- MDEQ leader Dan Wyant: A year of water for Michigan
"The governor is focused on energy and the environment," Wyant says. "This is really going to be a year that we're going to do a lot of work on water, on land issues, on natural resources that are so valuable to Michigan."
- The Great Lakes State thrives under DNR Director Keith Creagh
"The governor's budget really put natural resources front and center," Creagh says. Governor Snyder proposed funds for emergency dredging of the Great Lakes, he says, which will make sure boaters can travel safely and that the industry and economy are protected.
- MSU Sustainability Report: Spartans work to grow greener each year
The Energy Transition Plan sets important goals for MSU's future, Battle says, but significant progress has already been made. Greenhouse gas emissions have been reduced by about 14 percent and geothermal energy is now heating and cooling the new Bott Building for Nursing Education and Research, she says.
- 2012 Michigan Green Chemistry and Engineering Conference
Driving Sustainable Manufacturing October 26, 2012 Wayne State University, Detroit
- Sometimes the carrot motivates better than the stick - Michigan's Clean Corporate Citizens
Environmental law is more than forcing companies to behave responsibly. There are also incentives that provide benefits for those who go above and beyond mere compliance. Michigan's Clean Corporate Citizen program is an example of such a program.
Jon D. Erickson: Ecological economists seek quality of life over quantity
- Jon D. Erickson talks with Kirk Heinze on WJR
“Ecological economics has a different vision of the economy than traditional economics,” Erickson says. “We fundamentally feel like the economy is supported, sustained and contained by ecosystems.
“We see a healthy economy and a healthy ecosystem going hand in hand; you can’t have one without the other.”
Erickson says there’s a real lack of a connection between the health and wealth of the economy and the maintenance of the ecosystem in traditional economics.
“Economics as it’s taught in many places is really devoid of a sense that there’s an environment that we extract resources and inputs and energy from and there’s an environment that we put waste back in to.
“It really is taught in most programs that economics is a system in and of itself, and if the environment is anywhere it’s simply a sector of the economy. We really try to turn that on its head,” says Erickson.
The traditional approach to the economics of the environment is really focused on efficiency – how do we efficiently manage the resource that we’re extracting and using in the economy, according to Erickson.
“Ecological economics certainly pays attention to efficiency, but it’s really a third-tier goal,” says Erickson. “We first and foremost want to look at the sustainable scale and size of the economy relative to the sustaining and containing ecosystem.”
A second goal of ecological economics is the equity question: who shares in the benefits and burdens of economic cooperation, says Erickson.
Ecological economics embraces a trans-disciplinary approach to problem solving.
“It’s a blurring of the lines between disciplines,” says Erickson. “We feel like that at universities there are disciplines, but in the world there are problems. And the problems don’t fit neatly in these boxes we’ve created on campuses.
“We’re really trying to, more than anything else, engage in a conversation about the problems and to let the problems define the disciplinary perspective that we need to solve them, not the other way around.”
The USSEE’s biennial conference highlighting the latest research and education initiatives in ecological economics will bring together an interdisciplinary group of academics and practitioners to analyze society’s most pressing social and environmental problems and design solutions for a sustainable future.
The conference will be held at MSU June 26 – 29, 2011.
Click on the arrow above to hear Erickson’s October 22 Greening of the Great Lakes conversation with Kirk Heinze. Greening of the Great Lakes airs every Friday evening at 7 on News/Talk 760 WJR.
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