Brian Czech, Executive Director of CASSE

Brian Czech, Executive Director

Brian Czech is the founding president of CASSE (2003), and signed on as executive director in 2017. Czech served as the first conservation biologist in the history of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service from 1999-2017, and concurrently as a visiting professor of natural resource economics in Virginia Tech’s National Capitol Region. He is the author of several books including Supply ShockShoveling Fuel for a Runaway Train, and The Endangered Species Act: History, Conservation Biology, and Public Policy, as well as over 50 academic journal articles. His primary contributions to ecological economics pertain to the trophic theory of money, the process of technological progress, and the political “steady state revolution.” Czech is a frequent speaker, moderator, commentator, and regular contributor to the Steady State Herald. He has a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin, an M.S. from the University of Washington, and a Ph.D. from the University of Arizona. Brian has been designated an “eco-champion” by Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, an “eco-hero” by Ecohearth, and one of the “top 100 inspirational leaders” by the Post-Growth Institute. Contact Brian.

Greg Mikkelson, Ecological Economist

Greg Mikkelson has lectured and published in fields ranging from ecological science to philosophy of science, environmental ethics, and finally ecological economics.  He served as a tenured professor of environmental studies until his university’s board defied an overwhelming campus mandate for divestment from fossil fuel.  Recent work concerns the intrinsic and instrumental value of diversity and equality in nature and society, the fundamental conflict between economic growth and ecological health, and the roles that various types of organization have to play in making progress toward a better future.  Greg holds a B.A. in International Affairs from Trinity University, an M.S. in Ecology and Evolution from the University of Chicago, and a Ph.D. in Conceptual Foundations of Science, also from Chicago.  His natural habitats include woods in two ecoregions – the Upper Midwest forest-savanna transition and the New England-Acadian forest – and a city in a third, the Eastern Great Lakes lowland forests. Contact Greg.

Gary Gardner, Managing Editor

Gary Gardner is an editor, writer, and researcher on global sustainability issues. He joined CASSE as the Managing Editor in January 2023. For more than two decades, he authored short- and long-form pieces on sustainability challenges at the Worldwatch Institute and at GreenFaith, and served as an editor at the International Council on Clean Transportation. Gary has authored several books, including The Earth Cries Out. He has spoken at global conferences hosted by institutions ranging from the United Nations to the Vatican. An aficionado of language and cultures, Gary speaks Spanish, reads French, and loves exploring diverse cultures. Contact Gary.

Daniel Wortel-London, Policy Specialist

Daniel Wortel-London is CASSE’s new Policy Specialist. He has served as Knowledge Co-Lead for the Wellbeing Economy Alliance and Research Coordinator for the Civworld project at Demos. He earned his Ph.D. in History from New York University, where he wrote numerous articles along with his
dissertation, retitled “The Menace of Prosperity” for publication by the University of Chicago Press. A native of Hoboken, New Jersey, Dan will be working out of West Orange, NJ, with periodic policy work in Washington, DC. Twitter handle: @dlondonwortel. Contact Daniel.

Dave Rollo, Policy Specialist

Dave has a B.S. in Biology from Michigan State University and an M.A. in Plant Sciences from Indiana University.  He conducted laboratory research in molecular biology for 20 years.  He has served in the Bloomington, Indiana city government for nearly 30 years, first on the Environmental Commission (1995-2003) and then as elected representative to the City Council (2003-present).  As city councilperson, Dave initiated numerous sustainability policies, including the creation of a City Sustainability Commission, a task force to report on global energy depletion and its effect on the local community (2008), and a biking task force (2011). Dave has long been an advocate for a steady state economy at the local level and has included principles of an SSE within the City’s guiding documents, such as Bloomington’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan.   He left laboratory science in 2011 to work on a joint organic farming venture which he co-owned and operated as farm manager.   Contact Dave

Julia Epstein, Executive Assistant

Julia Epstein joined CASSE as an Executive Assistant in May 2023. She is a graduate of the University of Vermont and has a bachelor’s degree in Psychological Sciences with minors in Sociology and French. Julia served as Clinical Coordinator at an outpatient mental health clinic in Northern Virginia, assisting with administrative, clinical, and accounting tasks. She especially enjoyed connecting patients to appropriate community resources, answering programming questions, and offering on-demand phone support. In this work, Julia recognized that the threat of an unsustainable future causes some people to feel fear and malaise. She is excited to be a part of an organization that promotes a sustainable future, harmony between the economy and the environment, and the well-being of all people. A native of Walnut Creek, California, Julia will be working out of CASSE’s office in Arlington. Contact Julia.

In Memoriam

Herman Daly, Economist Emeritus

Herman Daly, 1938-2022, was (and is posthumously) the unquestioned champion of steady-state economics.  Throughout his career, Daly swam courageously upstream in the river of political economy. Not content to bequeath his brilliance solely to the academic realm, he spent seven years as a senior economist at the World Bank for policy reform in the real world.  He also wrote books popular with concerned, serious citizens around the world, including For the Common Good (with John Cobb) and Beyond Growth. His textbook, Ecological Economics: Principles and Applications remains the gold standard for steady-state economics.

Daly served as the Economist Emeritus (an unpaid, advisory role) at CASSE from 2017 until his passing in 2022.