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an introduction to ecological economics

We will discuss what we mean by ‘the economy’ and why bringing an ecological perspective to the study of ‘the economy’ is critical to addressing the global ecological crisis. This will include a brief overview of the history of the field, the tools,  and concepts used by ecological economists and policy makers, as well as how we as a community can apply these concepts to our local economic initiatives. Scroll down for resources to learn more about this before or after the session.


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Shaun Sellers is a PhD student in the Leadership for the Ecozoic program (L4E) at McGill University, She has a MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA (Hons) in Business Management from Antioch University. She has worked in sustainability consulting with small businesses and non-profit organizations in Ontario, and has started her own businesses: a fair trade & organic chocolate company in Maple Leaf, Ontario, and before that, a second-hand bookstore cafe in Puerto Viejo, Costa Rica. Her master’s thesis explored power structures, institutions, and philosophy relevant to envisioning trade policy through an ecological lens, and her current research is in social ecological trade theory. She likes books, her dog, and being in the woods.



recommended reading:

these links will take you to a pdf page where you may download content or read online

a history of the field:

entropy and thermodynamics:

planetary boundaries (this has a good 1 page overview and then a much longer deep dive):


a guide to multi-criteria analysis:

complex systems theory:

steady state economy:

beyond economic growth:


recommended watching:

doughnut economics with Kate Raworth: watch now

a much longer talk on doughnut economics by Kate Raworth: watch now

planetary boundaries: watch now

exploring ecological economics (series 1-6) on youtube: watch now

recommended listening:

ecological amnesia with Winona LaDuke: listen now

remembering Patrick Lane: listen now

podcast episode on 'the invention of the economy': listen now

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