UNM-LA uses science to study today’s urgent issues

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By Bonnie Gordon

The University of New Mexico-Los Alamos (UNM-LA) is launching a new course in ecological economics, for the spring semester.

The course, Topics: Ecological Economics (GNST 192, will meet from 11 a.m.-12:40 p.m. Fridays from Jan. 22 through March 12 and will be graded “credit/no credit.”

“This is the first course in ecological economics offered in New Mexico,” said instructor Dragomir “Miro” Kovacevich. “Universities such as the University of Maryland, Virginia Tech, Rensselaer Polytech, University of Oregon, and the University of Vermont are offering cutting edge study in this emergent multidisciplinary science that investigates the most urgent moral issues of our time and articulates viable public policy responses.”

The course is designed to bring students to the interface of metaphysics, natural philosophy, natural sciences and social sciences, Kovacevich said.  

“In contrast with the confines of classical and neo-classical economics, ecological economics requires delightful insights into cosmology, physics, moral philosophy and aesthetics, sociology and economics with concurrent thoughtful consideration of relevant aspects of history, political science and law,” he said.

According to Kovacevich, ecological economics focuses on three interdependent goals of sustainable scale, fair distribution and efficient allocation.

Such issues cannot be understood from within the framework of any single discipline and require a multidisciplinary approach.

 “While traditional economics treats the economy as a self-contained system, ecological economics recognizes that the economy is a sub-system wholly dependent on the global biophysical system that contains and sustains it.,” said Kovacevich, “Ecological economics is not a subdiscipline of economics or any other discipline. It is not primarily about how to have or not to have. It is about how to behave or not to behave in order to be and have. It is a holistic proposition of goodness, beauty and cosmic humility.”

A good working knowledge of political science, macroeconomics and microeconomics is helpful but not required, in order to complete the class requirements.

Knowledge or prior exposure to moral philosophy and natural philosophy will be very helpful.

Kovacevich received a MBA at Pepperdine University, a MS in political science from University of Zagreb, Croatia and a BA in economics from the University of Split, Croatia.

He is founder and former president of the Santa Fe Solar Circle and co-founder of ViviLux, a renewable energy public advocacy and civic education institution.

He has presented and lectured extensively on ecological, environmental, and sustainability issues in Minnesota and New Mexico in the last seven years.  

He played the pivotal role in establishing Solar Energy Research Park and Academy (SERPA) at Northern New Mexico College.

Kovacevich wrote Senate Joint Memorial 33 and facilitated its unanimous passage in 2009 NM Legislative Session.

This memorial sets the stage for New Mexico’s National Laboratories and the Southwest in general to become the nexus of a national energy strategy for natural security and economic recovery.

Kovacevich also co-produced Venus Transit Authority Radio Show, an ecological economics themed program on KRSN AM 1490, Los Alamos. He is a member of the American Society for Ecological Economics and International Society for Ecological Economics.

To learn more about the course, e-mail Kovacevich at miro@eccoecco.com.

To register, or to learn more about UNM-LA, visit www.la.unm.edu or call 662-0332.  Spring semester begins Jan. 19.