My environmental economics course has been frustrating this semester because the only goal that we ever talk about is efficient allocations of resources. For example, how do we efficiently allocate pollution? Then we draw graphs. There has not yet been discussion about other goals such as environmental justice, sustainability, or equity.
A recent Dot Earth story discusses various perspectives on growth, including a video from Herman Daly, one of the founders of ecological economics, where he discusses the steady state.
To acheive a steady state, it may be necessary to have growth or degrowth. Perhaps the current economic crisis is helping us to learn a bit about degrowth. Either way, this certainly is something worth discussing in an economics course dealing with the environment. Although it is not on the syllabus, I am hoping to spark some discussion on the subject during the semester.