Workshop: Environmental Policy in the Anthropocene

December 4-5, 2015 at PERC 

Environmentalists are increasingly confronted with two emerging ideas about the natural world; first, that there is no such thing as a balance of nature and second, that nature cannot be easily separated, if at all, from human action. The first idea is embodied in the work of ecologist Dan Botkin, and the second in the suggestion of the “Anthropocene” as the new geologic epoch. While both concepts are controversial in environmental circles—Emma Marris’ book Rambunctious Garden and Peter Karieva et al’s essay “Conservation in the Anthropocene” have both ignited heated discussions—they are very much at the forefront of the debate about the future of environmentalism.

As these two ideas gain acceptance, PERC has an opportunity to explore the frontiers of free market environmentalism. Once we accept that nature is dynamic and that it is profoundly shaped by and connected to human action, we are forced to see environmental problems through a different lens. No longer can environmental problems be thought of as simply the consequence of human violations on the balance of nature. Moreover, environmental problems cannot be solved by simply separating natural systems from human influence. Instead, environmental problems become questions of how to resolve competing human demands on nature’s ever-changing bounty—the question that is at the heart of FME.

What institutions best allow us to resolve those competing human demands in an ever-changing natural world? How do we design and implement institutions which can account both for dynamic nature and dynamic humans? What are the policy implications of the Anthropocene?

PERC is well equipped to address these questions. By bringing together scholars from a variety of disciplines, we will foster research that explores the role markets will play in environmentalism in the Anthropocene.

Environmentalism in the Anthropocene
Shawn Regan – “Environmentalism without Romance”
James Huffman – “Designing Institutions for the Anthropocene”

Institutions for the Anthropocene
Rob Fleck & Andy Hanssen – “Environmental Policy for the Anthropocene: Information, Incentives, and Effective Institutions”

Study of Dynamic Institutions for Rangeland Management
Gregg Simonds – “Sailing the Sagebrush Sea

Decoupling for Conservation
Linus Blomqvist – “Nature Unbound: Decoupling for Conservation
Terry Anderson & P.J. Hill – “Economic Rents and Dynamic Conservation”

Ecosystem Services in the Anthropocene
R. David Simpson – “Ecosystem Services: What are the Public Policy Implications?”

Technological Innovation in the Anthropocene
Lynne Kiesling – “The Connected Home and Permissionless Innovation”

Please note: This workshop is by invitation only.