By McGill Reporter Staff
The U.S. Society for Ecological Economics selected McGill professor Peter Brown as the 2017 recipient of its Herman Daly Award for outstanding contributions to ecological economics and sustainable development. Ecological economics takes the view that our economy exists in the natural world, and that the natural world is finite.
Prof. Brown received the award for creating the program called “Economics for the Anthropocene: Re-grounding the human/Earth relationship,” a SSHRC-funded partnership between McGill, the University of Vermont and York University. The term “anthropocene”—from anthropo, for “man,” and cene, for “new”—refers to lasting impacts caused by human intervention, including mass extinctions of plants and animals, pollution of the oceans and changes to the atmosphere.
Brown holds appointments at the McGill School of Environment, and the Departments of Geography and Natural Resource Sciences. He is the Principal Investigator of “Economics for the Anthropocene,” which aims to educate up to 60 PhD candidates in the foundations of ecological economics. The program offers critical perspectives on the foundations of neo-classical economics, finance, law, governance and ethics, and firsthand experiences in responding the pressing issues relating to water, energy, and climate justice.
Jonathan M. Harris, President of U.S. Society for Ecological Economics (USSEE), had this to say about Brown:
“As a teacher he has inspired many students, at University of Maryland, at McGill, and all over the world through his writings. Peter has been an entrepreneur in founding university programs that embrace and encourage ecological economics, most notably and recently the Economics for the Anthropocene. And in his spare time, in addition to nurturing students and protecting colleagues, he has planted many thousands of trees!”
Indeed, Brown is active in tree farming and conservation efforts on almost 1,000 acres of permanent conservation easements in Maryland, Maine and Quebec. His property in Quebec, for example, contains healthy examples of such at-risk species as elm, butternut, and American beech, and offers protection to four rare species of salamanders.
Brown received the Herman Daly Award at the USSEE’s ninth annual conference, held at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, from June 25-28, 2017. The award is based on nominations by members of the Society.
The Herman Daly Award was established in 2003 to honor the one of the pioneers of American ecological economics; Daly is emeritus professor at the School of Public Policy of University of Maryland, College Park. The award recognizes individuals who have connected ecological economic thinking to practical applications and solutions that are sustainable, equitable and efficient.