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Rigo Melgar-Melgar

L4E PhD Fellow – University of Vermont



Rigo is a PhD Candidate in Ecological Economics at the Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Vermont. Rigo is a Fellow of the Leadership for the Ecozoic (L4E) project (Cohort 1) and the Gund Institute for Environment at the University of Vermont. Rigo is broadly interested in research-to-action by building and acting on the immense potential of the theory and practice of ecological economics and other heterodox schools of economics to inform innovative research, educational and policy strategies to tackle our complex and interrelated ecological and social crises. His PhD research is focused on the socio-ecological implications of financialization for a just energy-sustainability transition away from fossil fuels in the U.S. Rigo grounds his work on the strong biophysical and social foundations of ecological economics and draws from other heterodox schools of economics in his research-to-action work.

Rigo is passionate and dedicated about creating awareness and spreading the knowledge of ecological economics to promote genuine and sustainable wellbeing within planetary boundaries through the growing Ecological Economics for All Initiative that he co-founded in 2020. As part of this work, Rigo collaborates with a variety of organizations such as Rethinking Economics International, Wellbeing Economy Alliance, U.S. Society for Ecological Economics, among others, to educate about heterodox economics with the goal to rethink economics and finance to promote institutions that work for people and the planet.   

Rigo holds two master’s degrees in Public Affairs and Environmental Science (with an Area of Study in Biophysical and Ecological Economics) from the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF) and Syracuse University Maxwell School of Public Affairs. He also holds a Bachelors of Science in Environmental Studies with a focus on Biophysical Economics and a Minor in Renewable Energy from SUNY-ESF in association with Syracuse University.

Rigo's favorite quote is: “The scarcest resource is not oil, metals, clean air, capital, labour, or technology. It is our willingness to listen to each other and learn from each other and to seek the truth rather than seek to be right. Because we have not done that, another resource has become critically scarce: time.” -Donella Meadows"



Why ecological economics needs to return to its roots: The biophysical foundation of socio-economic systems

Melgar-Melgar, R.E. and Hall. In Ecological Economics, 169. 2020.

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From the Anthropocene to Mutual Thriving: An Agenda for Higher Education in the Ecozoic

L4E Contributors:  Ivan Vargas Roncancio, Leah Temper, Joshua Sterlin, Nina L. Smolyar, Shaun Sellers, Maya Moore, Rigo Melgar-Melgar, Jolyon Larson, Catherine Horner, Jon D. Erickson, Megan Egler, Peter G. Brown, Emille Boulot, Tina Beigi and Michael Babcock

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