icon-arrow-down icon-arrow-left icon-arrow-right icon-arrow-up icon-calendar icon-check icon-close icon-compass icon-email icon-facebook icon-instagram icon-linkedin icon-map icon-play icon-plus icon-search icon-twitter icon-vimeo icon-youtube

Professor

Lyuba Zarsky
Office
McGowan Building MG320B
Tel
(831) 647-6436
Email
lzarsky@miis.edu

Lyuba Zarsky concluded early that the best game in life is changing the world. In the 1970s, she co-founded the University Without Walls in Berkeley, whose motto was “the world is our classroom.” She was a leading member of the Berkeley Recycling Collective, one of the city’s first social enterprises, and the media director for the Abalone Alliance, a California citizens group opposed to nuclear power. She also collaborated with indigenous groups in the US and Asia-Pacific to protect human rights and sustainable livelihoods, work that propelled a move to the East Coast to pursue academic training in political economy and development economics. 

Zarsky’s overarching passion is promoting justice and sustainability in business and the economy. In the 1990s, she designed and directed a national sustainable development program for the government of Australia; and co-founded and co-directed the Nautilus Institute, an NGO “think and do” tank on global security and sustainability. She initiated a project on corporate social responsibility and accountability; was a member of the Trade and Environment Policy Advisory Committee of the Office of the US Trade Representative; and co-authored Enclave Economy: Foreign Investment and Sustainable Development in Mexico’s Silicon Valley (MIT Press, 2007). At the Institute, she coordinates the Business, Development and Sustainability track in the International Environmental Policy program.

Courses Taught

Courses offered in the past two years.

  • Current term
  • Upcoming term(s)

‘Commons governance’ has emerged as a new paradigm in both functional and legal approaches to international environmental cooperation. Traditionally, nation-states have been considered the sole actors in governing trans-boundary resources such as the atmosphere, water and the ocean. In contrast, the commons approach highlights the role of collaborative governance by all users of a depletable resource in designing, implementing and enforcing sustainability rules and norms. While nation-states remain key players, a commons approach is poly-centric (international, regional, national, sub-national) and multi-actor (government, business, civil society).

This course provides a foundation in the theory and practice of global commons governance. Part One introduces the conceptual framework and empirical findings of Elinor Ostrom’s work on the design of effective institutions for common pool resources. Working in teams of two, students will produce a case study which deploys the Ostrom framework to evaluate the effectiveness of a current agreement governing a transboundary commons of their choice.

Part II focuses on the structure and dynamics of the governance of the global atmospheric commons. It first examines the norms, principles and key agreements in international environmental law. It then explores the evolution of global climate collaboration from the Montreal Protocol to the UNFCCC to the Paris Agreement. Students will produce 1) a graphic presentation evaluating the Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs) of two nation-state signatories to the Paris Agreement; 2) a case study examining the way a key non-state actor—business/industry, cities/states/provinces, civil society—is implementing the Paris Agreement.

Spring 2018 - MIIS, Spring 2019 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

One of the key skillsets for a professional in any sustainability field is the ability to design and fund a cutting-edge project.

In this workshop, student teams will work to a client, the Institute for Carbon Removal Law and Policy, to develop projects aimed at
increasing carbon removal in California agriculture. Over two weekends, students will gain five key skills:

1) articulating a compelling vision of the overarching aim of the project

2) mapping the field for existing work to identify gaps

3) identifying potential partners and donors

4) designing a project, including outputs and outcomes

5) writing a persuasive funding proposal, including a credible and thorough budget.

Spring 2019 - MIIS, MIIS Workshop

View in Course Catalog

Coasts are an important source of native species diversity and provide a rich array of ecosystem services to humans. About forty percent of the world’s population lives within 100 km of a coast. Urban and economic development over the past fifty years has taken a heavy ecological toll on coasts and they are highly degraded. Going forward, coastal economies, communities and ecosystems are all highly vulnerable to the projected impacts of climate change, including flooding, storm surges, subsidence and sea level rise.

This course provides a foundation in the management challenges and governance frameworks of sustainable coastal management. The central focus of the course is on coastal climate vulnerability and resilience. Taught by a multi-disciplinary team, the course integrates science, economics, and policy perspectives on climate risk, adaptation, and resilience.

Part One examines current policy and legal frameworks for coastal management, explores ecological vulnerability to climate change and considers how current frameworks promote or impede adaptation. Part two examines the socio-economic vulnerability of coastal cities to climate change, explores the benefits and costs of both top-down and bottom-up adaptation options, and considers the role of households and the private sector in promoting community resilience. Many of the readings focus on the California coast but we will examine case studies from other parts of the US and internationally. Students will work in teams to produce a Consultation Practicum and a case study of a coastal city which includes a climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation options analysis.

Fall 2017 - MIIS, Fall 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Corporate Sustainability Management and Strategy

This course provides a foundation in the core concepts and strategic management tools in the dynamic field of global corporate sustainability management. The central aim is to prepare students to design, lead, communicate and collaborate on sustainability innovations that 1) reduce environmental, social and governance (ESG) risk, especially climate risk, and 2) seize opportunities which generate value to both firm and society. The course aims to provide the groundwork for a professional career in sustainability management in multiple contexts (e.g. corporation, university, NGO, etc). Open to all MIIS students, the course is required for students in the Sustainability Management specialization in the IEP Program.

The course covers nine key topics:

• Global sustainability challenges

• Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)

• Embedded sustainability as global business strategy

• Stakeholder engagement

• ESG Risk

• Sustainability reporting
• Climate risk assessment and reporting

• Sustainable supply chain management

• Business engagement with public policy.

Fall 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

The primary purpose of this speaker series is to introduce incoming IEP students who are pursuing the “Ocean and Coastal Resource Management” concentration to a wide range of cutting-edge interdisciplinary topics. (In order to be eligible for the CBE Summer Fellows Program students must enroll in this course—auditing is acceptable—in addition to committing to the 16 units of advanced coursework in their second year.)

The series will include topics from the local to international levels, with a focus on the policy and economic implications. Students are encouraged to use these talks as networking opportunities, catalysts for future research, and most importantly, to help focus their career goals.

The series is open to all IEP and IPM students interested in ocean and coastal issues, as well as members of the MARINE network and the larger Monterey community.

Fall 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

NOTE: MBA students will enroll and participate in the second half of the course for 2 credits in track

Coasts are an important source of native species diversity and provide a rich array of ecosystem services to humans. About forty percent of the world’s population lives within 100 km of a coast. Urban and economic development over the past fifty years has taken a heavy ecological toll on coasts and they are highly degraded. Going forward, coastal economies, communities and ecosystems are all highly vulnerable to the projected impacts of climate change, including flooding, storm surges, subsidence and sea level rise.

This course provides a foundation in the management challenges and governance frameworks of sustainable coastal management. The central focus of the course is on coastal climate vulnerability and resilience. Taught by a multi-disciplinary team, the course integrates science, economics, and policy perspectives on climate risk, adaptation, and resilience.

Part One examines current policy and legal frameworks for coastal management, explores ecological vulnerability to climate change and considers how current frameworks promote or impede adaptation. Part two examines the socio-economic vulnerability of coastal cities to climate change, explores the benefits and costs of both top-down and bottom-up adaptation options, and considers the role of households and the private sector in promoting community resilience. Many of the readings focus on the California coast but we will examine case studies from other parts of the US and internationally. Students will work in teams to produce a Consultation Practicum and a case study of a coastal city which includes a climate vulnerability assessment and adaptation options analysis.

Fall 2017 - MIIS, MIIS Second Half of Term, Fall 2018 - MIIS, MIIS Second Half of Term

View in Course Catalog

Sustainability and Climate Reporting

This class examines emerging trends and challenges in the corporate measurement and reporting of sustainability-related risks and opportunities, especially climate change. After an introduction to “stakeholder capitalism” and the range and meaning of the concept of “sustainability management,” the class explores and compares the two major sustainability reporting frameworks, the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) and the Sustainability Standards Accounting Board (SASB). It also examines the Integrated Reporting Framework, which combines financial and sustainability disclosure in one report. The class then probes how companies are reporting climate risks and opportunities, and evaluates the growing momentum to mainstream climate disclosure within company financial reports. Students will assess the overall sustainability performance and the robustness of climate disclosure of three leading companies in a sector of their choice.

Spring 2018 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Changing Public Policy: Advocacy in Action

How can we change public and/or organizational policies, practices, or procedures? How can civil society actors make effective arguments, forge campaigns and movements, and influence the decisions of powerful actors? How can advocacy help us bend justice’s arc…and what does a policy advocate actually do? What kind of careers and jobs are out there?

Taking a real-time problem-centered approach, this course will build career-ready competencies in three areas: policy advocacy research, policy advocacy strategy, and advocacy implementation. Students will work together in teams of 3-5, and advocate hands-on on an issue of importance here in the City or County of Monterey. Students should be prepared to spend much time out in the community building momentum for the change they seek, forging collaborations and partnerships with others, and meeting with decision-makers. The ethos of the course is action, action, action.

Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Sustainability in Extractive Industries

A rapid and thorough transition to zero-emission energy and transport technologies is urgently needed to avoid catastrophic global warming. Renewable technologies—solar panels, wind power, electric vehicles--are highly metals-intensive. Along with expansion of construction and ITC industries, de-carbonization will drive an expanding global demand for copper, aluminum (bauxite), cobalt, and other minerals.

This course has two aims. First, it explores sustainability challenges and solutions in the global metals mining industry. The primary challenges are water risk and human rights. Mining poses risks of long-term heavy metals contamination to both people and eco-systems not just locally but to entire watersheds. It is also water-intensive, pitting mining companies against agricultural and municipal users of increasingly scarce water resources. While they suffer the brunt of environmental risk, local communities often have no voice in accepting or governing a mine, and may receive only a meager share of economic benefits. Nudging metals mining towards sustainability requires innovations in technology, policy, governance, and values.

The second aim of the course is to develop research and writing skills. All students will produce a 20-page case study based on desk research and field interviews. Students will write and receive comments on two drafts before submitting the final case study. The class will meet in two four-hour studio sessions in lieu of regular class time. The time for the studio sessions will be determined consensually in class.

Fall 2017 - MIIS

View in Course Catalog

Water in an Insecure World: Symbol, Resources, or Commodity
Water covers more than seventy percent of the earth’s surface and constitutes approximately the same percentage of the human body. No substance on earth is more important, and few are more abundant. Yet today water is increasingly degraded and scarce, stressing both ecosystems and human communities. In this, the first ever President’s Course at Middlebury and Midd-Monterey, we will explore water topics across multiple disciplines, from droughts caused by climate change to the role of sea routes in the creation of the British Empire to ocean acidification, groundwater toxicity, and pelagic plastics. We will also explore emerging solutions to water crisis, including transboundary river management and water entrepreneurship. Each week President Patton will convene a seminar on an aquatic topic with guest speakers, break-out conversations, and simulcast interaction with our peers at the College and the Institute. Students will produce a water-based art project, collaborate on a local water case study, and engage in lively discussions with scholars and peers of diverse backgrounds. (Approval Required)

Spring 2017

View in Course Catalog

Areas of Interest

Zarsky’s teaching and research interests focus on the question: how can business practice and economic policy promote sustainable economic development? Her primary lens is sustainability investment, including norms, tools and policies from the local to global level. A key research focus is the global mining industry, which generates local economic benefits but creates long term risks of water pollution. 
 
Zarsky also teaches on adaptation to sea level rise in coastal cities, including new funding models for climate resilience, environmental entrepreneurship, and the governance of the global commons.

Academic Degrees

  • PhD in Economics, University of Massachusetts, Amherst
  • MA in Political Economy, New School for Social Research, New York
  • BA in Social Psychology, University Without Walls, Berkeley

 
Professor Zarsky has been teaching at the Institute since 2007.

Publications

  • Can extractive industries promote sustainable development? A net benefits framework and a case study of the Marlin Mine in Guatemala, (co-author), Journal of Environment and Development, 20(2), 131-154, April, 2013.
  • "Extractive industries and local communities: the elusive search for sustainable development," World Policy Review, July, 2013.
  • Searching for Gold in the Highlands of Guatemala: Economic Benefits and Environmental Risks of the Marlin Mine, (co-author), Global Development and Environment Institute, September, 2011.
  • "Climate Resilient Industrial Development: Design Principles and Alternative Models", in S.R. Khan and J. Christiansen, ed., Towards New Developmentalism: Market as Means Rather than Master, Routledge Economics, 2010.
  • Enclave Economy: Foreign Investment and Sustainable Development in Mexico’s Silicon Valley (co-author), Boston: MIT Press, 2007.
  • “No Miracle Drug: Foreign Direct Investment and Sustainable Development” (co-author), in L. Zarsky (ed.), International Investment for Sustainable Development: Balancing Rights and Rewards, London: Earthscan Press, 2005.
  • International Investment for Sustainable Development: Balancing Rights and Rewards (contributing editor), London: Earthscan Press, 2005.
  • “Stuck in the Mud? Nation-States, Globalisation and the Environment," in OECD, Globalisation and the Environment, Paris: OECD, 1997. Reprinted in K. Gallagher and J. Werksman (eds.), Earthscan Reader on International Trade and Sustainable Development, London: Earthscan Press, 2002, pp. 19-44; and in K. Conca and G. Dabelko, Green Planet Blues, Environmental Politics from Stockholm to Johannesberg, Westview Press, 2004.
  • Human Rights and the Environment: Conflicts and Norms in a Globalizing World (contributing editor) London: Earthscan Press, 2002.
  • Beyond Good Deeds: Case Studies and A New Policy Agenda for Corporate Accountability (co-author), Berkeley: Natural Heritage Institute, July 2002.
  • “APEC and the ‘Sustainable Development’ Agenda,’ in R. Steinberg (ed.), The Greening of Trade Law, Rowman and Littlefield, 2002.
  • “Global Reach: Human Rights and Environment in the Framework of Corporate Accountability,” in L. Zarsky (ed.), Human Rights and Environment: Conflicts and Norms in a Globalizing World, London: Earthscan Press, 2002, pp. 31-56.
  • “Civil Society and the Future of Environmental Governance in Asia,” (co-author), in D. Angel and M. Rock, (eds.), Asia's Clean Revolution: Industry, Growth and the Environment, Greenleaf Publishing, 2001, pp.128-154.
  • “From Bystanders to Collaborators, New Roles for Civil Society in Urban-Industrial Environmental Governance,” in Asian Development Bank, Asian Environment Outlook, Manila: ADB, 2001.
  • “Environmental Norms in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum,” in D. Shelton (ed.), Commitment and Compliance, The Role of Non-Binding Norms in the International Legal System, New York: Oxford University Press, 2000, pp. 303-329.
  • “Havens, Halos, and Spaghetti: Untangling the Evidence About FDI and the Environment,” in OECD, Foreign Direct Investment and the Environment, Paris: OECD, 1999, pp. 47-74.
  • "Energy and the Environment in Asia-Pacific,” in P. Chasek, (ed.), The Global Environment in the 21st Century, Tokyo: United Nations University Press, 1999.
  • "Lessons of Liberalization in Asia: From Structural Adjustment to Sustainable Development," in Financing for Environmentally Sustainable Development, Asian Development Bank: Manila, 1994.
  • “Towards an International Eco-Labeling Framework,” in OECD, Life Cycle Management and Trade, Paris: OECD, 1994, pp. 194-204.
  • “Sustainable Development: Challenges for Australia,” in Our Common Future, Australian Edition, Melbourne: Oxford University Press, 1990. Also published as a monograph by the Commission for the Future, Melbourne, February, 1990.

News Feed