Engaging Communities in Systems Change

By design or by disaster the global economy must be fundamentally transformed. The title for the CANSEE2023 conference was inspired by York University Professor Emeritus Peter Victor’s book Managing Without Growth: Slower by Design, not Disaster (2008). This work highlights the imperative to re-evaluate and reorganise capitalist economies, in light of the interlinked social and ecological planetary crises to which they are contributing. It also inherently positions ecological economics as a field through which to incite deep change across social, environmental, and economic systems. So too are scholars and practitioners actively working with civil society, industry, government, and a plurality of communities to facilitate a diverse array of transition processes. 

The panel will present examples of the cutting edge, contemporary work that is carrying forward the legacy of ecological economics, as established during the mid twentieth century by scholars such as Herman Daly. Panelists Shaun Sellers, Eric Miller, and Geoffrey Garver will reflect on how they combine theoretical innovations, practical research, and empirical data analyses, to support the achievement of social wellbeing and biosphere sustainability. Together, they will highlight key issues, priorities, principles, and opportunities for future interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary collaboration, related to the six conference themes.

Eric Miller is Director of the Ecological Footprint Initiative, based at York University where he also teaches courses in ecological economics and sustainability informatics.  Eric is also an executive officer of the Footprint Data Foundation which is a not-for-profit corporation that governs the National Ecological Footprint and Biocapacity accounts.  Eric’s prior work as a consulting economist informed governments, industry, think-tanks, and NGOs.  His earlier work in public service had him leading the team of economists in the Ministry of Natural Resources, after he had worked for the Ministry of Environment and for Environment Canada.

Dr. Geoffrey Garver teaches environmental courses at McGill and Concordia Universities in Montreal and coordinates law and governance research for the Leadership for the Ecozoic initiative ( of McGill University and the University of Vermont. He is on the Steering Committee of the Ecological Law and Governance Association ( and is active in the international degrowth movement.  Geoff was the Director of Submissions on Enforcement Matters at the Commission for Environmental Cooperation ( from 2000 to 2007, and previously worked at the U.S. Justice Department and the U.S. EPA.  His book Ecological Law and the Planetary Crisis was published in 2021.  He received a B.S. in chemical engineering from Cornell University in 1982, a J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1987, an LLM from the McGill Faculty of Law in 2011 and a PhD in Geography from McGill University in 2016.

Shaun Sellers is a PhD candidate in the Leadership for the Ecozoic program (L4E) at McGill University, She has a MSc in Ecological Economics from the University of Leeds, and a BA (Hons) in Business Management from Antioch University. Her research focuses on social ecological trade theory, trade governance, and provisioning systems transformation for degrowth, post-growth global economies. While her research focuses on global ecological macroeconomic concerns, her work is grounded in relationship to home, land, and community. She likes being in the woods.