Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crisis

ISEE 2010: “Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crisis” 22 – 25 August 2010   Oldenburg and Bremen, Germany


Conference Theme

Ecological systems and their services to humans have been exposed to stress, exploitation and destruction for decades. Biodiversity is being lost at an almost unprecedented pace. Climate change will bring about rapid and unpredictable changes in the earth's entire biophysical system. There are thus massive indications of a crisis of ecosystems caused by human activity. In 2008 the global financial system collapsed and pushed many economies towards crisis. A deregulated banking sector acted outside the boundaries of safe and trustworthy operations resulting in a collapse of confidence in economic institutions not seen since the 1930s. Economic breakdowns in many countries have already generated dramatic social problems adding to existing poverty, hunger and inequality.

But times of crisis are also times of opportunity. The financial meltdown has led to a renaissance in public responsibility and an avalanche of stimulus packages that stand against the neo-liberal creed of minimal government. While many of these measures follow conventional lines of unsustainable economic practices, there is a growing awareness for the need for active public policies to create more sustainable economic structures and processes to combat both economic and ecological crises. Green recovery, a global Green New Deal, and a green energy revolution are catch phrases that now find their way into governance and policy making processes.

In 2010 the United Nation's Millennium Development goals will be a decade old and there will only be five years left to achieve them. Meeting their challenge requires bold and concerted action on global, national and local levels and across societal groups and organisations in the global North and the South. With the entirety of closely connected social, health, economic and ecological goals the Millennium Development Goals guide an integrated approach to development and human well-being that goes beyond the usual polarisation between development and environmental goals.

In this situation, ecological economics is poised to play a leading role in addressing these global challenges. The rapidly changing patterns of economic, political, and economic systems necessitate integrated and innovative analyses, ideas, concepts and solutions. Ecological economics seems well prepared for this call as a field that has pioneered in integrating ecological and social concerns into economic analyses and practical solutions. It has united scientists, practitioners and decision makers from various disciplinary backgrounds in innovative and participatory research and decision-making processes. In particular, ecological economists have argued strongly against concepts of neo-liberalism and unregulated financial systems. They developed novel approaches to understand economic processes as inextricably linked and dependent on ecological support systems as well as the social institutions in which they are embedded. The field has a long tradition in finding solutions to practical as well as conceptual problems of social well-being, economic development and ecological sustainability.

Since the last ISEE conference held in Europe in 1994, the community has come a long way and evolved tremendously. From the early dichotomy between environmental economics and ecological economics, more dialogue and collaboration between the fields has emerged to address problems of sustainability. Overlapping research interests now common to both ecological and environmental economics include integrated modelling, agent-based modelling, valuation of ecosystem services, market based policy instruments, multi-criteria evaluation, and the economics of adapting to environmental change. The size the climate change challenge and dire state of the earth's ecosystems necessitate further exchange and cooperation to gain a unified voice in the political domain. The 2010 ISEE conference will emphasize this exchange and debate.

Since the early days, ecological economics has always been a field of methodological diversity, transdisciplinary work, and it has now significantly developed its standards for scientific rigour as well as its social and policy relevance. It has been driven by ideas of fairness and justice among humans and between humans and the natural world. This thematic scope reaches out to a great variety of related disciplines such as conventional economics and ecology, political science, sociology, management, biology, physics and engineering. The necessary cross-disciplinary collaboration requires bridging concepts between research and society in a solutions-oriented manner. While, on the one hand, the field has grown stronger in its analytical understanding of the interactions between humans and the ecosystems in which they live, the link to governance questions and practical application has become ever more challenging and urgent. This point of interconnections between the various disciplines of ecological economics and the systems of environmental governance and practice will therefore form one central focus of the 2010 conference.

We particularly invite contributions to the conference that address the following main themes:

  • Climate Change — causes, impacts, mitigation, adaptation, and policy options
  • Energy — renewable energy, energy flows, peak oil, green stimulus policies, energy and entropy, alternative energy and energy distribution technology
  • Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services — valuation issues and policy integration
  • Land Use — including coastal zone management, water issues, ecosystem restoration, bioregionalism
  • Ecology — complex systems, economy-ecology modeling, theoretical ecology
  • Dematerialization and De-Growth — industrial ecology, eco-efficiency, sustainable consumption and production
  • Sustainable Development –– environment and industrial development, inequalities between rich and poor, indigenous rights and wisdoms, environmental colonialism and debt, environmental GDP of the poor, sustainability and self-actualization
  • Environmental Ethics and Values — norms, ethical concepts, environmental values and decision-making
  • Governance and Public Policy — green macroeconomics, recapturing the public space in an age of neo-liberalism, Green New Deal, green recovery, politics and public participation in decision making
  • Knowledge and social learning — knowledge systems, dynamics and mechanisms of social learning and change in economic and policy processes
  • Green Business — corporate social responsibility, ecological economics of the firm, industrial ecology, trade and taxation, incentives and entrepreneurship
  • Heterodox Economics — opportunities after the crisis for institutional, evolutionary, post-Keynesian, post-autistic economics, synergies with ecological economics
  • Transdisciplinarity — post normal science, sustainability science, transdisciplinary research designs, participatory methods, methodological and theoretical challenges
  • Teaching Ecological Economics — curriculum development, practical experiences, learning as sustainability

Abstract Submission

There will be five tracks for abstract submissions:

  1. Long presentation (approx. 15 min. presentation on the basis of a full paper)
  2. Short presentation (approx. 5 min. presentation within a discussion session)
  3. Poster presentation
  4. Special sessions (on the basis of full papers with up to four 15 min. presentations organised by a session chair)
  5. Discussion sessions (thematically focused session with about four short presentations organised by a session chair).

All of them require an online abstract submission of max. 400 words via the conference website at: Online submission will be open starting 15 September 2009. Deadline is 31 October 2009.

Submissions will be reviewed by an international review panel before being accepted.

For full paper presentations, the paper has to be submitted no later than 1 July 2010. Full papers can also be submitted before 31 October 2009. Session proposals must include an abstract introducing the rationale of the session, the name of the session chair(s), and the abstracts of the individual contributions (can be submitted individually if relevance to the session is mentioned). Alternative innovative formats are welcome in coordination with the conference organisers.

Conference organisers are undertaking all efforts to ensure funding to reimburse travel costs and participation fees of presenters coming from non-OECD countries and of young researchers.

Conference Website

Conference Venue

The 11th ISEE Conference will be organised in the adjacent cities of Oldenburg and Bremen in Northwestern Germany. Both hosts, Bremen and Oldenburg University have a strong record in ecological economic research and teaching and are centres of interdisciplinary environmental and sustainability research with a strong focus on social science and economic dimensions of sustainability problems.

The conference will have different formats including full plenaries for all participants, semi-plenaries with keynote speeches held in parallel and different formats of parallel sessions, including a discussion session for innovative ideas or short project outlines. In addition, a poster session will be organised with short presentations of poster presenters.

Prior to the conference, a number of pre-conference events like workshops, regional chapter meetings, book authors meetings and alike will be scheduled on Friday and Saturday 20 -21 August 2010. The official conference will start on Sunday 22 August in the afternoon with an inauguration ceremony and a reception. It will continue with the scientific sessions on Monday to Wednesday (23 -- 25 August 2010). The conference dinner is scheduled for 24 August 2010 to be held in Bremen.

Executive Committee

  • Professor Klaus Eisenack, Oldenburg University
  • Dr. Katharine Farrell, Autonomous University of Barcelona
  • Professor Michael Flitner, Bremen University
  • Professor John Gowdy, Rennselear Polytechnic Institute, ISEE
President elect
  • Dr. Pushpam Kumar, University of Liverpool
  • Dr. Felix Rauschmayer, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research
  • Professor Peter May, Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro
ISEE President
  • Dr. Inge Røpke, Technical University of Denmark
  • Professor Bernd Siebenhüner, Oldenburg University (Chair)

Partners & Sponsors (preliminary)

  • European Society for Ecological Economics (ESEE)
  • Earth System Governance Project, a Core Project of the International Human Dimensions Programme on Global Environmental Change (IHDP)
  • German Association for Ecological-Economic Research (Vereinigung für ökologische Wirtschaftsforschung, VÖW)
  • German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD)
  • German Association for Ecological Economics (Vereinigung für Ökologische Ökonomie, VÖÖ)
  • German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF)
  • The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) Programme

Prof. Dr. Bernd Siebenhuener
Ecological Economics
School of Computing Science, Business Administration, Economics and Law Carl von Ossietzky University of Oldenburg
26111 Oldenburg

phone: ++49/441/798-4366
fax: ++49/441/798-4379

This entry was posted in ISEE and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Advancing Sustainability in a Time of Crisis

  1. Hey, I found your blog in a new directory of blogs. I dont know how your blog came up, must have been a typo, anyway cool blog, I bookmarked you. :)

  2. I’m so glad I found this site…Keep up the good work I read a lot of blogs on a daily basis and for the most part, people lack substance but, I just wanted to make a quick comment to say GREAT blog. Thanks,

    A definite great read…:)


Comments are closed.