100 books like An Introduction to Ecological Economics

By Robert Costanza, John H Cumberland, Herman Daly , Robert Goodland , Richard B Norgaard , Ida Kubiszewski , Carol Franco

Here are 100 books that An Introduction to Ecological Economics fans have personally recommended if you like An Introduction to Ecological Economics. Shepherd is a community of 11,000+ authors and super readers sharing their favorite books with the world.

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Book cover of Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

I was privileged to know Herman Daly, often seen as the founding father of ecological economics.

Starting in the 1960s, he defied conventional economic theory to insist on the primacy of the ecological system and limits to economic growth. He introduced the concept of “full world” economics, arguing that the expansion of human economic activity was displacing essential ecological functions.

This book presents his extensive and insightful perspective on a range of economic issues, and offers a roadmap for saving the global economic system from collapse. 

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development, Selected Essays of Herman Daly as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Ecological Economics and Sustainable Development comprises a carefully chosen selection of some 25 articles, speeches, congressional testimonies, reviews, and critiques from the last ten years of Herman Daly's ever-illuminating work.

This book seeks to identify the blind spots and errors in standard growth economics, alongside the corrections that ecological economics offers to better guide us toward a sustainable economy - one with deeper biophysical and ethical roots.

Under the general heading of sustainability and ecological economics, many specific topics are here brought into relation with each other. These include: limits to growth; full-world versus empty-world economics; uneconomic growth; definitions of…


Book cover of Beyond Uneconomic Growth: Economics, Equity and the Ecological Predicament

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

This is a great selection of more recent work in ecological economics. It focuses on seeking alternatives to standard economists’ fixation on unlimited economic growth.

Drawing on physical science, ecology, and the science of human behavior, contributors show how economic growth itself has become “uneconomic” and incompatible with a healthy ecosystem. An alternative vision – a human economic system in balance with the environment, while providing for essential needs and a high quality of life – is presented in contributions by scholars from diverse fields. 

By Joshua Farley (editor), Deepak Malghan (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Beyond Uneconomic Growth as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

'Daly's contributions to the still emergent field of ecological economics are constant references for our peers throughout the developing world as well as in the North. His courageous tilting at the windmills of mainstream economic nonsense inspire us to continue questioning: in whose interests do we continue on a perpetual search for unlimited material satisfaction? Daly's conception is not only of a world restricted by biophysical limits, but also one in which poverty and deprivation are commonplace, and where Sisyphean efforts to maintain accelerated economic growth only exacerbate inequitable distribution. His vision of sustainable economic welfare shed light on other…


Book cover of Escape from Overshoot: Economics for a Planet in Peril

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

Peter Victor, a leading Canadian economist, has worked to reform economic thinking and modeling to take account of twenty-first-century realities: the increasing stress placed on the world’s ecosystems by growing population, energy demand, pressure on agricultural and water systems, and multiple forms of pollution.

Victor surveys alternatives such as green growth, post-growth, degrowth, and regenerative economics, offering hope for a positive social, economic, and ecological future. 

By Peter A. Victor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Escape from Overshoot as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Earth overshoot will end either by design or by disaster. Which future should we choose?

Earth is in overshoot. The cumulative impact of 8 billion humans combined with the relentless pursuit of economic growth in the name of "progress" has stressed the planet beyond its limits. We must act now.

Surveying economic alternatives and charting plausible paths forward for a planned economic contraction, Escape from Overshoot covers a wide terrain, including:

An overview of Earth overshoot and prevailing trends and implications for humans and biodiversity A concise review of economic ideas including neoclassical, Keynesian, Marxist, ecological economics, and steady state…


Book cover of Building a Green Economy: Perspectives from Ecological Economics

Jonathan M. Harris Author Of Environmental and Natural Resource Economics: A Contemporary Approach

From my list on understanding ecological economics.

Why am I passionate about this?

I have been teaching and writing about economics and the environment for over thirty-five years, and have been inspired by my students to work towards a new ecological economics that can underpin a sustainable planetary future. Many of the crises that I and colleagues have predicted – climate disasters, soil degradation, water shortages, biodiversity loss – are now upon us, but the situation is not hopeless. I am working for a rapid transformation away from fossil-fuel and resource-intensive forms of economic growth, and hope that the expanding field of ecological economics can help to usher in this badly needed change. 

Jonathan's book list on understanding ecological economics

Jonathan M. Harris Why did Jonathan love this book?

Robby Richardson is an old friend and colleague who has led the way in developing practical ecological economics policies.

He has been on the front lines: fired by the Trump administration from a position at EPA for defending effective environmental protection, he returned to government in the Department of the Interior in the Biden administration, and in that role has developed natural resource accounting systems to guide government policy.

In this edited volume, he brings together leading ecological economics scholars to offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy that places human welfare above consumerism and resource-intensive growth. 

By Robert B. Richardson (editor),

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Building a Green Economy as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

The first decade of the twenty-first century has been characterised by a growing global awareness of the tremendous strains that human economic activity place on natural resources and the environment. As the world's population increases, so does the demand for energy, food, and other resources, which adds to existing stresses on ecosystems, with potentially disastrous consequences. Humanity is at a crossroads in our pathway to future prosperity, and our next steps will impact our long-term sustainability immensely.

In this timely volume, leading ecological economics scholars offer a variety of perspectives on building a green economy. Grounded in a critique of…


Book cover of Herman Daly's Economics for a Full World: His Life and Ideas

David Miller Author Of Solved: How the World's Great Cities Are Fixing the Climate Crisis

From my list on books that evoke a place and take you there.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love cities, and as a former Mayor, I understand their vibrant complexity. Like all of us, I am deeply worried about planetary breakdown, but unlike most, I’ve had the privilege of seeing firsthand the great work that leading mayors are undertaking globally to address the climate crisis. It's my belief that if more of us knew what is happening in some cities, and therefore what is possible in all, we would not only see that it is possible to avoid climate breakdown but fuelled by that hope, we would demand change from those we elect. You can hear more in the podcast I lead, Cities 1.5, or read more in my occasional newsletter on substack.

David's book list on books that evoke a place and take you there

David Miller Why did David love this book?

This book is a lovingly and expertly written biography of an underappreciated but vastly significant economist, Herman Daly. Professor Daly was an early proponent of ecological economics, and his work is becoming increasingly important and relevant if we want to stop climate breakdown.

One of the main reasons we are approaching climate breakdown is because neo-liberal economic theories and the economic system they have led to through trade agreements and the like rely on false or oversimplified assumptions—like pollution is free or that any resource constraints can be met by new inventions. The fact that neither is true—and the policy implications that set out from that conclusion - are persuasively documented in this biography.

The book is about economics and a great economist who brilliantly and convincingly demonstrated that the Planet and human resource demands on it must be included in our economic analysis and rules. As such, the biography…

By Peter A. Victor,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Herman Daly's Economics for a Full World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

As the first biography of Professor Herman Daly, this book provides an in-depth account of one of the leading thinkers and most widely read writers on economics, environment and sustainability.

Herman Daly's economics for a full world, based on his steady-state economics, has been widely acknowledged through numerous prestigious international awards and prizes. Drawing on extensive interviews with Daly and in-depth analysis of his publications and debates, Peter Victor presents a unique insight into Daly's life from childhood to the present day, describing his intellectual development, inspirations and influence. Much of the book is devoted to a comprehensive account of…


Book cover of Steady-State Economics

Rex Weyler Author Of Greenpeace: The Inside Story

From my list on ecology from an ecologist.

Why am I passionate about this?

Rex Weyler is a writer and ecologist. His books include Blood of the Land, a history of indigenous American nations, nominated for a Pulitzer Prize; Greenpeace: The Inside Story, a finalist for the BC Book Award and the Shaughnessy-Cohen Award for Political Writing; and The Jesus Sayings, a deconstruction of first-century history, a finalist for the BC Book Award. In the 1970s, Weyler was a co-founder of Greenpeace International and editor of the Greenpeace Chronicles. He served on campaigns to preserve rivers and forests, and to stop whaling, sealing, and toxic dumping.

Rex's book list on ecology from an ecologist

Rex Weyler Why did Rex love this book?

Want solutions? Start with our failed economic system. Daly, a World Bank senior economist, examines the economic restructuring necessary to live on a finite planet. He corrects the errors of classic economics by showing that a human economy is a subsystem embedded in a finite, fragile ecosystem, maintained by extracting limited resources and exporting waste. A steady-state economy accounts for the limits of both resources and waste. 

By Herman E. Daly,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Steady-State Economics as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?


First published in 1977, this volume caused a sensation because of Daly's radical view that "enough is best." Today, his ideas are recognized as the key to sustainable development, and Steady-State Economics is universally acknowledged as the leading book on the economics of sustainability.


Book cover of The Mushroom at the End of the World: On the Possibility of Life in Capitalist Ruins

Diana E. Marsh Author Of Extinct Monsters to Deep Time: Conflict, Compromise, and the Making of Smithsonian's Fossil Halls

From my list on where authors infiltrate a wild community.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a nerd about all things museums and archives, which I teach and write about. I was trained as an anthropologist, and got really interested in using anthropology’s methods (namely ethnography) to do long-term, embedded, deep-dive fieldwork in bureaucratic settings, like big museums. I love reading books by journalists, economists, historians, and others who do ethnography and really embed themselves in different communities, places, and cultures.

Diana's book list on where authors infiltrate a wild community

Diana E. Marsh Why did Diana love this book?

This is an academic book, but it's beautifully written, and not too, too jargony. Tsing does a kind of commodity ethnography, embedding herself in multiple parts of the lifecycle of the Matsutake Mushroom trade, while depicting the worlds of pickers, restauranteurs, mushroom traders and auctioneers, nature guides, and more. She also weaves in a critique of capitalist markets in which these kinds of natural entities now are embedded, which I dig! 

By Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing,

Why should I read it?

2 authors picked The Mushroom at the End of the World as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

What a rare mushroom can teach us about sustaining life on a fragile planet

Matsutake is the most valuable mushroom in the world-and a weed that grows in human-disturbed forests across the Northern Hemisphere. Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing's account of these sought-after fungi offers insights into areas far beyond just mushrooms and addresses a crucial question: What manages to live in the ruins we have made? The Mushroom at the End of the World explores the unexpected corners of matsutake commerce, where we encounter Japanese gourmets, capitalist traders, Hmong jungle fighters, Finnish nature guides, and more. These companions lead us into…


Book cover of Earth, Wind and Fire: Unpacking the Political, Economic and Security Implications of Discourse on the Green Economy

Najma Mohamed Author Of Sustainability Transitions in South Africa

From my list on justice and sustainability in South Africa.

Why am I passionate about this?

While my childhood in a coastal community in South Africa contributed to my deep appreciation and love for nature, I was born and grew up as a person of colour in the apartheid era when barricades divided humans, the land, and the sea. I developed a profound understanding, rooted in my lived experience, of the interlinkages between justice, equity, and sustainability. I've remained actively involved and interested in developing and profiling transformative and inclusive approaches to sustainability from community to the international level. I've maintained this focus on the nexus between climate, nature, and inequality throughout my career, where I've led transformative and inclusive approaches to nature and climate policy and practice for 20+ years. 

Najma's book list on justice and sustainability in South Africa

Najma Mohamed Why did Najma love this book?

The book deals with the challenge of growth – how the South African economy needs to find a way to grow, and adopt policy choices and pathways that can help the country transition from a fossil fuel-intensive economy to a green economy, that is resource efficient, climate resilient, and equitable.

It grapples with the social complexity of post-apartheid South Africa and why a transition to a green economy in South Africa must be just transition. 

By Lynne Krieger Mytelka (editor), Velaphi Msimang (editor), Radhika Perrot (editor) , Marie Blanche Ting , Saliem Fakir , Manisha Gulati , Simone Haysom , Lyndall Mujakachi , Edison Muzenda , T. J. Pilusa , Louise Scholtz , Ogundiran Soumonni , Fumani Mthembi

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Earth, Wind and Fire as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

This book examines issues ranging from global and domestic climate change and sustainable energy issues to the mineral-energy complex issues that have given rise to local and sector-specific problems. Each chapter seeks to convey policy choices and recommendations, at the centre of which is a clear articulation of the need for an integrated mix of policy instruments in South Africa to mitigate emissions and promote the development of a low-carbon economy through the low-carbon and sustainable energy technologies and low-carbon innovation across various sectors of the economy. The central theme of the book is that discourse and policy action on…


Book cover of Resource Radicals: From Petro-Nationalism to Post-Extractivism in Ecuador

Drew Pendergrass Author Of Half-Earth Socialism: A Plan to Save the Future from Extinction, Climate Change and Pandemics

From my list on environmental crisis and how to solve it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a climate scientist at Harvard and an environmental activist. In my day job, I use satellite, aircraft, and surface observations of the environment to correct supercomputer models of the atmosphere. What I’ve learned has made me feel that I can’t just stay in the lab—I need to get out in the world and fight for a future that’s just and ecologically stable for everyone. My writing and activism imagines how humanity can democratically govern itself in an age of environmental crisis.

Drew's book list on environmental crisis and how to solve it

Drew Pendergrass Why did Drew love this book?

As an environmental activist, I often run into the problem of popular politics. Consumption of certain goods, like oil or meat, drives the environmental crisis, but they also are popular—or, at least, people would feel it as a loss if they were limited. Worse, people’s livelihoods often depend on industries that are hurting the planet.

To understand possible ways forward, I turned to Thea Riofrancos. This book guided me through Ecuador's complicated environmental politics. A left-wing president won power, promising prosperity for all, funded by mining and exporting the country’s rich natural resources. Indigenous people and environmentalists proposed alternative politics, which were not funded by extraction but by an alternative green economy. The book is full of hard lessons about the challenges of building a winning environmental movement.

By Thea Riofrancos,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Resource Radicals as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

In 2007, the left came to power in Ecuador. In the years that followed, the "twenty-first-century socialist" government and a coalition of grassroots activists came to blows over the extraction of natural resources. Each side declared the other a perversion of leftism and the principles of socioeconomic equality, popular empowerment, and anti-imperialism. In Resource Radicals, Thea Riofrancos unpacks the conflict between these two leftisms: on the one hand, the administration's resource nationalism and focus on economic development; and on the other, the anti-extractivism of grassroots activists who condemned the government's disregard for nature and indigenous communities. In this archival and…


Book cover of The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World

Robert S. Pindyck Author Of Climate Future: Averting and Adapting to Climate Change

From my list on climate change and what to do about it.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am an economist who has written broadly on microeconomics, energy and natural resource markets, and environmental economics. My recent work in environmental economics has focused on climate change, and I’ve published a book and many articles on the topic. I think it’s important to understand that while there is a lot we understand about climate change, there is also much we don’t understand, and what the uncertainty implies about what we should do. My concern is the possibility of a climate catastrophe. What are the chances, and what should we do? Those questions have driven much of my research and writing. 

Robert's book list on climate change and what to do about it

Robert S. Pindyck Why did Robert love this book?

Nordhaus was one of the first economists to explain the nature of climate change and why dealing with it is of economic importance.  In this book, he uses his DICE (Dynamic Integrated Climate and Economy) model to help explain --- at a textbook level --- how unrestricted GHG emissions can cause climate change to occur and lead to serious problems in the future. He also utilizes the model to illustrate some of the uncertainties we face when thinking about the climate system and when trying to predict the changes to expect under different policies. The book thereby provides students (and others) with a good introduction to climate change policy.

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