The Interdisciplinary Environmental Association (IEA) was created in the early 1990’s by economist Demetri Kantarelis and a geographer Kevin Hickey. While researching for their course in environmental economics, Kantarelis and Hickey found little literature review to draw from in addition to little opportunity for scholars to go beyond their field to experiment with broader approaches to environmental issues. Suspecting that there were more scholars with similar interests in an interdisciplinary approach to environmental concerns, the Drs. Initiated the IEA in the spring of 1994 and set out to organize scholars through a massive internet campaign referred to as the “internet Bottle”. Their campaign reached over 1400 individuals across the globe.
The original mission of the IEA is to bring together all disciplines so that environmental knowledge is enhanced though interdisciplinary communications, and to inform the educated lay public about the research, current concerns, plans, and prospects for a cleaner future.
Our goals are to enhance understanding of environmental issues by educating each other in an interdisciplinary format, and to present discipline perspectives of environmental problems to people outside those disciplines; especially to those outside academia.
The first International Interdisciplinary Conference on the Environment (IICE), was held in Boston in June of 1995 and included over 100 attendees representing 18 foreign countries and 14 disciplines. This initial group of participants became the core of the IEA, and because the first conference proved to be so successful, a second IICE was organized for June 1996 in Newport, Rhode Island, where again over 100 participants attended. As interest in the IEA grew, succeeding conferences were moved around the country and beyond. Within three years of IICE’s initiation, 34 countries had been represented at a conference, and by 2000 a conference was held in Montreal Canada. The most recent IICE, which marked the IEA's 25th anniversary, was held San Juan Puerto Rico in 2019.