Ecological Economics MSc student, studying at the School of Earth and Environment.

Richard Dowling

Richard Dowling is an Ecological Economics MSc student, studying at the School of Earth and Environment.

Choosing Leeds

“Primarily, I chose Leeds because the content of the course appealed to me, more so than with other mainstream Environmental Economics courses offered by other universities.”

Ecological Economics differs substantially in its approach, as it fundamentally challenges conventional economic approaches to environmental problems, and discusses topics and underlying principles that aren’t present in other courses.

Richard Dowling

“Leeds as a city is well-renowned for its Ecological Economics community, and the fact that the University offered a postgraduate course on the subject made for an attractive prospect.”

“Prior to starting the degree, I read the book ‘Enough is Enough’ by Dan O’Neill and Rob Dietz, which introduces a plethora of topics covered by the course. It was enjoyable and very thought-provoking; the course being led by Dan O’Neill then made Leeds the natural choice.”

Contributing to society

The course serves to enlighten the next generation about the nature and scale of environmental problems, and how the current economic consensus has failed, and continues to fail, to tackle them.

Richard Dowling

Richard’s studies contributed to society by encouraging more people to think about these issues.

“In regard to our daily lives, those who have studied courses like Ecological Economics inevitably think in greater depth about the ethics of their consumption choices, and how we can satisfy our daily needs more sustainably.”

Inspiring aspects to the course

“The aspect that inspires me the most is the fact that one learns in depth about such pertinent topics. It can be considered a bit of a platitude, the consequences of society failing to deal with ecological problems will be catastrophic. Although that is the stark reality, it is an inspiring thought to think that one is engaged with subjects that have such a fundamental importance to our future.”

Exciting projects

One of the best aspects of the course is the freedom it gives you to tailor your degree to what interests you the most, partly because it has such a variety of optional modules, but also because it gives students options regarding what topics they focus their assignments on.

Richard Dowling

Using CO2 per £ conversion factors produced from input-output analysis, and Office for National Statistics data, Richard is investigating UK carbon footprint changes resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic, with subsequent structural decomposition analysis.

“This really excites me, as the topic is one that has never been investigated before, with no published literature specifically relating to it. “

Future ambitions

After finishing the course, Richard plans on getting back into the workplace with a graduate job.

“In particular, environmental and ecological consultancy roles appeal to me, as I think they provide an opportunity to apply my knowledge, experience, and skill-set to the real world, where hopefully, I can have a positive impact.”

“However, there are a variety of career options available to Ecological Economics graduates, all of which I will consider pursuing, after completing the course.”


“The course is one that is challenging, particularly if you aren’t from an economics background, like myself. However, if you put in the hard work, it is really enjoyable and allows your understanding of the topics you are interested in to burgeon.”

If you’re an individual who cares about ecology and economics, then this course is a really good option. I’d also mention that from my experience, those studying the course were really nice people from a diverse set of backgrounds, who shared my interests.

Richard Dowling

View Richard’s linked in profile here.

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