2018 Mexico 15th Conference

15th Conference of the
International Society for Ecological Economics

10, 11 and 12 September 2018, Puebla, Mexico

A bi-lingual conference

Ecological Economics and Socio-ecological Movements:
Science, policy, and challenges to global processes in a troubled world

The Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana – Unidad Xochimilco
and the Benemérita Universidad

Autónoma de Puebla, in collaboration with the
Sociedad Mesoamericana y del Caribe de Economía Ecológica


For more than a quarter century since the ISEE was founded the international community has developed a substantial corpus of law and agreements that recognize our collective responsibility to attend to our serious global environmental problems while recognizing the extraordinary diversity of societies in our midst. Our colleagues are engaged in significant efforts to identify and understand the underlying obstacles to implementing effective policies that address the limitations of existing institutions while also searching for new approaches to overcome these problems.

In this vein, we have identified a number of important international issues that Ecological Economists are examining as part of our collective effort. Five problems of particular importance identified by our colleagues are:

  1. International capital movements to control natural endowments and social groups (land, water, and energy grabbing; biopiracy; ecologically unequal trade).
  2. International migration in response to extreme differences among regions and peoples.
  3. Continuing excessive emissions of greenhouse gases at world level in spite of international efforts to reverse the historical trend, combined with remarkable changes in the energy matrix of some countries.
  4. Concentration of wealth, income and appropriation of environmental endowments that give rise to conflicts over distribution and provoke “resistance” movements.
  5. Threats to biodiversity and the ability of the planet to sustain its natural processes.

While this list is not exhaustive, a considerable number of members of the ISEE are engaged in research on these matters. The lack of flexibility of existing institutions in most countries and the capture of many international organizations by entrenched interests (selling uncritical notions of ecological modernization, “sustainable development”, the “circular economy”) are generating complex obstacles for people searching for solutions to clearly identified problems; social and political conflict is intensifying around the world. At the same time, we are discovering that peoples around the world are adopting alternative ways to organize themselves, forging new models of “good living”, oftentimes choosing to live at the margins of their societies rather than open themselves to outside environmental and economic exploitation, and to internal and external colonialism. Ecological economists are discovering that these peoples have much to teach us about possible alternative paths to addressing the challenges. In the terminology of Karl Polanyi, they refuse to be incorporated into the “generalized market system”. Mexico is one of the countries of the world where such social experiments are influential and widespread.

The 2018 ISEE conference especially encourages colleagues examining the problems facing the international community to explore solutions with others engaged in strengthening socio-ecological grassroots organizations. By focusing on interactions among these different communities, we hope to contribute to advancing our understanding of today’s pressing problems, while exploring solutions offered by people outside the traditional circles of influence. In academic terms, we search at the same time for a cross-fertilization between ecological economics and political ecology, political economy, ethnoecology, agroecology, climate sciences as well as material and energy systems.

Within this frame of reference, we invite participants to consider organizing their contributions to the discussion within the following general themes:

  1. How does transdisciplinarity respond to different socio-ecological contexts?: Integrating diverse fields of inquiry.
  2. Ecological Economics as a paradigm to support grassroots alternatives: agroecology, solidarity economies, and markets, alternative currencies, workers’ control, among others.
  3. Imagining future societies: What do alternative models of “good living” mean?
  4. Feeding 9 billion humans: Food security or food sovereignty?; rural-urban transitions.
  5. Social metabolism: evolving relations between society and the planet.
  6. Globally diverse inequities: social and environmental conflicts; environmental and climate justice; ecological debt; gender; indigenous rights; appropriation of means of livelihood.
  7. Ecological macro-economics: prosperity without growth; degrowth.
  8. The economy of care and eco-feminist economics.
  9. Ecosystem services, valuation languages, tools of measurement and policy instruments; legal and social processes; multi-criteria analysis.
  10. Energy transitions, climate analysis and policies.
  11. Global and regional sustainability and commerce: finance, trade policy.
  12. Education for sustainability: curricula, methods and popular education.
  13. Participations in Spanish in any of the themes mentioned above.

Please apply online: from January 15th until April 15th, 2018, by registering and submitting an abstract of no more than 250 words that includes objective, methods and results. Abstracts can be submitted in English or in Spanish (ver Convocatoria en Español para más detalles). You will receive a response no later than May 11, 2018.

A three-day Workshop from September 7th to 9th will be organized prior to the International Conference as a separate activity to discuss basic principles in Ecological Economics and related disciplines. It will be held in a nearby rural community; this activity will include direct exchanges with peasant and indigenous communities involved in consolidating alternative social models. Additionally, a number of optional one-day post congress tours will be offered to establish contact with peasant and indigenous communities that have reorganized to enrich and diversify their collective lives and
protect their ecosystems; these activities will be hosted by the communities themselves with possibilities for translation in English. These reorganization processes become political, social, cultural and, of course, economic strategies; through them, they rescue their historical memory, they discard, adopt, and reinvent the ways in which they see the world and assert their ability to govern themselves. They include various examples encompassing agroecology, forestry, small-scale industry, cultural heritage, and political mobilization in the face of domestic developmental policies that are promoting the expansion of transnational capital. If there is interest and “demand”, there is the possibility of arranging longer visits that are further afield or offer the possibility of a deeper understanding of the process and/or a post-Congress vacation. These trips provide a window for introducing the participants to Peoples trying to improve their quality of life and defend their ecosystems. Although each of the options differ among themselves, they all are communitarian efforts to transform their societies while strengthening their cultures on the margins of the nation-state of which they are part.

For inquiries, please write us at


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