Wednesday, June 15, 2011

What is this blog?

First, who am I? My name is Michael Levy. I am a graduate student at West Virginia University studying the recovery of ecosystem structure and function on reclaimed surface coal mines.

Lately, I have become very interested in ecological economics. Ecological economics is a transdisciplinary endeavor that seeks to put economics in its rightful place as a subsystem of the global ecosystem which contains it. It prioritizes sustainability and justice and recognizes that infinite growth on a finite planet is impossible. It may be the coolest thing I've come across so far.

Thankfully, the University of Vermont offers two ecological economics courses online, for free! The first is Introduction to Ecological Economics. The second is Simulation Modeling. When I first started working on my master's degree, I took a Biogeochemistry course that involved some systems modeling using the software STELLA. At the time I thought that was the coolest thing ever and ran out and bought Donella Meadow's Thinking in Systems. That ecological economics deals with the great moral issues of our time (sustainability, environmental justice, transitioning to a mature human culture) and does so using simulation modeling secures its place as The Coolest Thing Ever.

UVM's online courses include posting writings to a discussion board to get feedback from other students and professors. Since that option isn't available to those of us taking the class for free, I thought I'd post my writings here, to the whole web.

Since you've found yourself reading this, you too much have some interest in ecological economics. I encourage you to explore the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at UVM. Also, please leave comments, questions, and criticisms on my writings at the appropriate post. I am a firm believer in dialectic and would be thrilled to discuss these very interesting and important issues with you here.

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