back to the ESEE constitutional changes in 2001 (see ESEE News, Issue 11, Winter 2000). At that time, when ESEE became a Regional Society of ISEE and membership categories of ISEE and ESEE were harmonised, the option for a free student membership category was a requirement by ISEE under the Presidency of Dick Norgaard. Therefore, ESEE introduced a free membership of up to 3 years for students, the so-called ‘Student Members’ in the ESEE constitution. However, a few years later, under the Presidency of Charles Perrings, ISEE abolished the free student membership, but ESEE has kept it to date. At the same time, fees for Active Student Members have dropped considerably from US $ 30 in 2001 down to only US $ 15 in 2015, meaning a 50 per cent reduction in membership fees. Given that Active Student Members get full membership rights (full voting rights at Ordinary and Extraordinary General Meeting and all elections) for a very reasonable fee, we want to encourage students to become more active and motivate more students to become Active Student Members. The non-paying Student Members category also leads to considerable costs for ESEE Board members, especially the Secretary and the Membership Committee, in terms of organising elections. So far, we had to manually update and harmonise two different lists of student membership categories for the elections of the student representatives, which for many years has proved a difficult and very time-consuming task. We therefore intend to change voting rights, so that only Active Student Members will be eligible to vote for the student representative posts on the ESEE Board. However, we also still see the benefits for students of having the option to join ESEE for free and want to keep both student membership categories.

More detailed information on the changes to the Constitution will be provided with the electronic ESEE newsletter in September, followed by the actual membership vote on the newly suggested items in October 2015.


Country contact network

Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Vice-President and member of the ESEE Board’s Membership and Fundraising Committee, has worked hard during the past years to update the ESEE country contact network. Ahead of the ESEE 2015 Conference in Leeds, UK, the ESEE Board met the country contacts to better get to know each other, exchange experiences in different European countries and explore joint initiatives. In the future, the ESEE Board will regularly meet the ESEE country contacts ahead of the biannual ESEE Conferences.

Re-organisation of the sub-committees in ESEE board

As you know, work in the ESEE Board is largely organised in subcommittees. With our newly elected and re-elected board members, in the ESEE electronic board meeting in February 2015, we partly reorganised the sub-committees. Here is an update regarding the assigned tasks:

a. Education committee: Juha Hiedanpää (chair), Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská, György Pataki (agenda: summer schools, ESEE training institutes, student prizes, educational courses and programmes in Ecological Economics)

b. Fund raising and membership committee: Nuno Videira (chair), Nina Eisenmenger (treasurer), Erik Gómez-Baggethun, Jasper Kenter, Ellen Stenslie (agenda: country contacts, membership, fund raising)

c. Conference and meetings committee: Olivier Petit (chair); Timothy Foxon, György Pataki (for ESEE 2017), Irene Ring, Leslie Carnoye, Ellen Stenslie (agenda: ESEE conference venues, planning and supervision; ESEE workshops and meetings; ESEE supported events)

d. Publications and publicity committee: Lenka Slavíková (chair); Begum Özkaynak (EPG), Felix Rauschmayer, Jasper Kenter (Intranet), Leslie Carnoye (Facebook, students) (agenda: website, newsletter, relations with journals, marketing and PR)

Please do not hesitate to contact committee chairs in case you have questions, comments or inputs relating to the agenda topics below. Relevant contact information is listed on the ESEE webpage:


ESEE 2015 conference review

Over 500 participants attended the successful ESEE 2015 conference in Leeds on 30 June – 3 July 2015.

Under the banner of Transformations, the plenary and parallel sessions of the conference covered a range of topics including transformative pathways; political ecology; degrowth and steady state economics; grassroots innovation; natural resource management; valuation of ecosystem services; ecological macroeconomics; societal metabolism; trade and distribution; environmental justice; human well-being; business models and behaviour. There were a number of special sessions on topics covering issues from finance, trade and monetary policy to power relations, utopias and societal transformation. These sessions provided interesting presentations and lively and passionate discussions. Videos of the plenary sessions will be available on the post-conference website.
A full social programme included a tour of local environmental projects hosted by Leeds City Council, the conference dinner at Leeds Victorian Town Hall with music and dance by local performers, a cycle powered cinema showing sustainability films, and a final night party.

A particular highlight was the pre-conference Summer School, attended by 30 international Masters, PhD and early career researchers. All participants were asked to deliver a ‘three minute thesis’ summary of their research interests in an accessible way, and these are now available on the ESEE 2015 YouTube channel.

The Summer School participants developed their ideas on key issues for local and global transformations, and presented these at the opening of the main conference (see photo).


Report from the final summer school of the ENTITLE network (European Network of Political Ecology). Istanbul at Boğaziçi University, Turkey, 15 - 20 June 2015 with the title “Institutions, Justice, and Democracy”.  

The sessions of the summer school were structured around presentations, discussions and roundtables with leading researchers in Ecological Economics, Eco-socialism, Environmental History, Political Economy, Political Ecology, Social Anthropology, Sociology, Urban Studies and World Ecology. Invited speakers included, among others, Jason W. Moore, Ashish Kothari, Amita Baviskar, Derek Wall, Stavros Stavrides, Ayfer Bartu Candan, as well as various scholars and activists from within and around Turkey. The 6-day course was attended by 16 early-stage researchers and experienced researchers of the network, as well as by over 30 researchers (postgraduates, PhD students and external researchers) from outside the network.  

Together with local activists a field trip was organized to visit mega-infrastructure projects in Istanbul, in particular, the 3rd airport, and later on, the Kazova Textile Workers Factory and their “Project of production without a boss”. In addition, three different events open to the general public were organized with the titles “Rojava experience with radical democracy”, “Environmental movements and democracy in Turkey” and “Degrowth: A vocabulary for a new Era”. All lectures of the summer school (in video format) will be soon on the ENTITLE web page  

We would like to take this opportunity to thank once again all summer school participants, invited speakers and activists who contributed to the summer school in very inspiring ways.  

And here is the next ENTITLE network organization: a conference that will be held in Stockholm with the title “Undisciplined Environments”! Just save the dates: 20-23 March 2016.


LIFE CONOPS: Development & demonstration of management plans against - the climate change enhanced - invasive mosquitoes in S. Europe

"LIFE CONOPS" project (LIFE12 ENV/GR/000466) is funded by the European Commission in the framework of the programme LIFE + Environment Policy and Governance. The project is implemented in the EU Member States, Greece and Italy, including various regions in both countries.

LIFE CONOPS is based on preparatory actions including the analysis of current state of the problem, the analysis of climatic and environmental parameters influencing the invasive mosquitoes introduction and establishment as well as the socio-economic impacts of the problem targeted. The LIFE CONOPS project builds and implements in Greece and Italy the capacity of early detection of possible new IMS, therefore allowing for their immediate elimination from the area (before IMS establish on large areas as it was the case with Ae. albopictus) following the adoption of specific IMS integrated management plans.

In order to increase the efficiency of IMS surveillance a prototype mosquito trap system will be developed combining the advantages of the most effective mosquito attractants and trapping methods. This prototype system will be of reasonable-cost, and self-sufficient. The surveillance device will also incorporate an embedded processing unit (controller) for a distant monitoring and management, useful to reduce management costs.

Please visit our website for more details.


Measuring-Progress: Website for green economy indicators

MEASURING-PROGRESS.EU is an interactive database providing green economy indicators for policy-makers and other stakeholders. The website was designed to help you identify and understand the best indicators for your specific policy issue.


3. Hot topics

Puzzling out the environmental effects of the sharing economy

by Nuno Videira

With sharing platforms rapidly expanding worldwide, an increasing interest has been recently devoted to the “sharing economy” and its potential to bring about sustainable social innovations. Whereas enthusiasts have been riding a wave of excitement, critics frown at an uber-hyped fad with undesired effects such as platform monopolies, privacy violations, exploitation of labour, unfair competition and growing inequalities (1). Amidst the several controversies, environmental assessments of sharing initiatives have been largely overlooked. While there is still no comprehensive roadmap, some suggestions are presented next to approach this debate.

First, a clear understanding of what is meant by the sharing economy is needed. This has been the topic of concern for several scholars, as highlighted in the “First International Workshop on the Sharing Economy”, which took place in Utrecht last June (2). Contested definitions and the high diversity of schemes seem to have created a smoke screen, which makes it difficult to sort out what falls inside or outside the lot. Some authors define it as a socioeconomic groundswell that is transforming production-consumption systems and the way people think about their values and fulfilment of needs, shifting consumption focus from ownership to access (3; 4; 5). Others noted more recently that the sharing economy is really about consumer-to-consumer schemes, wherein temporary access to physical assets is granted, which sets it apart from on-demand (e.g.,Taskrabbit), second-hand (e.g., eBay), and product-service systems (e.g., Car2go) (1). Many definitions lean towards a broad understanding of the concept as an economic activity where people coordinate access to under-utilized assets, often for a fee or other compensation (6). However, such perspective is at odds with alternative conceptions of “sharing” that do not involve mediation of money and focus more on non-profit, usually local, or communitarian initiatives. This implicitly raises concerns over the excesses of commodification of every aspect of our lives with for-profit platforms (5; 7).

After all, if sharing is an ancient human behaviour (6), what’s behind the disruptive innovation brought by platforms such as AirBnb and Uber? These companies have been harnessing the potential of digital technologies to enhance the ability for mass distribution of online services (5).  Along with the ubiquity of the Internet and social media, ripple effects of the financial crisis have made citizens more price-sensitive and concerned with frugal spending (3), while more and more providers see these initiatives as an appealing revenue source. Add to that the positive symbolic meaning of sharing and an increasing propensity for trust-based online social interactions (5), and the key ingredients are poured to the mix.

Second, although there is an environmental-friendly mindset in the sharing economy, a systematic account of effects of different sharing schemes is clearly lacking thus far. On the one hand, conscious consumers concerned with global warming, resource intensity and growing pollution regard these practices as an opportunity to lower consumption footprints and explore the idle capacity of products (6). Efficiency is the main argument used to green the debate: sharing schemes foster a more efficient use of underutilized assets, optimizing product usage and avoiding impacts of production of new goods and services. However, sharing platforms are not necessarily sustainable by design (8), and assessing environmental performance needs a clear comparison against the reference production-distribution-consumption system that is replaced by the sharing scheme. Hence, complementing the (scarcely) available survey-based estimates with the adoption of life cycle approaches would bring a more transparent and holistic accounting of the environmental impacts of shared assets.

Finally, an explicit consideration of rebound effects is required for determining environmental effects at the macro level. There is a legitimate concern that rebound effects may offset the avoided environmental impacts of producing new goods and services. For example, in cases where as a consequence of cheaper rides or lodging, a higher total volume in travel is induced (5). Hence, identifying the tipping points for achieving significant impact reductions, as well as the dominant mechanisms that are needed to promote economy-wide gains in resource consumption and pollution prevention, seem critical to puzzle out the “real” environmental effects of sharing schemes. 


(1) Frenken, K., Meelen, T., Arets, M., van de Glind, P., 2015. Smarter regulation for the sharing economy, The Guardian, 20th May 2015.
(2) First International Workshop on the Sharing Economy, Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, The Netherlands, 4-5 June 2015,
(3) Botsman, R., Rogers, R., 2010. What's mine is yours: The rise of collaborative consumption. 2nd Editions, New York: Harper Collins.
(4) Bardhi, F., Eckhardt, G., 2012. Access based consumption: The case of car sharing. Journal of Consumer Research, 39, 881–898.
(5) Schor, J., 2014. Debating the Sharing Economy. Great Transition Initiative (October 2014).
(6) Belk, R., 2014. You are what you can access: sharing and collaborative consumption online. Journal of Business Research, 67: 1595-1600.
(7) McArthur, E., 2014. Many-to-many exchange without money: why people share their resources. Consumption Markets & Culture, 2014.
(8) Demailly, D., Novel, A. 2014. The sharing economy: make it sustainable. Studies N°03/14, IDDRI, Paris, France, 30 p.



Needs beyond growth? Some results from the workshop „European Experiences with HSDA“, 20th May 2015, Jena, Germany

by Felix Rauschmayer

Much of the talk about steady state economics or even degrowth still uses the language of growth-based economies and economics. The discussion about an appropriate growth rate of GDP is just the most flagrant example. This language may be appropriate in an attempt to reach people from the mainstream who are used to talk and think in these terms. At the same time, no language is neutral, and certainly not this language that is based on and inherently related to concepts that are normatively laden in a diffuse way, implying for example that growth inherently is positive and even necessary in a Darwinian economic context. So, there is a great danger not to come through with main degrowth messages when using growth-based economic language. What we rather need in economics is a language that addresses essential aspects of human life (and herewith any life). Now you may say that this call for essentialism includes a danger of paternalism. And it is true: if I define the essential aspects of life, then your essential aspects of life which are different from mine might not be respected enough. This danger of paternalism can be attenuated in two ways: on a conceptual level by distinguishing universal aspects from cultural and individual contingencies, and on a procedural way by using a language in processes that further empathy. Empathy, if understood deeply, can act as a remedy to paternalism (see also Andrew Dobson’s 2014 book on listening as quality for democracy).

Manfred Max-Neef, many years ago (1991), has (with colleagues) proposed such a language and also procedures on how to use this language in his Human-Scale Development Approach (HSDA). This approach differentiates a list of fundamental human needs from their satisfiers (the latter being dependent on cultural and individual contingencies) and invites participants to discuss the current state of their needs dissatisfaction as well as to develop a vision where doing, being, having and interacting would satisfy needs in a much better way. The HSDA is well-known among ECOLOGICAL economists, but rarely scientifically analysed or used in academic contexts. María del Valle Barrera from the Universidad Austral de Chile has established a database ( with more than 400 HSDA entries from all over the world (many more exist, but are not yet incorporated), highlighting that many entries refer technically or substantially to the HSDA, but only about a third of the entries apply it, discuss theory, or develop the methodology further. Max-Neef’s original methodology involves many people and a lot of time. It has been developed further and adapted to a multitude of contexts. Last May, in a workshop along the “Beyond growth” conference in Jena, Germany, a couple of European researchers and practitioners met with Manfred Max-Neef to discuss whether and how using the HSDA is useful in transitions to sustainability and degrowth.

A main link to the degrowth and sufficiency concepts is that using a needs-based language for economics allows reintroducing the idea of satisfaction: whereas preferences can’t be satisfied, needs can. Understanding satisfiers in their relation to needs allows rediscovering and appreciating personal and societal limits to growth - not as external constraints, but as internal satisfaction. At the same time, the HSDA does not guarantee a move towards degrowth (at least, we were not aware of a clear analysis of its use in this sense). It had been developed for furthering community development of poor people – when using it in a European context of degrowth and with (on a global scale) rich people, its methodology has to be adapted. This adaptation has to address the inherent danger of paternalism – same as all transformative methods that aim at furthering sustainability or degrowth. It has to differentiate substantive sustainability from procedural sustainability (e.g. Leach et al. 2010) and address both of them.

At the same time, HSDA workshops have the potential to create empathy along three levels:

(1) Empathy with oneself. Analysing one’s own strategies (in terms of doing, having, being, and interacting) with regard to their effectiveness in meeting one’s own needs (those needs can also be other-regarding, e.g. my need for affection is not only met by being loved, but also by expressing my love) creates a new and deeper understanding for oneself, for failures, but also for possibilities of development.
(2) Empathy with other humans. The workshop setting leads people to understand others’ strategies in terms of their striving to satisfy their needs. Often, this leads to acceptance and empathy, even beyond the circle of workshop participants.
(3) Empathy with nature. The concept of needs can easily be expanded to other living beings (cp. Jolibert et al. 2011). But also experiencing the satiability of needs leads to a stronger consideration of nature when developing new strategies on how to better meet needs.

So, to conclude, we had the impression that talking about needs is talking about things that matter; that the differentiation between needs and satisfiers opens up space for linking inner, individual and collective transformation processes; that re-learning about limits and satisfaction furthers sufficiency; and that appropriate workshop designs create an individually and collectively enabling perspective. It still is open how to use this concept on the level of whole economies where it could be linked to other concepts such as “economy for the common good” (Felber 2015), management of commons or others, but we had the impression that deepening our understanding of what such needs-based language might mean in a European endeavour for degrowth is a worthwhile use of our time.


Some references including HSDA experiences in Europe

Dobson, A., 2014. Listening for Democracy: Recognition, Representation, Reconciliation. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
Felber, C., 2015. Change Everything. Creating an Economy for the Common Good Zed Books, London.
Guillen-Royo, M., to appear in Sept 2015. Sustainability and Wellbeing. Human-Scale Development in Practice. Routledge, London.
Guillen-Royo, M., Realising the ‘wellbeing dividend’: An exploratory study using the Human Scale Development approach, Ecological Economics 70, 2010, 384-393, doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2010.09.010.
Jolibert, C., Max-Neef, M., Rauschmayer, F., Paavola, J., Should we care about the needs of non-humans? Needs assessment: a tool for environmental conflict resolution and sustainable organization of living beings, Environmental Policy and Governance 21, 2011, 259-269, doi: 10.1002/eet.578.
Jolibert, C., Paavola, J., Rauschmayer, F., Addressing Needs in the Search for Sustainable Development: A Proposal for Needs-Based Scenario Building, Environmental Values 23, 2014, 29-50, doi: 10.3197/096327114x13851122269007.
Leach, M., Scoones, I., Stirling, A., 2010. Dynamic Sustainabilities - Technology, Environment, Social Justice. Earthscan, London.
Max-Neef, M., 1991. Human scale development: conception, application and further reflections. The Apex Press, London, New York.
Pelenc, J., 2014. Développement humain responsable et aménagement du territoire. Réflexions à partir de deux réserves de biosphère périurbaines en France et au Chili, Centre de Recherche et de Documentation sur les Amériques. Universite Sorbonne Nouvelle - Paris 3, Paris.
Rauschmayer, F., Omann, I., 2015. Well-being in sustainability transitions - Making use of needs, in: Syse, K.L., Mueller, M.L. (Eds.), Sustainable Consumption and the Good Life - Interdisciplinary perspectives. Routledge, Milton Park; New York, pp. 111-125.
Rauschmayer, F., Omann, I., Frühmann, J., 2011. Sustainable Development: Capabilities, Needs, and Well-Being. Routledge, London, p. 188.


Participation, what do you mean?

by Jasper Kenter

Value pluralism, participation, bottom-up governance and deliberative democracy have been important topics for ecological economics research since its inception and there continues to be an on-going stream of papers on topics such as participation in environmental management and deliberative valuation.

The rhetoric associated with this has become increasingly mainstreamed in environmental management through the principles associated with the Ecosystem Approach, coined by the Convention on Biological Diversity, where management of ecosystems is seen as a matter of societal choice that should be devolved to the lowest appropriate level, involve all relevant stakeholders and consider all forms of relevant information, including local knowledge.

With all the rhetoric, in practice the term participation can be misleading, as it covers a wide spectrum of different levels of engagement. There are different ways of classifying participation. A foundational differentiation was made by Arnstein (1969) who distinguished between tokenism, where participation would in practice mean informing people with token consultation, and citizen power, where the public is able to genuinely engage with decision-making through partnerships or by directly taking control of decisions.

Pretty (1995) distinguished various tokenistic forms of participation: (1) ‘manipulative participation’, where people ‘participate’ through arbitrary representation; (2) ‘passive participation’, where people are ‘consulted’ in a unilateral way without any real opportunity to give input; (3) ‘participation by consultation’ where participants get to respond more, but do not influence what questions are asked of them; (4) ‘participation for material incentives’, where participation is focused on exchange of resources, e.g. participants might contribute their time and labour in return for material reward, but with little space for learning; and (5) ‘functional participation’, where there may be some genuine interaction and potential for shared decision-making, but where objectives are still pre-defined and participation is a means to achieve project goals.

Pretty also distinguished two forms of participation that are akin to Arnstein’s ‘citizen power’. In ‘interactive participation’, participation is seen as right rather than a means, and people participate in joint analysis, action plans, or strengthening of institutions. Finally, ‘selfmobilisation’ involves people take control of the process and make decisions independently of external institutions, though they may be supported in this by governments or NGOs.

While there are more recent and also different ways of distinguishing between types of participation, Pretty’s ladder provides a useful framework to consider institutions put forward by ecological economists and by environmental managers. For example, when a new payments for ecosystem services scheme (PES) is being set up, this is usually because there is some kind of catalyst agency, such as a conservation NGO, who sees PES as a means to generate income that otherwise would not be available to conservation, or as a way to provide land owners with incentives. Thus, the type of participation that is likely to be induced is functional (conservation as the end, participation in PES as a means) and material. The problem is then that this kind of participation only lasts while the incentives are there and may crowd out other types of participation where there is more emphasis on knowledge exchange and experimentation. To address this, the agency instigating the scheme would need to intentionally move more towards interactive participation and open up original premises to discussion. Thus, in the footsteps of Arnstein, recent frameworks for participation often emphasise participation as a means to catalyse learning and social change (e.g. IPCC, 2007).

However, this is not to say that citizen power end of the participation spectrum is by definition superior or preferred to less far reaching participation. Rather, it is important to recognise institutional constraints, and to clarify aims explicitly and to be transparent about the type of participation that is being engendered. For example, I recently facilitated a series of qualitative multicriteria analysis workshops with fishermen, recreationalists, conservationists and other stakeholders on how two newly designated marine protected areas (MPAs) on the south coast of England should be managed. The workshops were co-organised as an informal consultation process for the local fisheries authority that would have to decide on what measures to implement. Nonetheless, we made it clear from the outset that we were not going to discuss the legally binding conservation objectives of the site (protecting particular habitats and species), that options put forward for consideration were limited to those that were compatible with achieving those objectives, and that the aim of the participation was to try and find solutions to reduce conflict and increase buy-in within those parameters. Thus, this was a clear example of functional participation. Many of the fishermen resented that the MPAs were designated in the first place, the transparency about the nature of the participation contributed to that participants felt, in the end, that it was a worthwhile process where they had been taken seriously.

Often, in environmental management and also in valuation researchers themselves are unclear about their moral premises. Conservation biologists state as their basic premise that ‘biodiversity is good’ and more of it is better, and that the work they do serves this moral compass. In contrast, the fundamental principle underlying economic valuation of the environment and the use of economic instruments such as PES is to improve economic efficiency. Thus the position of many environmental economists is somewhat schizophrenic, and the tension is tolerated through a firm belief that if ‘proper’ values were assigned this would lead to better conservation outcomes. While ecological economists recognize a hierarchy of ecological, social and economic systems, in local environmental management this provides little practical guidance. Participation can make things quite complicated: are deliberative ecological economic institutions about conservation, about efficiency, or should it be left to participants to set the parameters?

Being clearer and more explicit about this helps us to decide what kind of participation is appropriate, and being transparent about the type and aims of participation to those who are being asked to participate can help to avoid much frustration and make the process more effective and gratifying.


Arnstein, S.R. (1969) A ladder of citizen participation. Journal of the American Planning
Association, 45, 180–189.
IPCC (2007) Climate Change 2007: Working Group II: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability
Pretty, J.N. (1995) Participatory Learning for Sustainable Agriculture. World Development,
23, 1247–1263.


 4. Events, jobs and publications

Summer School in Sustainability Economics: Experiments on Intergenerational Justice under Uncertainty. Camp Reinsehlen, Germany, 11.-14. October 2015

More information and call for participation of junior researchers here.


Workshop on Behaviour Change From the Inside Out: Psychosocial Approaches to Sustainability, Energy and Climate Change. Thursday 29th - Friday 30th October 2015, Cambridge, UK.

A two day workshop on psychosocial origins and methods led by Dr Renee Lertzman, coordinated by Dr Rosie Robison at Anglia Ruskin’s Global Sustainability Institute. Psychosocial research techniques place affect and emotion centrally within design, drawing on learnings from social work, psychotherapy, counselling and community work. The workshop will be exploring specifically how these techniques can add new dimensions to sustainability research.

Early bird deadline: August 14th 2015.

See attached Flyer for full details


Job Posting: Industrial Ecology

The School of Environment, Enterprise and Development (SEED), in the Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, invites applications for a tenure-track position at the Assistant Professor level in industrial ecology.  Candidates for Assistant Professor should have a completed or nearly completed PhD, and should demonstrate the potential for high-quality research and teaching.  The salary range for this position is $75,000 to $105,000.  Negotiations beyond this salary range will be considered for exceptionally qualified candidates.  

Individuals with degrees (or primary fields of research) in business, engineering, environmental science and management, social / human ecology, and environmental and ecological economics are encouraged to apply.  Preferred candidates will have research expertise and/or teaching experience in one or more of the following areas: life cycle approaches, environmental management and policy, material and energy flows analysis, industrial symbiosis, eco-design, supply chain management, extended producer responsibility, and sustainable business operations. The position will support teaching and research activities in SEED’s Environment and Business, Sustainability Management, and International Development Programs.

Applications will be accepted until September 30, 2015, with interviews commencing in October 2015. The anticipated start date for the position is January 1, 2016, but may be negotiated.  Interested candidates are invited to submit a detailed curriculum vita, a statement explaining how their abilities and interests relate to SEED with regard to research and teaching, as well as the names, addresses, email addresses and telephone numbers of three referees. Please send an application package to:  Marion Brown, School of Environment, Enterprise and Development, Faculty of Environment, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, N2L 3G1, or submit electronically to

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Vacancy: Lecturer / Senior Lecturer with focus on Social and Cultural Geography, University of Manchester. Closing date : 27/08/2015

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Vacancy: Professor of International Forest Policy

University of Helsinki in Finland has the following open faculty position: Professor of International Forest Policy. Deadline for applications is 17 August 2015.

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Call for Papers for a Special Volume on Technology and Degrowth, to be published in the Journal of Cleaner Production in 2016.

Within the rapidly expanding body of Degrowth research, ideas of simplification of life with less or low technology clash with visions of a true democratisation of society through the use of certain technologies (both high and low tech) such as open source programming, DIY tractors and photovoltaic panels. This special volume aims to present and discuss these positions based on theoretical and empirical perspectives from authors with diverse backgrounds. It focuses on how technology transforms ecology, society and the economy and emphasizes inter- and transdisciplinary approaches.

Submission of extended abstracts (400–500 words) to the editors: by August 31, 2015.

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New Book: Revisiting the Energy-Development Link
Evidence from the 20th Century for Knowledge-based and Developing Economies,
by Kostas Bithas and Panos Kalimeris

Series: SpringerBriefs in Economics
 Proposes a new innovative framework for the empirical investigation of the link between economy and natural resources
 Sheds light on aspects of economic development which have so far not been examined in the current literature
 Employs databases to carry out rigorous estimates of the energy intensity of economies across the world

Unravelling the intricate relationship between economic development and energy consumption, this book proposes an innovative framework for the empirical investigation of the link between the economy and natural resources. It proposes a novel set of indicators to shed light on those aspects of the economic process and development that determine their requirements in terms of natural resources. Employing updated databases, this book presents tables and diagrams to compare the conventional and the new estimates of the linkage between energy and economic development (Energy Intensity) throughout the world, over the last 100 years.

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5. Students and early career

The current student’s news section includes various announcements about post-doctoral positions, internships, summer schools and courses, and conferences.

Highlights from the ESEE 2015 Conference in Leeds: Transformations

This year’s topic, transformations, attracted many young researchers passionate about a societal and economic transformation towards sustainability. The conference had over 200 participating students; almost half of the total amount! The ESEE has received good feedback from students attending this year’s Summer School and conference.

Especially the Summer School with 30 attendees from 15 countries was a success and very inspirational. The take-home message was that transformation begins with individuals committing to positive change both in their own lives and in society. This message sparked great discussions by using the 2015 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) as a starting point. (If you did not have the chance to attend this year, remember that there is a summer school every year). Four student members of the ESEE also arranged a special networking session at the conference, where in particular the need for (online and local) platforms where early career researchers can find each other, meet and collaborate was emphasised. It is clear that students would like to have an exclusive meeting or workshop especially for them at every conference, something future organisers will keep in mind.

The ESEE conferences are known for being interesting and inclusive, something many students new to the community also expressed this time. The student community is of great importance to the ESEE, and we continue our efforts to be a community where young researchers can find peers working with related topics and to be a community they identify with. Do remember to connect with us on Facebook and LinkedIn, and to join the e-mailing list!

by Ellen Stenslie

Marie Sklodowska-Curie (Innovative Training Network - ITN) Early Stage Researcher (PhD) in Environmental Humanities

The University of Leeds is inviting applications for two fixed-term Early Stage Researchers (ESRs) to work within a Marie Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network (ITN) in Environmental Humanities. The doctoral researchers will both be expected to examine recent and/or current water-related natural disasters in a pan-European context, looking in the process at some of the paradoxical ways in which communities are created through these disasters, whether in response to scarcity (drought) or unmanageable abundance (flood).  Closing Date:  Tuesday 15 September 2015.

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Early stage researcher (ESR) – PhD student – Cultural ecosystem services, values and cost-benefits of restoration of endangered diadromous fishes (salmon, eel, sturgeon) in Europe

Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries, Germany. The candidate shall study the social and cultural (i.e., the economic) values and the costs and benefits of ongoing restoration and reintroduction programs in selected case studies on Atlantic salmon, European eel and European sturgeons in three countries (Germany, France, Norway), using quantitative human dimension survey methods. Deadline for application: August 15th 2015.

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