1. Editorial

  • Editorial, by Olivier Petit: Institutions and the Environment – Between inertia and dynamics

2. News from ESEE and its members

  • News from EPG
  • The global battle for environmental justice, by Nick Meynen

3. Other news

  • Global Energy Assessment (GEA) Report presented in Rio
  • Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) launched in Rio

4. Hot topic

  • Growth in Transition – Top-down and Bottom-up initiatives for kick-starting a transition towards a sustainable economy, by Elke Pirgmaier and Ines Omann
  • Is Europe about to fracture our hopes for a green energy revolution?, by Unai Pascual

5. Events

  • Discussion Colloquium Complexity and Environmental Policy: The Way Forward?
  • 2nd International Conference “Growth in Transition”, October 8-10 2012, Vienna
  • Envecon 2013, 15 March 2013, the Royal Society, London – Call for papers
  • Linking Policy and Science for Greening the Economy: 2nd EU Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, 29-30 October 2012, Science 14 Atrium, Brussels

6. Job openings

  • Call for a 3-year Ph.D. position at the Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna, Austria
  • Postdoctoral Research Associate: Ecosystem Services, Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College
  • Research Student for EJOLT project
  • Postdoctoral Fellowship: The economics of soil biodiversity and ecosystem services

7. Publications

  • Economics for Environmental Studies
  • Three Special issues on Degrowth from the Barcelona Conference in 2010

8. Students

  • Autumn School: Multiply Methods in Governance of the Commons: The Central European School, October 15-28, 2012, Bratislava

1. Editorial

Editorial, by Olivier Petit

Institutions and the Environment – Between inertia and dynamics

The Rio + 20 UN Conference which was held last June had been branded as a failure before it even began. Badly prepared, poorly covered by the media and receiving little political support (in comparison to the 1992 conference); the results, unfortunately, were at the level of expectations. The international level well illustrates the weight of legal constraints and the narrow leeway given to actors to negotiate with often very limited results. Such institutional inertia is not restricted to the environmental domain. But in times of economic and social hardship, it is obvious that environmental issues –despite the unquestionable environmental crisis– become secondary priorities. The oft-aborted projects for a World Environment Organisation remind us of how difficult it is to set up formal institutions. Creating such an institution is a real challenge, given the potential struggles for power, legitimacy and the overlap with other international organisations.

Nevertheless, the informal nature of institutions (customs, uses…) should not be overlooked. In this regard, International Environmental Law aptly illustrates this point, often being presented as wooly and loose: an illustration of «soft law». The situation is much more mixed at national and regional levels and the way institutions deal with environmental issues varies from inertia to innovation dynamics.

The French case is a valid illustration thereof, given the administrative weight which makes it complicated to implement any institutional change while taking the environment into account. But, thanks to the repeated efforts of women and men acting in these institutions and at their periphery every day, innovation is always possible. That is precisely what can be observed in the Nord-Pas-de-Calais Region which has launched an ambitious strategy for social and environmental transformation, built on the notion of the common good. Besides, this region is one of the most successful in the implementation of local Agenda 21, territorial climate plans and other initiatives based on sustainability. This situation is no mere coincidence: the Nord-Pas-de-Calais region experienced the heavy consequences of the economic crisis in the 1970s and, for a long time, it was portrayed as the archetype of unsustainable development, being built on coal mining and heavy industries. However, this cultural and industrial heritage is the starting point for a new era, spanning past, present and future.

It is precisely at the heart of this very region, in the nice town of Lille, that the 10th ESEE conference will be held. If the main topic of this conference (Ecological Economics and Institutional Dynamics) is an opportunity to delve into many of the aspects discussed in this editorial, the event is first and foremost a forum to present the ongoing research in the field of Ecological Economics, whatever the topic and methodological approach may be. Prior to the conference, a workshop for Master’s and PhD students will be organised at the Université de Reims Champagne Ardenne (Reims, June 17-18 2013). Moreover, a special event on the policy-science nexus in the field of Ecological Economics will be held in Brussels on June 18th, 2013. The relevant information on those events is available on the conference website where your proposals for Special Sessions (deadline: October 1st, 2012), Posters and Communications (deadline: November 30th, 2012) can be uploaded.


We look forward to seeing you at our venues next year!


2. News from ESEE and its members

News from EPG

Special issue from the ESEE 2011 Conference: “Advancing Ecological Economics: Theory and Practice” – Coming out in Early October

The Special Issue from the ESEE 2011 Conference that took place in Istanbul, Turkey between 14 and 17 June will be published in early October. The guest editors of this special issue are Begum Ozkaynak, Felix Rauschmayer and Irene Ring and the six papers selected for publication are as follows:

1. Green New Deal: A Green Way out of the Crisis? by Ahmet Atıl Aşıcı and Zeynep Bunul
2. Economic Localisation Revisited, by Eva Frankova and Nadia Johanisova
3. Sustainable Development Indicators: From statistics to policy by Per Arild Garnåsjordet, Iulie Aslaksen, Mario Giampietro, Silvio Funtowicz, Torgeir Ericson
4. Synergies or Trade-offs? A New Method to Quantify Synergy between Different Dimensions of Sustainability by Jyrki Luukkanen, Jarmo Vehmas, Juha Panula-Ontto, Francesca Allievi, Jari Kaivo-oja, Tytti Pasanen, Burkhard Auffermann
5. A Multi-level Integrated Analysis of Socio-Economic Systems Metabolism: an Application to the Italian Regional Level by Giuseppina Siciliano , Alessandro Crociata, Margherita Turvani
6. Towards an Institutional and Historical Analysis of Environmental Policy in Madagascar by Geraldine Froger and Philippe Meral

The global battle for environmental justice
By Nick Meynen

It has been a bloody summer for environmental activists throughout the world. On 24 and 25 June 2012 the bodies of Brazilian human rights defenders Mr Almir Nogueira de Amorim and Mr João Luiz Telles Penetra were found, hands & feet bound to each other. Days earlier, at the Peoples Summit, they exposed impacts of big oil, mining and steel projects in Rio de Janeiro State. On July 27, 2012 Volodymyr Goncharenko revealed that 180 tons of dangerous chemical and radioactive industrial waste had arrived at the city of Kryvyi Rih  (Ukraine), without control of local authorities and police. Four days later he was brutally beaten, dying in hospital from his injuries.

The list is long - and growing very fast according to a report from Global Witness - suggesting a global battle at the resource frontiers. Environmental injustices happen at all stages of a resource’s life-cycle. They travel the world, but do not occur at random. They are guided in that journey by multinational corporations (MNCs), which often make sure that the worst injustices only occur in the peripheral areas of our global economy. While MNCs try to hide such environmental injustices, EJOLT exposes and dissects them.

EJOLT stands for Environmental Justice Organisations, Liabilities and Trade. This big FP7 project - financed by the European Commission - supports the work of Environmental Justice Organisations (EJOs) in four continents, uniting scientists, activist organisations, think-tanks and policy-makers from the fields of environmental law, environmental health, political ecology and ecological economics. The focus is on the practical use of concepts such as liabilities or Ecologically Unequal Exchange in environmental activism and policy-making. The work on a well-informed movement for environmental justice is at the core of this unique four-year project (2011-2015).

Recent EJOLT reports are good examples of our work: ‘Legal avenues for EJOs to claim environmental liability’ (EJOLT report 4) reads like a 100p manual for environmental justice organizations that want to take their battle to court. Using 11 case studies, it examines the scope for different courses of legal action against environmental injustice. The thread common to all cases is that severe environmental damage is often associated with the involvement of large MNCs trying to operate in a self-created legal vacuum. Legal frameworks are applied with varying degrees of success. The report gives 17 clear recommendations for the many EJOs fighting for environmental justice.

‘Issues in the economics of ecosystems and biodiversity’ (EJOLT report 5) discusses three socio-economic approaches to make biodiversity loss more visible so as to better defend it. Drawing upon eight cases in which EJOs are involved, it shows how different social actors use or refuse one approach or the other according to the social context. In particular it examines which social organizations and forces favour or oppose economic commensuration, and why.

The EJOLT reports also produce policy recommendations that are finding their way to the relevant policy makers. 'Industrial waste conflicts around the world. Case studies from India and Bulgaria: shipbreaking and incineration.' resulted in a briefing on shipbreaking that is now used by the NGO Shipbreaking Platform in meetings with MEPs. Contact beatriz.rodriguez (at) for more information about our EJOLT report series.

As well as producing reports, factsheets, videos and articles on environmental justice, EJOLT’s singularity is its global inventory of environmental conflicts. The 23 participant organisations are putting their knowledge together to compile and map cases of environmental injustice all over the world - using this form - with the first interactive maps launched online in 2013. Scientists and activists are invited to join in this global effort. To do so contact the coordinator on mapping: leah.temper (at) And follow the latest news on EJOLT through twitter (@EnvJustice), our facebook page (EJOLT) or on our website:


3. Other news

Global Energy Assessment (GEA) Report presented in Rio

The Global Energy Assessment (GEA) was presented in Rio de Janeiro in June. The aim of this project which was coordinated by the International Institute of Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), was to evaluate and summarize the current state of research on global energy issues in a policy relevant document. The GEA report comprises chapters on questions such as energy resources, climate-change mitigation, risks, scenarios as well as policy options and recommendations. GEA will be published as a book from Cambridge University Press which will become available in the course of July 2012.

IIASA press release:

Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5) launched in Rio

UNEP press release: “The fifth edition of the Global Environmental Outlook (GEO-5), launched on the eve of the Rio+20 Summit, assessed 90 of the most-important environmental goals and objectives and found that significant progress had only been made in four. These are eliminating the production and use of substances that deplete the ozone layer, removal of lead from fuel, increasing access to improved water supplies and boosting research to reduce pollution of the marine environment.”

Full report and materials:


4. Hot topic

Growth in Transition – Top-down and Bottom-up initiatives for kick-starting a transition towards a sustainable economy
By Elke Pirgmaier and Ines Omann

What types of changes in our economies do we need in order to achieve an environmentally sustainable and social just transition towards sustainability? This is one of the big questions of our time. Despite the urgency of the problem, there is a lack of coherent strategies. Above all, it is questionable whether and how current strategies are compatible with an economic system that relies strongly on the efficiency of market mechanisms and economic growth and in which questions of sustainability are mainly (if at all) addressed through moral appeals. Despite discouraging happenings such as the Rio+20 negotiations, we can also observe promising developments in recent years, at both the policy level but also from bottom-up movements. In the following, we highlight some encouraging examples.

In the last years, there has been increasing political interest in how welfare and progress of societies can be better measured than with GDP. This has led to the creation of initiatives such as the European Commission’s Beyond GDP, the Stiglitz-Sen-Fitoussi Commission, the OECD’s Better Life Initiative and several other national activities (e.g. in the UK, Finland, Belgium). They all aim to assess and develop indicators of progress that are as appealing as GDP but more inclusive of environmental and social aspects. In the end, these initiatives push for more robust information about how the quality of our lives is changing and how it can be fostered – as a basis for evidence-based policy making. As far as our future quality life is concerned, this also includes improving the state of the natural environment and considering future generations.

In addition to these initiatives that focus on measuring aspects, some countries have started a broader debate about what we as a society mean by prosperity and how we can achieve and safeguard it in the long run. In Germany, the Study Commission of the German Parliament on “Growth, Wellbeing and Quality of Life” was established for three reasons: first, to determine the importance of economic growth in the economy and society; second, to investigate the possibilities and limits of decoupling growth, resource use and technological progress, and third, to develop a holistic well-being and progress indicator. The group of 11 Members of Parliament and external experts aims to reach recommendations that serve as a foundation for political decision-making.

In Austria, Growth in Transition is a government supported initiative that has been initiated by the Federal Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management in 2008. Designed as stakeholder dialogue, the initiative aims to reflect on the importance of economic growth in society and its compatibility with sustainable development. Since its start, around 20 Austrian policy-shaping partner organisations have joined the initiative and jointly organize activities that focus on the same core issue but from different angles. Central questions include: What does “real wealth” look like? How could an economic and financial system look like that is compatible with ecological thresholds? How could an alternative development path focused on high quality of life become reality? What factors do we as a society want to grow? Growth in Transition is a unique process as several ministries have taken on the role of agenda setting. The question, which growth is ecologically and socially compatible in the long run, seems to have become more acceptable in Austria.

Overall, it can be observed that the mainstream environmental discourse – especially on the policy level and amongst resource and environmental economists – centres around an economic growth model with new attributes – green, sustainable, inclusive, intelligent. Advocates even talk about golden growth. These strategies are based on the ideas of ecological modernisation that date back to the 1980s. The concept has gained an upswing in recent years especially due to discussions about the Green Economy.

In contrast to these developments at the political level, we can observe a colourful variety of developments at the civil-society and scientific level that might have the potential to accelerate the transition needed. For instance, we can observe a revival of the growth-sceptical debate. The debate is not new, but the intensity and outreach is quite remarkable in recent years. Proponents argue that high growth rates in developed economies are nowadays no longer possible and desirable due to moral, ecological, social and economic reasons. Following a precautionary principle, it is argued that we need a debate how an economy could also function – or even better – without growth. What has started with Herman Daly’s Steady State Economy, has been pushed with publications such as Prosperity Without Growth from Tim Jackson or Managing Without Growth from Peter Victor. In Germany, the Postwachstumsgesellschaft (see for instance the work of Irmi Seidl and Angelika Zahrnt) and Postwachstumsökonomie (Niko Paech) are being discussed at both scientific and civil-society level. In Austria, SERI published Growth in Transition and many events are being organised around the growth question (see; the next event will be an international conference taking place from 8th to 10th of October in Vienna – you can still register for it). And the Degrowth movement that dates back to Georgescu-Roegen’s work is nowadays particularly active in France, Spain and Italy.

There are also new forms of organising the economy and society that put people’s wellbeing and quality of life in the centre. These approaches accentuate human needs and values and living in harmony together with nature. Following the dictum „the economy serves the people“ different paths are suggested – often in conscious absence of market and state – that serve the needs of the people involved. The variety of alternative forms of organising economic activities differently is huge, as people negotiate collectively in what forms they want to collaborate. Examples reach from cooperative-organised collaborations, community supported agriculture, complementary currencies, the common welfare economy, the solidarity economy, the transition movement, and the South-American debate about buen vivir. These approaches aim to strengthen community and often focus on producing and consuming at a local or regional level in the course of collective actions. And to have fun doing meaningful activities together!

This was a very brief overview about recent developments how we can shape and organise economic activities differently. We argue that it is important to support a variety of alternatives! Different approaches serve the needs of different communities. And they all have the potential to come up with ideas that can be combined and up-scaled. Neither a pure bottom-up strategy nor top down governance would solve the problem. We need both and in particular the spaces in between, where top-down and bottom-up meet to wind up each other. We have seen in the last years many research projects and approaches addressing either the bottom-up level, for instance transition theory and transition case studies or the top-down level, for instance studies on governance and policies. However the zone where those two come together is still a missing link. ESEE and its members could contribute to this debate by developing inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to integrate bottom-up and top down approaches for the great transformation towards sustainability.

Is Europe about to fracture our hopes for a green energy revolution?
by Unai Pascual

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking as commonly known is here and seem to be willing to stay and expand in Europe and in many parts of the world. Some refer to it as a key component of a new energy revolution. In an era of green branding, the industry does not hesitate to rebrand itself through the green tag while environmentalists are dismayed by its negative environmental impacts. But what is fracking? Here are some basic facts that I hope will help to enlighten the debate about fracking within the ecological economics community.

Fracking was virtually unknown about a decade ago, but has rapidly become commonplace as a technique generally used to release oil, or natural gas trapped within rock formations (known as shale gas). The technology is based on creating fractures and drilling into reservoir rock formations. Highly pressurized water added to sand and chemicals are injected to create new channels in the rock, from which to extract hydrocarbons.

This is not a new idea. But while shale gas has been supplied since the 19th century, the modern horizontal fracking method to commercially extract shale gas was first used less than 15 years ago in the US. Since 1997 it has continued to advance rapidly in the US especially due to government incentives such as tax breaks for unconventional gas and the availability of advanced technology also used in offshore oil drilling. No doubt that the US is championing fracking. In fact, by 2010 shale gas provided over 20% of natural gas production in the US it is predicted that by 2035 almost half of the natural gas supply in the US will come from shale gas. Worldwide, the International Energy Angecy (IEA) estimates that gas production could increase by 50% between 2010 and 2035, with unconventional sources supplying two-thirds of the growth. The fracking revolution that has occurred during the last decade and the projected future massive expansion of shale gas has been made possible by large increases in the price of fossil fuels. So, are we about to surf another energy revolution? and if so, how would this impact the way we look at the peaking energy crisis, global environmental challenges and global warming in particular?

Fracking is supported by an important industrial lobby that is pushing for governments around the world to support it with important PR campaigns. Environmentalists have reacted as they are alarmed by the potential negative environmental impacts and have started to voice their concerns effectively. These concerns include mainly the effects of extracting shale gas through the leaking of chemicals and waste into water supplies thereby contaminating ground water, risks to air quality, migration of gases and hydraulic fracturing chemicals to the surface, mishandling of waste, and the health effects of all these plus the risk of increased seismic activity in the areas surrounding fracking spots.

The water demand of the fracking technology is huge and there are already conflicts in fracking territories, such as for instance in Colorado State, between farmers and the gas industry. But water quality matters too. Supposedly only about 50% to 70% of the resulting volume of contaminated water is recovered and stored in above-ground ponds waiting to be removed by tankers with the rest of contaminated water left in the earth risking the contamination of groundwater aquifers.
What about fracking and global warming? As it is often claimed that natural gas produces about half of the carbon emissions compared to burning coal, the fracking industry lobby is trying to rebrand itself as supplying "clean" or "low-carbon" fuel. For instance the Obama administration seem to be supporting a discourse whereby increased shale gas development will help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, a careful analysis into its effect on the climate suggests that the picture is less clear-cut than directly comparing shale gas with coal. For example, within the US the Council of Scientific Society Presidents representing around 1.4 million scientists is claiming that fracking releases more greenhouse gas emissions than what the industry claims. Similarly various studies have warned that fracking is likely to result in the release of more greenhouse gases than conventional natural gas. One important reason is due to leaks of methane (which is a very potent greenhouse gas) from fracking sites as these are rarely captured by the gas companies because the technology to capture methane is costly.

While the US continues to have the yellow maillot as leader in developing and producing shale gas, Europe and the rest of the world are not lagging very far behind. According to the U.S. Energy Information Administration Europe has an estimated 639 trillion cubic feet of shale gas resources and many countries within the EU are studying whether to grant fracking permissions in their territory. Developing fracking in Europe is more complicated than in the US mostly as it has a population density that precludes offering many open areas to drill and a much smaller gas infrastructure, such as pipelines to take the gas to consumers. Further, there persist strong environmental concerns about fracking even if a recent study commissioned by the EU concluded that current legislation is adequate to protect the environment. Given the pressure to bring fracking into European countries various governments are already developing legislation related to fracking.

Last year, France became the first country to ban fracking and recently François Hollande has confirmed the prohibition. Bulgaria has also banned hydraulic fracturing in January this year and the Czech republic is also considering a ban.
Fracking in the UK was recently temporarily suspended after it was linked to a series of earthquakes and  a report recently commissioned by the government's chief scientist, Sir John Beddington has called for better regulation and closer monitoring of fracking if the government is allow further exploration of shale gas. Similarly, Germany is considering tighter regulation because of environmental concerns and the German Environment Ministry has recently asked Chancellor Angela Merkel to ban fracking operations near drinking water reservoirs. In essence both the UK and German governments are leaving the door open for fracking despite environmentalists concerns and demand for getting a moratorium on fracking until independent scientific reports are fully available. On the other pole, Poland seems to be willing to open its doors wide open to meet its shale gas ambitions.

Recent studies also point out that shale gas production potential may be significantly lower than what is currently projected by the fracking industry due to high decline rates of shale gas wells, thus questioning the expectations created by the industry. But the official discourse is also pointing at the idea that shale gas might be a cheap way to bridging the transition to a low-carbon fuel mix. In fact, proponents of fracking point out that cheaper gas could help free cash for more investment in low-carbon technologies. Moreover, new research is hoping to link fracking using compressed carbon dioxide instead of water to fracture methane rich rocks with carbon capture and storage (CCS) technology. This would help the fracking industry and some governments to further support shale gas production as a win-win strategy in terms of ‘cheap’ low carbon energy technology. Further, this could allow some countries to meet their legally-binding greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. However, despite such potential developments or wishful claims the International Energy Agency is already warning that the supposedly "golden age of gas" spurred by shale gas from fracking will hamper the development of renewable energy which is a necessary condition for society to transit to a low carbon economy.

Last but not least, in the current context of economic crisis in Europe where job losses in many countries continue unstoppably, it is time to think whether fracking would help or hamper the creation of much needed green jobs. We can look at the Obama’s administration initial plan to support a green economy based on green energy based jobs. Despite the US government calculated that the US could create five million new green jobs in the green energy sector, specially based on new renewable energy development, so far only 5% of those jobs have been created. Given the fracking industry’s promise for energy independence in the US, it is likely that the green economy and green jobs pledge has already fractured in the US. Europe must learn from such wishful and politically empty pledges if fracking is allowed to stay and grow. A real green economy necessitates a strong green energy sector, not cheap gas prices. Further, the green energy dream will further fracture if moratoriums or outright bans to fracking operations are not put in place across the EU. As ecological economists we need to push for a European sustainable energy sector that will not fracture our common future.


5. Events

Discussion Colloquium Complexity and Environmental Policy: The Way Forward?
Remembering Elinor Ostrom, Bratislava, October 24, 2012, 14:00-17:00.

Complexity is not the same as chaos”, said Elinor Ostrom in Stockholm after being awarded Nobel prize in 2009. Questioning simple theoretical models to prescribe universal solutions by developing a common, classificatory framework to facilitate efforts toward a better understanding of complex social-ecological systems has placed complexity in a dominant position of Lin’s research over the last decade. What is the way forward? How do we address complexity in a global arena? How does uncertainty of information, future policy options and fragility of social and ecological systems affect prospects of Earth system governance? We are pleased to address the topic of complexity to honor Lin’s exceptional personality on the date of her planned second visit of Slovakia. Speakers are: (1) Daniel W. Bromley, University of Wisconsin-Madison and Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin; (2) Jouni Paavola, University of Leeds, United Kingdom; and (3) Tatiana Kluvánková-Oravská, CETIP, Bratislava.

Organised by the Centre for Transdisciplinary Study of Institutions, Evolution and Policies (CETIP), Bratislava Slovakia ( and Centre of Excellence SPECTRA+ at the Slovak University of Technology, the European Society for Ecological Economics ( with the contribution of Tatra Banka foundation

More information:

2nd International Conference “Growth in Transition”, October 8-10 2012, Vienna

From 8 to 10 October 2012, the 2nd international conference "Growth in transition" takes place in Vienna, Austria. Within the framework of the “Growth in Transition” Conference committed people from political, administrative, scientific, economic, civil and other backgrounds will discuss the key issues of the future and jointly work on solutions. You are cordially invited to participate at the conference.

For registration details and further information here:

Envecon 2013, 15 March 2013, the Royal Society, London – Call for papers

Envecon is the annual applied environmental economics conference organised by the UK Network of Environmental Economists (UKNEE). The conference, which will be in its 11th year in 2013, aims to bring together environmental economists and other experts from academia, consultancy and public and private sectors to foster closer relationships, follow recent developments and share experience.

Please submit your abstract by the 15th November 2012 to

Detailed call for papers and further information can be found here:

Linking Policy and Science for Greening the Economy: 2nd EU Dialogue on Sustainable Consumption and Economic Growth, 29-30 October 2012, Science 14 Atrium, Brussels
On behalf of the RESPONDER Consortium, we have the pleasure to invite you to a 1.5 day journey to explore the emerging policy landscape for a Green Economy in Europe. A selected group of policy makers and researchers from across Europe will come together to discuss areas of contention within green economy policy making between sustainable consumption and economic growth. The overall aim is to exchange knowledge on how to deal with these contentions and arrive at a tangible impetus for effective policy development.
In particular, the debate will focus around three themes:
•         Green economy and jobs: How can a green economy create more and better employment?
•         Green economy and natural resources: How can a green economy achieve the sustainable use of natural resources?
•         Green economy and finance: How can the transition to a green economy be financed during a period of economic crisis?
In a dialogue-oriented atmosphere, we will be wrestling with these issues, making linkages between them and pulling them together to provide a robust basis for policy making.
If you would like to register for this event, please contact

For more details please visit:
We look forward to hearing from you!


6. Job openings

Call for a 3-year Ph.D. position at the Institute of Social Ecology, Vienna, Austria

The Institute of Social Ecology (Alpen-Adria University) invites applications for a 3-year Ph.D. position based in Vienna, Austria. The candidate should have finished his/her Master’s degree with a focus on participatory and stakeholder processes and should be familiar with some of the tools (e.g. SMCE, FCM, etc.) used to mediate science and society. Candidates with an interdisciplinary background and exposed to research fields such as ecological economics, social and human ecology, and sustainability science in general will be preferred.

 The Ph.D. position will be part of the newly launched Doctoral School in Social Ecology (DSSE
- and the scientific work embedded within an on-going EU project. The Ph.D. topic will be centred around participatory / stakeholder process, the exact details of which are negotiable with the project leader and supervisor. The Ph.D. is to be written in English, but knowledge of German and/or Spanish will be an advantage. The position is expected to start as early as 1st October 2012.

Candidates shortlisted for this position will be invited for a direct interview. Interested candidates to apply via email with a cover letter describing your background, motivation and experience (no longer than 2 pages), along with a CV that includes list of publications and names of three referees who we could contact. Please send application to:

Mag. Barbara Smetschka (Deputy Director, Administration)

Postdoctoral Research Associate: Ecosystem Services, Environmental Studies Program, Dartmouth College

The Environmental Studies Program at Dartmouth College aims to recruit a Postdoctoral Research Associate with expertise in the science, valuation, and governance of ecosystem services. The successful applicant will work in an interdisciplinary team under the direction of Professor Richard Howarth on a multi-year, multi-institution project sponsored by the National Science Foundation to study the links between forests, watersheds, and socioeconomic systems in the State of New Hampshire. The project provides opportunities related to:

• The analysis of tradeoffs between timber values, carbon storage, surface albedo, and biodiversity in the management of forests.

• Stakeholder research and the use of scenario analysis to project and evaluate changes in land use and resource management.

The successful applicant will have completed (or be near completion of) a PhD in environmental studies, ecological economics, conservation biology, natural resource management, or a related field. To apply, please send a cover letter, c.v., a representative publication, and the names and addresses of three references to:

Prof. Richard B. Howarth
Environmental Studies Program
Dartmouth College

The position offers a competitive salary and benefits with a start date of September 1, 2012 or as negotiated. Applications will be considered until the position is filled.
Dartmouth College is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer and has a strong commitment to diversity. We welcome applications from a broad spectrum of people, including women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, and veterans.


Research Student for EJOLT project

EJOLT is currently hiring a research student for a one year contract, extendable to 2 years to provide support for the Mapping of Ecological Conflicts. The student will have to register for a Phd at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and will be based in Barcelona.

Main Tasks:
1. To collaborate in filling in Database Forms on environmental conflicts, and check quality of those already filled in by EJOLT partners.
2. To cooperate in Database management, mapping and statistical analysis.

Interested candidates should send the application to Prof. Martínez-Alier, email: with copy to Marina Utgés, email:, heading the subject of the email with the title “Research Student Position – EJOLT”. The deadline for sending the application documents is Tuesday 2nd October 2012.

More information here:

Postdoctoral Fellowship: The economics of soil biodiversity and ecosystem services

The Basque Centre for Climate Change (BC3), offers a two year postdoctoral fellowship as part of the EU project EcoFINDERS (Ecological Function and Biodiversity Indicators in European Soils). The postdoc will contribute to a large interdisciplinary team but will focus on the economic analysis associated with the conservation of soil biodiversity and impacts on ecosystem services.  It is expected that the successful candidate will join BC3 in November 2012.

BC3 is looking for a postdoctoral researcher with a PhD in natural resource economics, agricultural or environmental/ecological economics and strong skills in quantitative economic analysis. The successful applicant will work on developing integrated ecological-economic models to demonstrating the value of soil biodiversity and associated ecosystem services for human wellbeing especially in risky and rapidly changing agricultural environments. Given the role of soil biodiversity for buffering climate change impacts, BC3 is strengthening this area of applied economics research. The postdoctoral researcher will collaborate closely with the Danish Centre for Environment and Energy (DCE) at Aarhus University, Denmark


7. Publications

Economics for Environmental Studies
By Alfred Endres and Volker Radke

New book released by Springer Publishers.

An understanding of fundamental economic concepts is essential for students in environmental studies programs around the world. The present textbook addresses their needs, providing a concise introduction to micro- and macroeconomics and demonstrating how these economic tools and approaches can be used to analyze environmental issues. Written in an accessible style without compromising depth of the analysis, central issues in the public policy debate on environmental problems and environmental policy are discussed and analyzed from an economics perspective. The book is meant both as an introductory text for undergraduate students in environmental sciences without a background in economics, and as a companion for economists interested in a presentation of the micro and macro foundations of environmental economics, in a nutshell.

For more information:

Three Special issues on Degrowth from the Barcelona Conference in 2010

- Futures, Politics, Democracy and Degrowth.
Edited by Claudio Cattaneo, Giacomo D'Alisa, Giorgos Kallis and Christos Zografos
Volume 44, Issue 6, Pages 515-654 (August 2012)

- Journal of Cleaner Production, Degrowth: From Theory to Practice.
Edited by Filka Sekulova, Giorgos Kallis, Beatriz Rodríguez-Labajos and Francois Schneider
In Press (2012)

- Ecological Economics, The Economics of Degrowth.
Edited by Giorgos Kallis, Christian Kerschner and Joan Martinez-Alier
In Press (2012)


8. Students

Autumn School: Multiply Methods in Governance of the Commons: The Central European School, October 15-28, 2012, Bratislava


Hosted by TEMPUS project at the Comenius university Bratislava and organised by the Centre for Transdisciplinary Study of Institutions, Evolution and Policies (CETIP), Bratislava Slovakia ( and Centre of excellence SPECTRA+. The school is part of open series of Summer Institutes of the European Society for Ecological Economics ( The School will award 6 ECTS credits.


Interdisciplinary environmental research has become increasingly characterized by a major methodological shift. It is becoming evident that no single method can overcome the challenges of interdisciplinary research at the interface between social and natural sciences. The call for the use of multiple methods in interdisciplinary research is an increasingly important methodological debate in communities such as ecological economics, political ecology and resilience alliance. In particular, the growing attention for collaborative research requires multi-method application to overcome theoretical but also practical challenges. European Society for Ecological Economics endorses series of self-governed educational institutes to bring innovative ideas of theoretical and practical challenges of multi-method application and collaborative research and the education of doctoral and post-doctoral interdisciplinary environmental researchers. Educational Institutes (not necessarily summer) intent to contribute to the long-term knowledge exchange and capacity building within interdisciplinary European academic networks.


The Central European School on Multiple Methods in Governance of the Commons will be third event of ESEE Summer Institutes series. The participants will expand their insights into the core theory and practice of environmental governance and how multiple methods can increase validity of research results. The main focus will be on methodology to study governance of the commons under the complexity of global world and uncertainty of external events such as natural and social shocks.


Applicants: The Autumn School is open to the PhD students, post-docs and young teachers and scientists from all Tempus partners´ institutions (Tempus Joint Program 511390 Environmental Governance for Environmental Curricula). Maximum number of participants: 20-25 (requirements: knowledge of English language, basic knowledge of governance principles).


Further Information here: