Gund Institute & My Summer Project

In January I was privileged enough to be able to join in at the New Green Economy Conference put on in DC. There I met a number of amazing people, many heroes of mine, and joined in some great discussion about the future of our society and economy. The breakout session I attended was led by my friend Rob Dietz at The Center for the Advancement of the Steady State Economy and Jon Erikson, Director of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont.

I talked briefly with Jon about possible education opportunities, and one that he mentioned was the online course available in Intro to Ecological Economics. This course can be taken to earn credits towards their distance learn program or can be taken for free online, to learn more about the topic. Whilst I have done tons of reading and writing on the topic, I have not done anything structured like this course. I also have yet to completely read, cover to cover, Daly & Farley’s landmark textbook Ecological Economics, which is one of the main texts in this online course.

So far this textbook has served as a great reference for me and I have certainly read many portions, but it has been on my list of things to completely read for some time. That being said, I am placing a goal of finishing this online course over the summer. I will be updating the blog as I go along, writing posts on topics and hopefully furthering one of my goals with this blog: teaching myself and others the concepts of the steady state economy.

The Goal

I will complete the Gund Institute’s online Introduction to Ecological Economics over the summer, the next four months, June through September. The course is split into four modules, which means I will need to finish one module a month. Each module has sub modules, around 3-4 each. This gives me an almost weekly goal of reading to complete, videos to watch, and posts to write!

Hopefully I will expand my knowledge a bit, but along the way I hope you’ll gain something as well. I would really like to encourage you to engage me via comments as I explore this course. You can also join in online and do the course yourself – you just need a couple of textbooks, the rest of the content is online.

Reader Survey Feedback & Blog Direction

Thank you to the few of you who responded to my readers survey. It seems most of you like where this blog is going and would like to see medium-sized posts on a more steady frequency. I also heard that apparently I can ramble a little and might be a bit too optimistic – I will work on the rambling, while the optimism you’ll have to live with. 😉

I will also work on worrying less about superior arguments and content to the point of obsession, and instead focus on posting at least 1-2 times a week with good content, news, thoughts, et cetera. This will still give me time to develop the slightly longer, content driven posts. However, this blog is probably going to get a little more laid back and personal in content. Basically, I need to not stress out so much about what I’m posting, it’s starting to actually make me write less.

A few people on the recent reader’s survey thought their knowledge or clout wasn’t sufficient enough to comment on the blog. That’s just silly – I’m not an economist, I’m just another person trying to understand how to create a sustainable society. It just happens that I write about it here, but that doesn’t mean that you don’t have ideas or questions that are worthy of being here either! My largest goal with this blog was to inspire discussion and learning about this topic – so please, comment!!

Thanks again for the feedback, and if you haven’t already you can still fill out that short survey here. If you’re looking for some more discussion about sustainable economics and a post growth society, check out my new side project, a collaborative blog called Post Growth.

7 thoughts on “Gund Institute & My Summer Project”

  1. With regards to the University of Vermont course, are you going through the “public” site? Or are you taking the course credit?

    1. Ryan,

      Yea, just on the public site. I don’t know that I can commit to the credited course schedule, the public site allows me to set my own pace. Plus, I am hoping going through this process on the blog will be enlightening for others who can access the free, “public” site. Are you thinking about doing one of the courses?


  2. The course you mentioned does look interesting. After looking at it I have been thinking of giving it a go as well.

    I was hoping there would be more on distribution. That sub-module seems a bit lacking, and is what I’m most interested in. Though i’m thinking it would be a worthwhile endeavor. I’m hoping it will help inspire some ideas for research questions since I would like to back to school in this field at some point.

    Also, i’m not sure if you’re aware, but the second edition of Daly and Farley’s text will be out shortly. I’m looking forward to that. I’m interested in what has been updated.

    1. Ryan,

      Yea, I have been interested in going back to school at some point as well, likely to study something in this field or related to it. I am sure you could email any of the professors, or Jon Erickson, and ask if they have any recommendations on things to expand that sub-module for you.

      I am excited to see the new edition as well. I understand there will be quite a bit updated and new content (for instance, Brian Czech’s recent post on the Trophic Theory of Money mentioned that the theory will be included in the next edition). Given that it is, really, the only textbook out there on the subject right now and it is only in its second edition, there should be quite a lot of new and updated material. I don’t know if I will be jumping on the $75 price tag right away, but I will likely pick it up after I have completed the first edition to pursue the content.

      Thanks for commenting!


  3. I just thought I would note that for some reason, on the Canadian Amazon site, that book is ~$25 cheaper. I know the Canadian currency is appreciating against the Dollar, but that still doesn’t explain the price differential.

    Just thought you may want to know.

    [] CAN$52.89

    [] US$73.13

    1. Ryan,

      Thanks! I don’t know if Amazon will let me get away with it, but given that the US and Canadian dollars are pretty close right now, that’s a 33% savings if I can get it. Of course, it’s only available for pre-order now – we’ll see what happens when it’s released.


  4. As you might have noticed, this didn’t happen this summer. It is still a goal of mine to complete this course and blog about it, yet this was not the time. Soon, I hope.


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