All Sustainability History Project Oral Histories

Streaming Media

Publication Date


Document Type



27 minutes


Ecosystem services, Ecological economics, Sustainability -- Portland -- Oregon


Interview of Dr. Robert Costanza by Noah Sharpsteen at Portland State University on February 22nd, 2011.

The interview index is available for download.


Robert Costanza joined the Portland State University Institute for Sustainable Solutions in 2010. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Florida in systems ecology, and his master’s degree in Architecture and Urban and Regional Planning. He has written for publications such as The Economist, The New York Times, Nature, and National Geographic. He previously served as president of the International Society for Ecological Economics (ISEE). In 1992 he was awarded the Society for Conservation Biology distinguished Achievements Award and in 1993 he was selected as a Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment. He has since worked on numerous projects, and served on committees responsible for the oversight of research of national and international importance.


Dr. Robert Costanza is an ecological economist who worked for Portland state from 2010 to 2012. He became involved in his current work in graduate school researching the affects of humans and their need for natural capital assets. Dr. Costanza’s research stresses that our natural capital assets are just as important as our built capital assets. ‘Natural Capital’ and ‘ecosystem services’ defined: Ecosystem services are the benefits that we derive from natural ecosystems. Humans are not separate from natural systems, but are embedded in them. We need to recognize that we depend on the functioning ecosystems for our well being within urban and non-urban areas.

This interview is part of “The Sustainability History Project: Documenting Sustainable Development and Practice in the Pacific Northwest” at Portland State University.


This digital access copy is made available as streaming media for personal, educational, and non-commercial use within the parameters of “fair use” as defined under U.S. Copyright law. It cannot be reproduced, distributed, or broadcasted for commercial purposes. For more information, please contact Special Collections at Portland State University Library at: or (503) 725-9883.

Persistent Identifier


Article Location