Charlie Chaplin from the movie, Modern Times.  The image evokes the coevolution of production systems and people and how individuals cannot easily influence social metabolism which follows its own inner dynamic. The analysis of social metabolism reflects the need to go beyond individual choice and consider social choices through which unsustainable systems can be rearranged or replaced by sustainable ones.  Image credit: Modern Times © Roy Export S.A.S. Scan Courtesy Cineteca di Bologna”

The Journal of Industrial Ecology, a peer-reviewed international scientific journal, owned by Yale and based at the School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, has just published a special issue, Frontiers in Socioeconomic Metabolism (see  The title is a bit daunting, but topic is compelling, and worthy of some explanation.

In 1994, Robert White, then the president of the US National Academy of Engineering, identified the emergence of a new field, industrial ecology. He described industrial ecology as

the study of the flows of materials and energy in industrial and consumer activities, of the effects of these flows on the environment, of the…

At F&ES, when professors say they are teaching a certain topic or skill “that will be useful to you in the real world,” it’s a reminder that we are here not just to learn technical information, but to develop the capabilities we need to work in dynamic settings.

Since the beginning of MODS and well into the school year, I have worked in many groups and this is not a coincidence. By design, our classes and extracurricular activities require us to work together to solve problems, be it small or large. The expectation is that by training us in this setting, we will be ready to dive right into any professional team environment after graduation.

Recently, I have realized this training has taught me more than just working…

Diverse Events at Yale F&ES

As a first-year MESc (’17) student and member of the EQUID (Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity) Committee here at Yale F&ES, I can tell you that we’ve had a busy few weeks here on campus. A sample of some recent F&ES diversity-related activities you might have missed:

Reverend Lennox Yearwood and the Hip-Hop Caucus
On Tuesday, September 29, Reverend Lennox Yearwood Jr., President and Chief Executive Officer of the Hip Hop Caucus, spoke in Burke Auditorium as part of the F&ES speaker series Diverse Voices: Environmental Leaders on Climate Change. In a rousing sermon that inspired a standing ovation, Reverend Yearwood drew connections for the audience among energy generation from fossil fuels, racist responses to natural disasters like Hurricane Katrina, asthma and air pollution in communities of color…

Call for Papers: Exploring the Circular Economy

Is industrial ecology the science of the circular economy?

In “Strategies for Manufacturing,” the seminal article in 1989 that is often identified as marking the beginning of industrial ecology as a research field, Robert Frosch and Nicholas Gallopolous (1989) analogized industrial ecosystems to biological ecosystems.  The set of ideas based on an ecological analogy in varying degrees and forms has been examined, elaborated and increasingly adopted in many guises.  Most recently, the circular economy has captured the imagination of many in the environmental world. China enacted a law for the promotion of the circular economy in 2008, the Ellen MacArthur Foundation has played a pivotal role in engaging the business community, and the European Union is formulating a circular economy strategy as a socio-economically promising means to achieve resource…

Welcome Rachel!

Hello prospective students! 

My name is Rachel Ett, and I’m an MEM5 student at Yale F&ES. I went to Yale College as an undergraduate, took one “gap year” to work, and now I’m back for my “fifth year” as an MEM student. I will graduate in May with the class of 2016.

More about me: I’m from South Carolina and a true southerner at heart! I majored in Environmental Studies at Yale College, and during my gap year before F&ES I worked at a start-up event planning company in Brooklyn and at NRG Energy, a Fortune 200 energy company, in Houston. Taking a year off before coming back to graduate school was extremely valuable to me. I was able to narrow my academic focus

Dia de los Muertos celebration at F&ES, November 2015. Photo by Adrien Salazar.

The Equity, Inclusion, and Diversity Committee at the School of Forestry is a group of students, faculty, and staff committed to cultivating an inclusive atmosphere at FES, challenging systems of oppression, and fostering a space where a diversity of ideas, values, and perspectives are welcomed and respected.

This year the committee is excited to put on cultural celebrations, community dialogues, and workshops to enhance the role of the School of Forestry in developing culturally competent leaders and driving the discourse of diversity and equity in the environmental field.

From Boston to Paris, Less Than 100 Days until COP21

China, “Big Oil,” and cities all emerge as important themes in the lead-up to the climate negotiations (COP-21) in Paris this December. Panelists and experts discussed these topics at a recent forum, Local and Global Climate Action on the Path to Paris, hosted by the World Resources Institute (WRI) and The Christian Science Monitor in Boston. Watch the video here; a quick recap of the event follows:

Roads are For People, Too: PARK(ing) Day Comes to F&ES

On Sept. 19, the F&ES community celebrated PARK(ing) Day, a grassroots initiative that continues to create awareness of the way we use, design, and assign urban public spaces. Current students and alumni filled the two parking spots in front of Kroon Hall with trees provided by the Urban Resources Initiative, flowers from Marsh Botanical Gardens, tables and chairs, and a bike rack. They also drew a temporary crosswalk across Prospect Street. Students, staff, faculty — even Yale President Peter Salovey — took a few moments to enjoy the pop-up communal space.

PARK(ing) Day is part of a larger movement called tactical urbanism. Commonly known as “guerilla” urbanism or “D.I.Y” urbanism, tactical urbanism bypasses the political, complex, and lengthy process of top down city planning and makes small improvements to…

MODs and the Migration Back to New Haven

The third week of school has just ended. Courses are finally (mostly) sorted out, and people are getting back into the swing of F&ES life here on campus. For half of us, we’ve returned from summers interning at various organizations across the country and globe, ready to finish our final year for our masters’ degrees.

The other half of us is new to the school and New Haven. Before classes started, all first years participated in the school’s introductory “summer modules,” or MODs for short. Each week for three weeks, new students take a different class based in different parts of Connecticut. There is an urban MOD, hosted by students in New Haven who study urban planning, water and forestry issues. Another is hosted at Yale-Myers Forest, a Yale-owned…