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Environmental and Natural Resources Law

2012-13 Fireside Conversation Series

2012-13 Fireside Conversation Series

“Cities, Economic Development and Sustainability”
Joan Fitzgerald, Director of Law and Public Policy Program, Northeastern University
October 10, 2012, Room 141, 5:00 p.m.
Knight Law Center, University of Oregon School of Law

In Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development (Oxford, 2010), Joan Fitzgerald argued that the key to urban climate change planning in the U.S. was to connect it to local economic development strategies. She examined opportunities in green building, energy efficiency, renewable energy, transportation and waste management. Almost three years later, the promise of green jobs has been a disappointment. Were the numbers exaggerated? Was our policy wrong? Or does real green growth potential exist? Fitzgerald examines these questions and reports on places and sectors where green economic development is real.

Sponsored by:

About the Speaker:
Professor Joan Fitzgerald, Director of Law and Public Policy Program at Northeastern University, is the author of Emerald Cities: Urban Sustainability and Economic Development (Oxford Univ. Press, 2010), which examines how U.S. and Western European cities are addressing the interrelated issues of global warming, energy dependence and opportunities for green economic development. Emerald Cities builds on her co-authored 2002 economic development book, Economic Revitalization: Strategies and Cases for City and Suburb which examines how traditional economic development strategies can be used to promote more sustainable and equitable development.

 

“Achieving Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries for the Sake of Humanity”
September 26, Room 141, 5:00 p.m.
UO Knight Law Center
Erik Assadourian, Senior Fellow at Worldwatch Institute

Current high levels of economic consumption, which occur mostly within industrialized countries and among consumer elites in developing countries, are putting unbearable strain on Earth’s systems. Humanity needs to reduce its economy by at least a third, based on the Global Footprint Network’s estimate that we currently use 1.5 Earths’ worth of ecological capacity. But this need for degrowth comes at a time when the poorest one-third of humanity still needs to considerably increase its consumption to achieve a decent quality of life. Degrowth must target overconsuming societies with the hope of achieving more equitable distribution of socioeconomic benefits to disadvantaged communities and countries, as well as reducing total economic throughput within the capacity of a strained Earth system. Assadourian will discuss how degrowth can be achieved through policies to: discourage overconsumption, raise taxes, shorten work hours, and “informalize” certain sectors of the economy.

Sponsored by:

About the Speaker:
Erik Assadourian is a Senior Fellow at Worldwatch Institute where he has studied cultural change, consumerism, degrowth, ecological ethics, corporate responsibility, and sustainable communities, over the past 10 years. Erik is co-directs State of the World 2012: Moving Toward Sustainable Prosperity and wrote “The Path to Degrowth in Overdeveloped Countries” for the report. Erik continues to direct the Transforming Cultures project, which explores innovative new ways to intentionally and proactively transform cultural norms so that living sustainably feels as natural as living as a consumer feels today.Most recently he developed an eco-educational scenario for the popular board game The Settlers of Catan, called Catan: Oil Springs—where players wrestle with the limits to growth as they develop their settlements and cities. He is currently co-directing State of the World 2013: Is Sustainability Still Possible, which looks at what true sustainability means, how we get there, or if it’s no longer possible how to prepare for the coming system transition.


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