In an age where our Earth limits are increasingly perceptible, how can our economic systems take them into account? By recognizing the need to redefine ecological and social justice, this conference aims to highlight the current ecological and social challenges, the different visions and tools that fuel change, as well as paths to be undertaken to transform our economic system.
One of the main objectives of ecological economics is to re-center economies within the ecological limits of the Earth. This conference invites you to discuss the state of these limits, the capacity of our planet to support our economic activities, and the ecological challenges specific to the Anthropocene. The subjects suggested for this theme are: the study of planetary boundaries, the study of socio-ecological metabolism, material flow analysis, case studies on the effects of anthropogenic activities, and on multiple scales, among others. The objective of this theme is to better understand the ecological challenges of the Anthropocene.
Our second theme will be devoted to identifying the social challenges and crises that are deeply linked with the ecological challenges of the Anthropocene. Suggested topics include the effects of economic inequality, the study of socio-ecological conflicts, environmental racism and climate injustice, neo-colonialism and the impacts of extractivism on Indigenous peoples and other marginalized communities, among others. We want to explore the relationship between ecological and social crises to identify the structural causes that characterize them.
Thirdly, this conference aims to present the movements, visions and discourses that help us imagine the alternative and sustainable future. We invite participants to share case studies on existing alternatives in Canada and around the world. We also want to look at the innovative visions of a just and environmentally sustainable future. Moreover, this theme allows us to question how different epistemology and knowledge offer different approaches, observations and directions on the type of socio-ecological relationships we want. Finally, we invite you to reflect on the role of ecological economists (and the discipline) in redefining relationships between people and the environment.
In its aim to re-embed the global socio-economic system within its biophysical boundaries, the field of ecological economics has yet to develop a common vision of the critical role played by money and finance. Massive and potentially atypical investments are needed for the transition. At the same time, the financial sector’s inherent tendency to emancipate itself from economic, social and environmental dimensions, is increasing systemic fragility. These challenges are addressed through various and often divergent perspectives, from the evolution of financial regulation and monetary and fiscal policies to a revolution in the very nature of money. While a common ground is yet to be found, the current crises call for an urgent transformation of our relationship with money, finance and debt as we enter an age of rampant uncertainty and weak substitutability.
Finally, the conference will also be devoted to mapping our proposals on how to create change. How, in practice, can we emerge from the socio-ecological crises we are going through and how can we imagine the economic revolution we need? Suggested topics for this session are: theories of change, socio-ecological transformations, critical transformation studies, transition management, engagement with social movements, among others. We still have a long way to go. We invite conference participants to think collectively about our role as academics in a process of transformation: do we want to become agents of change? If so, how can we be more strategic in our work and collaborations to maximize our impact.