Ecological Economics for beginners.

March 17, 2009

Friday 13th March saw me whipping back into town to catch a conference-opening lecture by Dr Robert Costanza, from the Gund Institute of Ecological Economics at The University of Vermont, who is here in NZ on a secondment to the New Zealand Centre for Ecological Economics (NZCEE), based at Massey University’s home campus in Palmerston North.

After the requisite time spent on the pre-lecture refreshments and Green membership gossip, I found myself a seat in the auditorium of Rutherford House LT1, and waited for the rest of the SPC attendees to catch on and copy. Twiddle, twiddle, watching the crew setting up tech gear & checking the powerpoints were working; then finally, all 300 pre-allocated seats were filled, and the talks got underway.

First up, our Green Co-leader Jeanette Fitzsimons greeted the assembled members, and thanked Dr Costanza and members of the NZCEE for coming to Wellington to make presentations on Ecological Economics. Then Dr Costanza made his presentation, which was stimulating and challenging; to the point where my notes became a list of publications to look up, and websites to browse later.

Links: the presentation is here,
which also gives the handy list of Dr Costanza’s published works, in far tidier format than my hasty notes.
The panel was then constructed of Jeanette, Bob, and members of the academic and research staff of NZCEE; Vicky Forgie, Marjan van der Belt, and Ida Kubiszewski. A quick overview of the work done by NZCEE was given, which can be viewed in greater depth here:
along with publications by the Centre here.

The panel: Jeanette, Bob, Vicky, Marjan, Ida

The panel: Jeanette, Bob, Vicky, Marjan, Ida

I’ll admit right now that some serious reading is going to happen in my home study time, to get myself up-to-date on this area – my last efforts at understanding economics were for a feminist-perspective paper, which looked at green economies as part of a holistic, sustainable economic policy development paradigm. What I heard certainly stimulated me to see the upside to the Global Recession, and to take heart from the Green New Deal economics that is being developed and applied in the USA, and many other administrations around the world at present.

Having made a decision some weeks ago not to attend the SPC held at Silverstream over the weekend, I wistfully set off home on another bus, as many old friends and fellow campaigners headed out for the conference opening dinner, charged up with enthusiasm for Green economic policies after this stimulating and enriching lecture and presentations.

Associated links:
The Encyclopedia of Earth
Friends of the commons See Capitalism 3.0, by Peter Barnes, available as a free download from this site – a guide to reclaiming the commons.


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