Posts


True Conservation: A 21st Century Vision for the Next Director of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

by Brian Czech

The 21st century challenges to wildlife conservation are unprecedented. The ecological integrity of the nation and planet is unravelling before our eyes. Species and ecosystems are disappearing, if not immediately off the face of the planet, then via slow, dead-end emigrations as they respond to climate change.

It’s not as if climate change was needed to imperil fish and wildlife. Climate change is actually the fourth major crisis in the past 150 years.


A Place for a Steady State in the EU Green Deal

by Adel Ramdani

The European Green Deal, the EU’s flagship environmental program, aims to profoundly transform the EU’s 27 member states into low-carbon economies. The deal was rolled out in December 2019 by Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. It’s supposed to be a roadmap toward a “fair and prosperous society” with an economy that is modern, resource-efficient, and competitive. So far, so good? Let’s take a deeper dive.


Resisting the Temptation of Growth at the County Level

by Daniel Giles

Across the USA, a battle for the souls of rural counties is being waged. The battle is fought not in major news outlets, but in local government meetings and the opinion columns of local newspapers. Despite the lack of national coverage, the cumulative outcome of these localized conflicts will change the American landscape for generations to come.

This monumental battle is between those fighting for growth—or “development” as some use interchangeably—and those who strive to conserve the current character of counties.


The New Herman Daly Bio: Confusion at a Critical Juncture and Other Missteps

by Brian Czech

No one in the sustainability business deserves a biography more than Herman Daly. But then, as a literary Clint Eastwood might say, “Deserve’s got nothin’ to do with it.” If a biography needs to be shot out of the saddle—or shot down a peg at least—so be it. Remember, it’s not the fault of the biographee.

Let me shoot straight to the bottom line, then. If you want to know about Herman Daly’s economics for a full world—and you should want to—read Daly’s books and articles.[1] If you want to know about Daly’s childhood days,


Re-Framing the Debate: It’s the (Steady State) Economy, Stupid

by Brian Czech

May I offer you a pet peeve to chew on? I’m willing to share one for our mutual displeasure.

Here it is: Being told by academics and activists—nary a political expert among them—that “it doesn’t matter what you call it, as long as we’re all after the same thing.” With the possible exception of Donald Trump’s lips, nothing could be further from the truth. If common sense doesn’t suffice to illuminate the importance of name recognition,


CO2 Emissions: Accounting for Accountability

by Taylor Lange

In my very first graduate statistics course, the professor often cautioned us about data collection: “Garbage in, Garbage out.” What she said, in no uncertain terms, was that mistakes in the measurement or methodology would invalidate our statistical analyses. I’ve consistently reminded myself of this mantra. My colleagues, students, and I double check the sources and methodology behind any data we’re testing. If we aren’t entirely confident in the integrity of the data,


Reduce, Reuse, Rethink: The Problem of Recycling

by Ted Atwood

I was born in the year 2000. Thus, for my entire life, human-caused climate change has been an ever-present, intensifying threat. Throughout my early education, I learned that we all just needed to “do our part” to combat climate change. “Do your part” lessons always culminated in the sentiment that you too could save the cute polar bears by following the motto “reduce, reuse, recycle,” and these were words I took to heart.


Old White Men: Protecting the Rim for Steady-State Diversity

by Brian Czech

I’m an old guy. Not ancient, perhaps, but my 61-year old knees alone would put me in the lower decile of…let’s say freshness. Why, my best days are so far back, you’d need a rearview mirror from the Giant Magellan Telescope to spot one!

As if that weren’t bad enough, I’m a white guy. I might feel black and blue sometimes from fighting the forces of GDP growth,


Wellbeing, Happiness, and GDP Growth: Rhetoric vs. Reality

By James MacGregor Palmer

Several movements are working in opposition to the destructive growth economy of the 21st century. The labels adopted by these movements are largely tied to the regions in which they originated and/or became popular. For example, the term “steady state” is most prevalent in the USA, while “degrowth” is often associated with continental Europe. The widespread term throughout the UK, however, is “wellbeing economy.”

Without prior knowledge of the UK term,


If It’s Profitable, Is It Really Sustainable?

By Gunnar Rundgren

That an economic activity has to be profitable is considered a truism, something taken for granted and not reflected upon. But what if the opposite is the case?

When I first took up small-scale organic farming in the 1970s, I spent a lot of energy on developing new methods and machinery to increase my productive efficiency. The early organic advocates went a long way to assure growers, farmers,