Steering Committee

Peter G. Brown, Principal Investigator (McGill)
Peter preferred pic

Peter G. Brown is a Professor at McGill University where he holds appointments at the School of Environment, and the Departments of Geography and Natural Resource Sciences (click here for  website).  He holds a BA from Haverford College; an MA from Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary in the philosophy of religion; and a PhD from Columbia University in philosophy.  His career has concentrated on the practical uses of philosophy to think critically about the goals of society.  Since the 1980s this work has centered on the deterioration of Earth’s life support capacity and the thought systems that facilitate and legitimate this decline.

He is the author of Restoring the Public Trust: A Fresh Vision for Progressive Government in America, and The Commonwealth of Life: Economics for a Flourishing Earth.  He is a co-author of a book on macro-economics and global governance entitled Right Relationship: Building a Whole Earth Economy; and co-edited/authored Water Ethics: Foundational Readings for Students and Professionals. His Ethics for Economics in the Anthropocene is in the Teilhard Series.  He has co-editor/authored Ecological Economics for the Anthropocene: An Emerging Paradigm. He has edited numerous books, written many articles and chapters; and is a frequent speaker. Before coming to McGill he taught at St. John’s College, the University of Maryland (where he founded the Institute for Philosophy and Public Policy, the School of Public Policy, and the School’s Environmental Program), and Princeton University.

He is currently the Principal Investigator of Economics for the Anthropocene: Re-grounding the human/Earth relationship, a partnership between McGill, the University of Vermont, and York University in Toronto.  With a budget of over five million dollars it aims to educate up to 60 PhD’s in the foundations of ecological economics. It offers critical perspectives on the foundations of neo-classical economics, finance, law, governance and ethics; and first hand experiences in responding the pressing issues relating to water, energy, and climate justice.

He is involved in tree farming and conservation efforts in Maryland, Maine, and Quebec–in all three locations his land is under permanent conservation easements (“servitudes”); totally nearly 1000 acres.  He is a Certified Quebec Forest Producer; was named “Tree Farmer of the Year” in Garrett County, Maryland; has served as the “Steward” of Walker Pond in Hancock County, Maine; and helped to found major conservation initiatives in Maryland and Quebec. In 2012 he established a brook trout sanctuary on a threatened stretch of the upper Savage River in the mountains in Maryland, in cooperation with Trout Unlimited and the Maryland Department of Natural Resources.   His property in Quebec contains healthy examples of species at risk such as elm, butternut, and American beech; and offers protection to four rare species of salamanders.

He is a dual Citizen of Canada and the United States; a member of the Religious Society of Friends (Quakers), the Club of Rome, and a Facilitator for the discipline of Ecological Economics for the Harmony with Nature Initiative of the Secretary General of the United Nations.


Jon Erickson (UVM)

Jon ProfileJon Erickson is Professor in the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources and Fellow of the Gund Institute for Ecological Economics at the University of Vermont (UVM). He has published widely on energy & climate change policy, land conservation, watershed planning, environmental public health, and the theory and practice of ecological economics. His books include The Great Experiment in Conservation: Voices from the Adirondack Park (2009), Frontiers in Ecological Economic Theory and Application (2007), Ecological Economics of Sustainable Watershed Management (2007), and Ecological Economics: a Workbook for Problem-Based Learning (2005). Jon is also an Emmy award-winning producer of films such as the four-part PBS series Bloom on sources and solutions to nutrient pollution in Lake Champlain. He was the Managing Director of UVM’s Gund Institute for Ecological Economics from 2009-2012 and is past President of the U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, past editor of the Adirondack Journal of Environmental Studies, and serves on the board or advisory committee of numerous nongovernmental organizations. He has been a Fulbright Scholar at the Sokoine University of Agriculture in Tanzania; Visiting Professor at the University of Iceland, Pontificia Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in the Dominican Republic, and Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra; and was on the economics faculty at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute before joining the University of Vermont in 2002. Jon completed his Ph.D. at Cornell University in Natural Resource Economics in 1997.


Joshua Farley (UVM)

Josh ProfileJoshua Farley is an Ecological Economist who holds degrees in biology, international affairs and economics. Josh Farley is a Professor in the Community Development and Applied Economics department in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at University of Vermont. At the Gund Institute at the University of Vermont, Josh is researching and writing on monetary and fiscal policy for a steady state economy; working on a project on the relationship between bicycles, transportation sustainability, and quality of life; and researching interconnections between agroecology, ecosystem services, economic institutions and human welfare in Brazil’s Atlantic Forest. Past projects include Vermont’s common asset trust, integrating agroecology and payments for ecosystem services in Santa Catarina, Brazil, and Gund Ateliers in Ecological Economics. He has previously served as Program Director at the School for Field Studies, Centre for Rainforest Studies, as the Executive Director of the University of Maryland International Institute for Ecological Economics, and as adjunct faculty and licensed examiner at the University of the West Indies, Cave Hill. Josh served as a visiting professor at the Federal Universities of Santa Catarina (UFSC) and Bahia (UFBA) on a Fulbright Fellowship in Brazil. Josh is co-author with Herman Daly of Ecological Economics, Principles and Applications, 2 ed. Island Press (2010).


Ellie Perkins (York)

ElliePerkins_pictureEllie Perkins is an economist concerned with the relationship between international trade, the environment, and local economies. She is interested in globalization, and how local economies may grow as an antidote to international trade. She also looks at international means of controlling air pollution in the Arctic, and at the metals and minerals resource industries.

Ellie has been involved in ongoing work with the South Riverdale Community Health Centre related to lead pollution in downtown Toronto. At York, she teaches courses in Environmental Economics, Ecological Economics, and Community Economic Development. Ellie often works with students pursuing research themes related to community economic development, trade and the environment, and feminist economics. Ellie is currently editing a book on feminist ecological economics.


Peter Victor (York)

petervictorDr. Peter Victor is an economist who has worked on environmental issues for over 40 years as an academic, consultant and public servant. By extending input-output analysis, he was the first economist to apply the physical law of the conservation of matter to the empirical analysis of a national economy. Dr. Victor was one of the founders of the emerging discipline of ecological economics and was the first President of the Canadian Society for Ecological Economics. His most recent books are Managing without Growth. Slower by Design, not Disaster. (Edward Elgar, 2008) and The Costs of Economic Growth (Edward Elgar, 2013).

Dr. Victor is a Professor in Environmental Studies at York University and from 1996 to 2001 was Dean of the Faculty of Environmental Studies. This followed several years as Assistant Deputy Minister of the Environmental Sciences and Standards Division in the Ontario Ministry of the Environment. Prior to that Dr. Victor was a principal of VHB Consulting and Victor and Burrell Research and Consulting where he undertook many influential policy-related economic studies in Canada and abroad. He has continued to provide technical advice in such areas as air pollution and health, emissions trading, emerging issues and education for sustainable energy development.


Dina Spigelski, Project Manager (McGill)

Dina ProfileDina’s research and teaching focus is in nutrition, foodsystems and Indigenous Peoples. She was Project Coordinator of the “Indigenous Peoples’ Food Systems for Health” program at the Centre for Indigenous Peoples’ Nutrition and Environment (CINE) at McGill University. She co-edited two books that described project results and were published by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the UN (see here and here).

Dina taught in the Department of Human Nutrition at St. Francis Xavier University, where she continued to focus on themes of food / climate justice and foodsystems. Her degrees include Bachelor of Nutritional Sciences (Dietetics) and Master of Nutritional Sciences.


Student Representatives

Alison Adams (UVM), Laura Gilbert (McGill), Caitlin Morgan (UVM), David Mallery (York)