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ESF Faculty, Students Participate in Ecological Economics Summit

Charles Hall and Valerie Luzadis were Featured Speakers

A team of ESF researchers and graduate students led discussions on biophysical economics during a national ecological economics conference in Vermont.

Systems ecologist Dr. Charles Hall and ESF graduate student Rigoberto Melgar were co-chairs of the fifth annual biophysical economics (BPE) meeting held as part of the Seventh United States Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE) Biennial Ecological Economics Conference. The BPE track of the conference focused on understanding the implications and opportunities presented by the constraints of the biophysical realities of our economy.

The meeting, held at the University of Vermont Gund Institute for Ecological Economics June 9-12, worked to advance practical solutions aimed at transforming the economy for a just and sustainable world. The conference theme was Building Local, Scaling Global: Implementing Solution for Sustainability.

Hall recently retired as a professor in ESF's Department of Environmental and Forest Biology, having taught more than 25 years at the college. As a systems ecologist his interests lie in energy, biophysical economics and the links between energy and society.

Hall helped develop the principle of energy return on investment; he has published seven books and more than 286 scientific journal articles. He has developed courses on systems ecology, ecosystems, global environment and the evolution of human culture, energy systems and biophysical economics. He was recently awarded the SUNY Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Scholarship and Creative Activities.

Melgar has worked closely with Hall for the past two years on projects including writing Spain's Photovoltaic Revolution: The Energy Return on Investment, developing a minor in biophysical and ecological economics, and coordinating the BPE meeting.

Melgar, a May 2013 ESF graduate with a bachelor of science degree in environmental policy, will continue his education at ESF as the first graduate student to enroll in the newly created master of science degree in biophysical and ecological economics graduate program in environmental science, developed by Hall.

Dr. Valerie Luzadis, chair of the environmental studies department and the president of the USSEE also attended the conference. Luzadis' speech focused on Envisioning The Future Of Ecological Economics.

Graduate students Alex Poisson, Stephen Balogh, Carlos Ramirez, Egan Waggoner, Susana del Granado, Jessica Lambert and Whitney Marshall presented their research in biophysical economics at the conference.