1. Editorial

  • Editorial - New economics: challenges and opportunities, by Tim Foxon  

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • Environmental Policy and Governance - EPG Journal
  • ESEE 2017 conference call
  • Call for future ESEE conference organisers

3. Student spotlight

  • Sabin Roman: Time to educate people about thermodynamics

4. Hot topics

  • Olivier Petit: Slow Work, Slow Science, please Slow Down!
  • Alfred Kaiser: Smart governance: A tool for climate mitigation in cities?
5. Interviews: Reflections on ESEE and ecological economics
  • Marina Fischer-Kowalski: Am I an ecological economist?
  • Clive Spash: Building a community for social ecological transformation

6. Events, jobs and publications

  • Call for Papers: Student Conference on Conservation Science
  • Call for Papers: ENVECON 2016 Conference
  • Call for Papers: Transformations 2017 Conference
  • Call for Papers: FSR Climate Annual Conference 2016
  • ANZSEE 2017 Conference: The 99% Solution - Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals
  • Event: What has the concept of Ecosystem Services done for us?
  • Job Offer: Research Fellow / Post-doc on Governance of Ecosystem Services
  • Job Offer: Professor of Climate and Environmental Economics
  • Job Offer: One post-doctoral researcher in Energy and Environmental Modelling
  • Job offer: Environmental Economist at PML
  • Publication: Special issue of L'économie politique journal

1. Editorial


Editorial - New economics: challenges and opportunities

by Tim Foxon

In this editorial, I reflect on the challenges of promoting new economic thinking and the role of ecological economics within this. This is partly prompted by a Roundtable discussion on ‘Promoting a new economics’ that I organised with Inge Røpke at the ISEE 2016 Conference in Washington D.C., as well as other recent initiatives that I will mention.

Building on some of the ideas that Inge reflected on in our 2016 Anniversary Newsletter, we wanted to discuss what needs to be done to better link ecological economics to other heterodox economics approaches which emphasize other challenges to mainstream economic thinking. This generated an interesting discussion on how to develop theoretically coherent alternative framings that can address real world social, environmental and economic challenges. I highlighted the need for a new economics to engage with key economic issues, including job creation, financial markets, prices and inflation and the macroeconomy, which is starting to occur through new ideas of ecological macroeconomics, for example. Arild Vatn highlighted the role of institutions as providing ‘rationality contexts’ for actions that can be either more individually or more socially oriented. Gregor Semeniuk highlighted the need for the re-engagement with theories of value that were part of classical political economy. Susse Georg highlighted the need for a critical perspective on the way ideas are framed.

Whilst there were also a number of other inspiring sessions at the ISEE 2016 conference, including thoughtful presentations by Barbara Muraca, Sigrid Stagl and Josh Farley, I felt that the conference as a whole highlighted some of the challenges of bringing different perspectives together. The ISEE 2016 conference was held in parallel with the 7th Meeting of the International Society for Biophysical Economics (ISBPE 2016). Speakers at these sessions discussed biophysical constraints on economic activity, including declining energy return on energy invested (EROI) and peaking of conventional oil supplies. Whilst I agree that these are important issues, I felt that there was a tendency to neglect social concerns and wider institutional contexts that ecological economics emphasizes.

More positively, I think that there is an opportunity for ecological economics to feed into current debates about the need for a more pluralist and relevant economics. This includes demands by economics students for a broadening of the curriculum. A growing discontent has arisen amongst students that the university economics curriculum is dominated by heavily mathematical neo-classical economics ideas which have proved inadequate to address the financial crisis, as well as challenges of social inequality and environmental limits. Bringing together student groups from across the world, including Germany, France, Italy and the UK, as well as Asia, North and South America, Rethinking Economics promotes a critical, engaged, inclusive and pluralist approach to teaching and practicing economics. Their values include relevance to the real world and taking seriously our current political, ethical and ecological crises.

In the UK, I recently attended the opening meeting of a new network PREP – Promoting Reform towards pluralist Economics for the Public Interest. This brought together heterodox academic economists, student activists and representatives of public and civil society groups who are keen to promote new economic thinking to address pressing social, environmental and economic challenges.

I think that ecological economists need to engage with these types of initiatives in order, as Inge pointed out, to ensure that a biophysical perspective and associated social justice issues become foundational in the development of a new economics.



2. News from ESEE and its members

Environmental Policy and Governance - EPG Journal

A new special issue:
Water Management Across Borders, Scales and Sectors: Recent Developments and Future Challenges in Water Policy Analysis
July/August 2016, Volume 26, Issue 4
Edited by: Karin Ingold, Manuel Fischer, Cheryl de Boer, Peter P. Mollinga

Special Issue Articles:

Water Management Across Borders, Scales and Sectors: Recent developments and future challenges in water policy analysis (pages 223–228)
Karin Ingold, Manuel Fischer, Cheryl de Boer and Peter P. Mollinga

Collaborative Water Resource Management: What makes up a supportive governance system? (pages 229–241)
Cheryl de Boer, Joanne Vinke-de Kruijf, Gül Özerol and Hans Bressers

In the Eye of the Beholder: Network location and sustainability perception in flood prevention (pages 242–256)
Jörg Balsiger and Karin Ingold

Policy Diffusion in the Context of International River Basin Management (pages 257–277)
Florence Metz and Manuel Fischer

Transboundary Cooperation in European Water Governance – A set-theoretic analysis of International River Basins (pages 278–291)
Nicolas W. Jager

River Management and Stakeholders' Participation: The case of the Rhone River, a fragmented institutional setting (pages 292–305)
Christian Bréthaut

Scale Implications of Integrated Water Resource Management Politics: Lessons from New Zealand (pages 306–319)
Jeffrey McNeill

ESEE 2017 Conference Call

Dear Colleagues,
It is a great pleasure to invite you to the 12th International Conference of the European Society for Ecological Economics, which will be held from June 20-23, 2017 in Budapest, Hungary hosted by the Corvinus Business School, Corvinus University of Budapest.

In 2017 the main theme of the conference will be ECOLOGICAL ECONOMICS IN ACTION: BUILDING A REFLECTIVE AND INCLUSIVE COMMUNITY. The conference aims to bring together diverse sets of actors who are engaged in co-producing ecological economics insights and advice for responsible and creative pathways towards sustainability. We seek to open up disciplinary boundaries through collaboration and discussion, as well as through critical engagement and mutual learning with practitioners and local community efforts that aim to realise transformation towards sustainability.

We are pleased to invite you to submit an abstract and special session proposal through the conference website. The deadline for submitting special session proposals is 7 October, 2016 and for abstract submission is 25 November, 2016.
You can download the complete call for papers and special sessions here.

The ESEE Summer School 2017, which is traditionally an integrated part of the conference, will take place on 18-20 June, 2017. For more details please visit the conference website.

Please, address all technical inquiries to:

We are looking forward to seeing you in Budapest!
György Pataki, 
Director of Research at Corvinus Business School
On behalf of ESEE 2017 Local Organising Committee


Call for future ESEE Conference Organisers

ESEE holds its conference biennially. These conferences normally attract 400-550 social and natural scientists. Last year we met in Leeds, and György Pataki and his team are currently busy organising next year's meeting in Budapest.

For 2019 and 2021 we are now looking for individuals / groups who might be interested in applying for organising a conference in either of these years. Organising a conference is an opportunity to highlight the profile of a research group (or several groups in a country). Don't worry if you don't have much experience in organising big academic events. The ESEE Board offers advice and support based on past experience and key points have been summarised in a conference handbook. We encourage people with enthusiasm for the field of ecological economics and for bringing people together to express an interest.

If you are interested, please send an Expression of Interest by 15 December 2016 to Olivier Petit at - Your proposal should include:

1. Contact information of point person and other already committed members of the local organising committee (LOC) (individuals and groups in the host location or country willing to help organising the conference). List all individuals that you would like to involve in the conference committee and any staff resources for local assistance in organising the conference logistically.

2. Proposed location: Please identify a suitable meeting venue that can accommodate up to at least 450 conference participants. The proposed meeting facilities must be able to accommodate the following: Plenary sessions, about 10 concurrent sessions, poster and exhibition area, information and registration desk, receptions, catering area and other potential functions, such as computer and internet access, student workshops, and other small meeting rooms.

3. Accessibility and lodging: Please describe transportation and lodging options and ease of conference site. The location of the conference venue should be reasonably accessible for international and national participants and not too costly or time-consuming. Accommodation should be available in broad price and quality ranges for all conference participants.

4. Finance, potential sponsorships and in-kind support: The LOC is responsible for all financial aspects linked with the administration and organisation of the conference, which should be self-financing. Besides conference registration fees, sponsoring and in-kind support may play an important role. It is advisable that the LOC organises fund-raising activities: financial, scholarships, and in-kind contributions towards the conference are welcome. Please describe your ideas in this respect.

5. Amenities of the location: including restaurants, arts, recreation and other attractions.

6. Sustainability and environmental advantages: please list the advantages your site and conference can offer in this area. This can refer to offerings by local hotels, food and waste options, (public) transportation, etc.

7. Previous experience in organising scientific meetings or conferences: Please list previous events with responsible individuals / groups (who are also members of the ESEE conference LOC) and participant numbers.

A proposer is not expected to have firm answers to all questions at this stage. However, these items are important as a first checklist for you and for the ESEE Board to decide upon future ESEE conference venues. A final decision for the conference venue of ESEE 2019 is expected to be taken by June 2017. We are looking forward to hearing from you!


3. Student spotlight

An effective and democratic transition to a more sustainable society
Interview with Sabin Roman

Tell us about yourself.

I am a PhD student at the Institute for Complex System Simulation at the University of Southampton. Previously, I completed an Integrated Master's degree in Mathematical Physics at the University of Edinburgh. My initial ambition was to do particle physics but concerns about environmental threats and energy shortages captivated my interest and I have decided to research these problems from a quantitative, physics perspective.

What are you researching?

My research is focused on the characteristic, long-term, large-scale emergent features of societies, in particular on the mechanisms of societal collapse. I attempt to build dynamical system models that describe the time-evolution of aggregate, measurable properties (e.g. population levels, resource usage) by capturing important feedbacks between these variables. The world model that the Limits to Growth study was based on is a prominent example of this type of modelling.

Research in this area has dealt predominantly with the cases of single, isolated socio-environmental systems. What occurs when several systems of this type interact? While societal interactions are deemed important e.g. migration and commerce, little has been done to model networks of multiple, coupled, interacting socio-environmental systems. The modern world system is an example of this type, exhibiting high interconnectedness. My aim is to quantify this structure through mathematical models, where each component has the features of a smaller social system.

If you were in charge of the world economy for one day, tell me one thing what you would do and why?

If I was in charge of the world economy for one day I would organise a set of world-wide introductory presentations, lectures or conferences on systems thinking and thermodynamics, and ask all economists, business owners and heads of state to attend.

If thinking doesn't change, nothing else can. Any direct actions taken on the day would likely be resisted later on and not have the desired, long-term impact. If new ways of thinking can be instilled or at least introduced there is some realistic possibility of systemic change towards a sustainable future.

Tell me one thing that you think many ecological economists don’t realise, but should.

Many scientific disciplines have established specific methodological procedures, research questions, theoretical tools and experimental techniques. Some of these features have emerged naturally from the empirical imperative of trying to explain real-world observations and experimental results. Other practices have arisen from the need to simplify the complexity of real systems to be able to model them mathematically, for example the rationality of human actors in neoclassical economics. But often, social inertia and institutional conventions can lead to some of these assumptions and practices to be carried on longer than they are actually useful.

A constant influx of new ideas is needed to keep academic fields alive. I think ecological economics is well alive and its practitioners should not be tempted now or in the future to mimic the more rigid frameworks of other disciplines. This is always a risk and they should be mindful of it.

More about Sabin here

Interviewer: Jasper Kenter


 4. Hot topics

Slow Work, Slow Science, please Slow Down!

by Olivier Petit

Slow Work: this is the topic of an email I’ve received from a close colleague at the end of August. She was forced to diminish her activity due to health problems, probably partly linked with an excessive involvement in research projects, teachings and administrative responsibilities at the university. Beyond this specific situation, I would like to take the opportunity of this hot topic to stress the necessity to envision our work differently, as researchers, and especially as ecological economists. I think we all face potentially similar situations in our daily work: too many emails, meetings, commitments, which, most of the time prevent to develop new ideas, new projects with serenity. As ecological economists, we should be aware of the risks of being overwhelmed by all these commitments and their consequences on the quality of our work.

The imperatives to publish whatever the cost, to obtain credits for new research projects, without having always the time to valorize these projects in scientific journals, but also, more importantly, towards society at large, are often far from the situation we would like to see developing. As ecological economists, we are often involved in interdisciplinary research projects. Interdisciplinarity, when it is seriously addressed, is a very time-consuming involvement. It necessitates regular meetings, readings, discussions with all the partners of a specific research project, to produce new methodologies, new ideas and (hopefully) new results.

As ecological economists, we are aware of the urgency to help decision-makers to develop new policies to address the important and needed transformations of our societies towards sustainable paths. The environmental crisis is deepening every day and we must help to find solutions to limit the consequences of this multiples-layered crisis. However, in a context of benchmark evaluation in the academic market, are we always able to design new and creative solutions involving the various stakeholders without losing our capacity to understand the complexity of human-nature relationships?  The imperative of scientific excellence is based on the capacity to publish in high-rated journals a certain amount of papers, to obtain new research projects, new partnerships, and of course new funds to continue the race of academic competitiveness. But all these activities are very time-consuming. How many meetings, intermediate reports, emails, etc., for what results? This precious time, dedicated to stay in the race of scientific excellence could be dedicated to other activities: reading, in-depth discussion with colleagues… In contrast, this so-called race for ‘excellence’ bring us in conferences and meetings where we have only 10-15 minutes to present our work, with sometimes, enough time for “one or two very short questions”!. Moreover, some of us agree to transform their lunch break into “pizza workshops” or “brown bag seminars”. When fast food meets fast science… Is this serious?

As the philosopher Isabelle Stengers reminds us: “Slow science is not a ready-made answer, it is not a pill. It is the name for a movement that may gather many paths of recovery. What of slow meetings, that is meetings that are organized in such a way that participation is not formal only? What of slow talks, not only inviting people one really wishes to listen but reading and discussing beforehand so that the meeting is not reduced to the ritual of attending a prepared talk ended with some questions? What of taking the habit of demanding that when colleagues speak about issues that are beyond their field of expertise, they present the information, learning and collaborations that allow them to do so? What of paying attention, when expertise is needed about an issue of common concern, that co-experts are present and able to effectively represent the many dimensions relevant to the issue? From the point of view of fast science, all such proposals have a common defect. They all mean a loss of time, or worse, the duty to cultivate an active lucidity about the partial character of one’s own questions – the awakening of the famous sleepwalker.

The academic year just began a few weeks ago. What of deciding to slow down? It’s not just a question of health!

Isabelle Stengers, 2011, “Another science is possible!” A plea for slow science, Faculté de Philosophie et Lettres, ULB, 13 December 2011, Inaugural lecture Chair Willy Calewaert 2011-2012 (VUB).

Smart governance: A tool for climate mitigation in cities?

by Alfred Kaiser

Nowadays more than a half of the population lives in urban areas. In 1950 it represented only 30% of overall world’s population, but in 2014 it was already 54%. This means that population living in urban areas is rapidly increasing. It is expected that in 2050 this number will rise to 66% (United Nations 2014). Besides that, the density of population is also rising. Various human activities such as work, culture, social life and other are concentrated in cities. Negative aspects of this phenomenon are embodied in rising temperature in cities, since people also need living and parking spaces in buildings that cover and seal the soil, concentrating the heat. This transition brings along a lot of challenges, providing the necessary utilities to large amounts of people living in the same area.
Thanks to the revolution in information technology and big data, the concept of “smart city” has emerged, and nowadays much more information about different types of utilities is available. Against this background, the concept of “smart cities” has been introduced, described as a device for dealing with these service problems in a common framework. When it comes to climate change, Mancarella (2012) states further that reducing the energy footprint in cities is crucial. Integrated operation and planning of the urban system are described as essential tools for maximizing the environmental efficiency. It also means that the cities should strive to reduce their problems with heat islands.
The concept of smart governance can provide easy access to data and information to local residents as well as for local authorities and all other stakeholders and encourage them to participate on mitigation of climate change. Following first definition of smart governance by Eger (1997) who stated that in time of post-industrial world full of global economy, which rapidly expands is the age of information. On this wave of change, all institutions, both private and public, should be forced to adapt to this change, so the common forms of governance are going to be replaced with new forms called smart community. Hereby, sustaining governance is changing into “smart governance”. In fact, the term smart governance is relatively young and there is no common agreement on its definition and there is still considerable level of vagueness. Definitions are mostly focusing on the variation of same ideas and they differ slightly, but we can say that the main interest of all authors is concentrated in connecting people with governments through new ways of information technologies. However, strict focus on information communication technologies is not the best way how to define smart governance.
There are multiple theories about smart governance, however Mooji (2003) and Willke (2007) and Johnston & Hansen (2011) agree that information technologies are significantly important and innovation of governance is vital for further development. Janssen and Estevez went even further with their “I-Government” where the approach is more bottom up then top down, because they focus on small environments and not on big scale environment (Janssen & Estevez 2013). Focus on small local environment can have an impact in global scale. If we succeed in small scale, we can implement same or similar systems of smart governance in more places and cities and just then it will have a global impact on global climate mitigation.
Eger, J., 1997. Cyberspace and cyberplace: building the smart communities of tomorrow. San Diego Union-Tribune, Insight, 2.
Janssen, M. & Estevez, E., 2013. Lean government and platform-based governance—Doing more with less. Government Information Quarterly, 30, pp.S1–S8.
Mancarella, P., 2012. Distributed multi-generation options to increase environmental efficiency in smart cities. In 2012 IEEE Power and Energy Society General Meeting. IEEE, pp. 1–8.
Mooij, J.E., 2003. Smart Governance?: Politics in the Policy Process in Andhra Pradesh, India, United Nations, 2014. World Urbanization Prospects: The 2014 Revision, Highlights (ST/ESA/SER.A/352), Available at:
Willke, H., 2007. Smart governance: governing the global knowledge society, Campus Verlag.


5. Reflections on ESEE and ecological economics

Am I an ecological economist?
By Marina Fischer-Kowalski

What does it mean to you to be an ecological economist?

Well – I am not so sure I am. I was reluctant to accept presidential responsibility for ISEE in 2014 due to a lack of formal education in economics. I received my PhD in sociology, and was then trained in postgraduate courses across the social sciences. I learned to admire the 19th century political economists—Ricardo, Smith and Marx—in pursuing social theory in a broad sense. Later, from and within NGOs, I learned that my spontaneous love for nature, wilderness, animals and physical adventures was frustrated by a seemingly insatiable human species that treated the planet as its property to be consumed. I am driven to understand society in its interactions with nature in a conceptually integrated way, and I have a passion for preserving some remains of nonmanipulated nature. Does this make me an ecological economist?

Beginning in the late 1980s, I delved into the study of what Cutler Cleveland later termed the biophysical economy, deliberately ignoring its monetary dimensions. With a gradually expanding network of international cooperations, this work developed into what is today known as the paradigm of “social metabolism”, and its methodology of “material and energy flow accounting” (MEFA). It generated a rich body of empirical data at the macro-, meso- and local levels and across long periods of time; but this remained relatively isolated territory within ecological economics.

My sociological breeding predestined me to see the (monetary) economy as no more than an unduly dominant subsystem of society, and my borrowing from the natural sciences taught me the causal interrelatedness of phenomena—if there was a way to create scientific approaches bridging across this great divide, they had to be systemic, and there could not even be a chance of reducing one to the other. So I might be an ecological economist after all, but this does not preclude being an industrial ecologist, or, my personal preference, a social ecologist.

What has ecological economics achieved?

I think ecological economics has achieved a number of very successful strands of research, and is well equipped to meet a number of challenges posed by the current system. It has overcome, it seems to me, the fallacy of “weak sustainability”, but it has not become
the science of sustainability some aspired it to be. It has achieved academic recognition and it is establishing a rapidly increasing number of academic programs under its name. Organisationally, it has managed to generate academic societies in more and more parts of the world, and the International Society is running one of the most successful interdisciplinary journals. Ecological economics remains, though, an umbrella term for a broad variety of approaches that show only weak relations to one another. This broadness, or methodological pluralism as it is sometimes called, may be its strength, but it carries with it a number of major drawbacks. The most important drawback could be that ecological economics does not become a serious challenge to mainstream economics.

The window of opportunity for challenging mainstream economics has never stood open more widely than it does now. The ongoing economic crisis is debated in terms of its systemic causes. Popular media are discussing how (and whether) capitalism can be “saved”, and the Economist magazine has even run a cover piece on the fallacy of using GDP to measure prosperity. The ecological economics I envision which grows and “weeds out” its field of methodological pluralism, should make use of this opportunity.

What would a world ruled by ecological economists look like?

I don’t believe in an expert-run world, not even by good-willed interdisciplinary experts. And I am pretty sure ecological economists would be heavily overcharged by this job.

Where should ecological economics be heading?

Research publications tend to follow research funding. In our field, there are three strands of research funding available: funds for basic research, policy-oriented research funds, and business-oriented funding. Research funding is largely judged on the clarity of concepts, the use of stringent methods, and reference to a body of well-known literature. These standards don’t make life easy for interdisciplinary research—the only special assets it may rely upon are novelty and creativity. With respect to policy-oriented funding, economic policy actors cannot be expected to spend much of their money on critical approaches like ecological economics. Environmental policy actors may be more likely to do so, but they tend to spend their money on research for environmental protection that does not put them into conflict with their economic policy counterparts (TEEB for example). Finally, there are cooperations with business. They are a particular challenge to ecological economics because they may further divide the research community into those who apply mainstream economics principles and work on variations of the “business as usual” model, and those who look upon business is the root of all evil and will not engage in this area of research at all.

Globally, different interests also split the field. While researchers from high-income countries criticise unduly high consumption as a major driver of environmental destruction, emerging economies rely upon this very consumption to raise their standard of living. Researchers from these countries cannot easily be expected to join in on a critique of economic growth. These differences create enormous heterogeneity within the field, and a difficult situation for the journal (which has a low degree of mutual referencing), and possibly may rip the field apart if they become too strongly politicised.

Going forward, it would be of great help if funders could be convinced to invest in solid comparative research on long- and medium-term development, directed at human and environmental wellbeing beyond economic growth.

Marina Fischer-Kowalski teaches social ecology at the Alpen Adria University in Vienna, and is Past-President of ISEE

Interviewer: Dan O’Neill


Building a community for social ecological transformation
By Clive Spash

How did you get involved in ESEE?

I became familiar with ecological economics from the late 1980s while living in the USA, and coauthored a plenary paper with my PhD supervisor, Ralph d’Arge, at the first conference in Washington, D.C. When I returned to Europe I connected with various people and ran a discussion group in Scotland that explored issues around ecological and environmental economics. My substantive involvement in ESEE was due to Martin O’Connor who phoned to ask me to stand for election as Vice President at the forthcoming inaugural Paris conference in 1996. I had never thought about such a post before, but decided I would give it a go. Jan van der Straaten and I got exactly the same number of votes from the conference delegates, and so the decision was made that ESEE would have two vice presidents (Sylvie Faucheux was elected president).

What do you think is unique or special about ESEE?

The European Society has been more politically and socially aware and engaged in the broader social sciences. This stems from the mixture of people who were involved from the start, and a critical social science perspective being more common in Europe. While I was President of ESEE we ran two ‘Frontier’ conferences, one on theory and one on practice / applications, limited to 100 people and funded by a Marie Currie grant to support a high level of student / young researcher attendance. I think these really helped bring the community together and create a sense of common purpose. Various summer schools have also operated in a similar way over the years for smaller collectives. From the start what I liked about ESEE was a more convivial atmosphere and more concerned environmentalism than the theoretical and abstracted approach of environmental and resource economists.

Is the ecological economics community in Europe different than elsewhere?

Yes, there are clear differences, but it has also been changing over time. There was a distinct difference early on due to the cross linkages and engagement with participation and deliberative processes, value articulating institutions, social multi-criteria analysis, science and technology studies, and generally the attempts to link all this to theoretical foundations. As I have written in the journal, my feeling is that others have been looking for pragmatic magic numbers to impact politically, but with little concern for any theoretical basis in social science, or political, understanding. The ‘engineering approach’ has also been dominant elsewhere — often including faith in technology — with the search for ‘solutions’, as if everything were a problem with a technical fix.

In Europe, there is more openness to questioning markets and corporate capitalism rather than an apologist approach that asks for scale limiting side constraints, emissions trading and a bit of income redistribution. There is also a strong critique of the capital accumulating economy within the foundations of ecological economics, although this is perhaps too rarely expressed openly as such. Indeed, as I have also pointed out, there has been an ongoing struggle to maintain a core critical social science perspective against the powers urging conformity to the dominant economic discourse, regardless of its lack of social and biophysical realism.

The ESEE community has also managed some stability while other regional societies have come and gone, collapsed and been reformed, lacked focus and direction, or been dominated by individuals. At the same time there have been divisions such as the splitting off of the resilience people into their own organisation, or the reduced presence of the new resource economists who largely went back into the mainstream.

Where should ESEE be heading?

There is a role for ESEE to be more active in terms of its community. As a society ESEE needs to care for its members and find ways to support the younger members of the community who face managerialism, metrics, short term contracts and exploitation by senior colleagues. I would also like to see ESEE promoting good practice, such as not flying, having vegetarian / vegan food only at conferences, and generally encouraging low impact academic lifestyles by example. We need to recognise there is no credibility in being academics who, for example, fly all over the world telling people to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and that fossil fuels are running out. For many today there is a stronger focus on the need for social ecological transformation. The future of Europe is bleak with fascism on the rise, neoliberalism and corporations dominating politics, and the economics of selfish greed being promoted as if this made humans flourish. The European Union envisions a future world of trade, competition and growth through highly, socially and environmentally, invasive technologies. As in the past that means the majority are suppressed to serve a minority and the world will be divided by military might and ‘security’ forces. ESEE needs to become more radical and engaged in the social and environmental upheavals of our time. We need research that helps achieve a better future than the one humanity is now creating. That involves both promoting the means for transformation and the utopian vision of where we want to go. Perhaps this is why many are interested in degrowth, because, regardless of what you think of it academically or disagreements you might have with the term or content, the degrowth movement is clearly committed to changing the system. Smaller by design not disaster. Not, “slower”, as Peter Victor rewrote my phrase.

Clive Spash is Professor of Public Policy and Governance at the Institute for Multi-Level Governance & Development, Department of Socio-Economics, WU Vienna University of Economics and Business, and former President of ESEE. He is editing the Routledge Handbook of Ecological Economics: Nature and Society, due out in the second half of 2016.

Interviewer: Olivier Petit


6. Events, jobs and publications

Call for Papers: Student Conference on Conservation Science
Cambridge, UK on March 28-30, 2017

The conference series aims to bring together conservation scientists in the early stages of their research careers.  SCCS also uses its location in Cambridge to build firm links between the new generation of conservation scientists and the many national and international conservation agencies based nearby.

The conference has an internship scheme, which is available for conference delegates from developing and eastern European countries.
This scheme enables student delegates to spend up to one month after the conference with a UK-based NGO or university department carrying out a conservation science-related project of mutual interest.  Internship applicants are required to submit their application by 14 October 2016.

The closing date for all applications to the conference is 21 October 2016 at 10:00 am GMT.

More information


Call for Papers: ENVECON 2016 Conference
Volos, Greece on November 4-5, 2016

Conference Theme: Environmental and Natural Resources Economics

The Laboratory of Operations Research in the premises of the Department of Economics at the University of Thessaly organizes the 4th PanHellenic Conference in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics.
The main topics of the conferences include, among others, Economic Development and the Environment; Quantitative Methods in Environmental and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental Valuation; Green Economy, Sustainability and Innovation; Industry, Energy, Transport and Tourism; Renewable Energy Sources; Environmental Regulation, Law and Institutional Policies; Biodiversity and Desertification; Applied Economic Analysis; Environmental Finance and Investments; Urban and Regional Development.

Submit your abstract here

Abstract submission: October 9, 2016
Abstract acceptance: October 16, 2016
Article submission: October 30, 2016

More information


Call for Papers: Transformations 2017 Conference
Dundee, Scotland, UK on August 30-31 and September 1, 2017

3rd Biennial International Conference on Transformations to sustainability organized at the Centre for Environmental Change and Human Resilience (CECHR), University of Dundee, Scotland, UK.

Main theme: 'Sustainability transformations in practice'.
Sub themes:
- Conceptualising sustainability transformations
- Designing transformation and transformative forms of design
- Conditions and practices for transformation
- Research for transformation
- Creativity and innovation for enhancing thinking and practice of transformation
- Linking practice with policy

Submissions invited for:

- Presentations of papers
- Practice sessions
- Transformation Labs (workshops)

Extended deadline for abstracts: October 31, 2016.

More information


Call for Papers: FSR Climate Annual Conference 2016
Florence, Italy on December 1-2, 2016

The Florence School of Regulation - CLIMATE  (FSR Climate) of the European University Institute is organising its Annual Conference on the Economic Assessment of European Climate Policies. The Conference will focus on the economic assessment of European climate policies and will cover the main climate-related existing policies, at EU, national and subnational levels and will include four sessions, each of them with an invited speaker.

Papers on the above topics should be submitted in pdf to and include: title, abstract, full text and email address of the author. Submitted papers will be evaluated by the conference Scientific Committee and decisions will be communicated by 4 November 2016.

Deadline for paper submission: October 23, 2016. 

More information

ANZSEE 2017 Conference: The 99% Solution - Implementing the Sustainable Development Goals

Adelaide, South Australia on January 9-13, 2017

Presented by The Australia New Zealand Society for Ecological Economics and Solutions Journal.

The conference aims to engage academics, students, industry, the public, and public servants in the exchange of ideas and productive activities that enhance societal awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals. This conference presents you with the opportunity to conduct or participate in workshops, attend a master class in ecological economics, present a paper or a poster, and participate in panel sessions.

ANZSEE website 

Event: What has the concept of Ecosystem Services done for us? Taking Stock and looking forward.
Edinburgh, Scotland, UK on October 12, 2016

As part of the ESCom Series we are delighted to welcome international discussants Robert Costanza and Ida Kubiszewski.   
Hosted by ESCom members Kirsty Blackstock, James Hutton Institute & Marc Metzger, University of Edinburgh  discussants Robert Costanza and Ida Kubiszewski will join our colleagues to hear  Scottish academic, policy, NGO and industry perspectives.  In the first hour we will hear from each panel member on their understanding of the ES concept, how they use it in their work and the future for the ES concept,  as they see it. The second hour will be a chance for facilitated discussion around questions submitted by the audience before or during the event.  
The event will close with an informal wine reception. 

Ida Kubiszewski: Senior Lecturer at the Crawford School of Public Policy at Australian National University. 
Robert Costanza: Chair of Public Policy at the Crawford School of Public Policy, Australian National University. 
Rebecca Badger: Environmental Economist, Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).  
Alessandro Gimona: Senior Researcher in Information and Computational Sciences at the James Hutton Institute, Aberdeen.  
Bruce Wilson: Senior Policy Officer at the Scottish Wildlife Trust

More information

Job Offer: Research Fellow / Post-doc on Governance of Ecosystem Services

The Chair of Ecosystem Services at the International Institute Zittau / TU Dresden in Germany (Prof. Irene Ring) invites applications for a Research Fellow / Post-doc on governance or integrated valuation of ecosystem services. This post entails 75% of the fulltime weekly hours, offering a contract of 5 years. Very good German and English language and communication skills are required. The post also involves teaching in English language in the newly introduced MSc Programmes of “Ecosystem Services” and “Biodiversity and Collection Management”.

Application deadline: October 18, 2016.

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Job Offer: Professor of Climate and Environmental Economics at the University of Graz, Austria

The professorship in Climate and Environmental Economics is a central professorship within the Department of Economics and offers the attractive opportunity to collaborate closely with the Wegener Center for Climate and Global Change.

Application deadline: October 14, 2016

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Job Offer: Post-doctoral researcher in Energy and Environmental Modelling

The department of Physical and Technological Oceanography in the Institute of Marine Sciences in Barcelona (ICM-CSIC) is opening applications for one post-doctoral researcher. The ICM-CSIC is a multidisciplinary research center encompassing biologist, geologist and physical scientists. ICM-CSIC is looking for a scientist with background in physics or mathematics to do research on modelling energy transition to renewable sources. Good programming skills in Python, Fortran and C are required for this position. Modelling issues and data analysis within the framework of the MEDEAS EU project will be the main subjects of the research. The candidate will produce and guide high quality research outcomes in the form of project deliverables and publications in top scientific journals. Programming numerical routines and visual interfaces and good communication skills will be also considered. Salary: 46.000 €/year, contract duration: one year, with the possibility of extension to two years.
For more information please contact Jordi Solé.


Job Offer: Environmental Economist at PML
The Plymouth Marine Laboratory (PML) has an exciting opportunity for an enthusiastic and highly motivated environmental economist to join our ‘Sea and Society’ group to work with other economists, social scientists and environmental scientists. This group undertakes research on the consequences and benefits of the interactions between society and the marine environment to support sustainable and responsible ocean stewardship. The successful applicant will undertake high quality specialist environmental economics research, including supporting the delivery of existing projects and further developing your own portfolio of funded research.

Application deadline: October 11, 2016


Publication: Special issue of L'économie politique journal

Petit O., I. Calvo-Mendieta, G. Froger, F-D. Vivien (Eds.), 2016, Une économie écologique est-elle possible?, L’économie politique, n°69, janvier-mars, 2016/1,

This special issue of the french journal L'économie politique is an attempt to present to a large audience in French the principles and current debates in the field of Ecological Economics.