STEPS CONFERENCE 2010: WATER, SUSTAINABILITY AND INTELLECTUAL JUDO

by Katharina Welle, DPhil student Water is a vital piece in the sustainability jigsaw. It’s also a resource that requires careful management. In the final plenary session at the STEPS Centre’s Annual Conference last week, Andy Stirling encouraged us to exercise “intellectual judo” in pursuing pathways to sustainability: finding “levers” where we can change or…

SUSTAINABILITY JUDO: STEPS CENTRE CONFERENCE 2010

This year’s conference – Pathways to Sustainability: Agendas for a new politics of environment, development and social justice – was chock full of provocations and insights on the STEPS Centre’s “Pathways” concept and what it could mean for sustainability science and action. Among the topics: what sustainability really means; how social and natural scientists talk…

SHIT HAPPENS: SANITATION AND DEVELOPMENT

The British Medical Journal’s podcast this week features Lyla Mehta, STEPS Centre Water and Sanitation convenor, talking about sanitation and the UN MDGs. This week, to steal a line from the latest BMJ editor’s choice, we’ll be talking shit. The millennium development goal on sanitation is way off track; Lyla Mehta, a sociologist from the…

INVESTING IN LAND: THE WORLD BANK REPORT ON RISING GLOBAL INTEREST IN FARMLAND

by Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre co-director There is something for everyone in the long-awaited World Bank report, Rising Global Interest in Farmland: Can it yield sustainable and equitable benefits? Some sections contain a damning critique of the situation; others a positive spin, with a narrative offering a bright future. Not surprisingly, then, the press have…

HUNGRY FOR RESULTS?

By John Thompson, STEPS Centre Food and Agriculture Convenor In advance of the UN Millennium Development Goal (MDG) Summit in New York on 20-22 September, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) released new figures on the number of people worldwide who suffer chronic hunger in 2010. The latest estimates, which will soon be…

SOCIO-ECOLOGICAL DYNAMICS OF DISEASE

We’ve added three new research projects we’re involved in to the website, under the heading “Socio-ecological dynamics of disease”. The projects are all looking at the social, ecological, biological and institutional dynamics of disease. The work focuses particularly on diseases originating in animals, using cases in Africa and Asia. Photo: Fruitbat / Brian Gratwicke /…

WHOSE KNOWLEDGE COUNTS AT WORLD WATER WEEK 2010?

by Timothy Karpouzoglou, research student, SPRU World Water Week (WWW) 2010 is over, leaving me with some questions. Is WWW really about “opening up” or about “closing down” the debate on water resource management? The overall theme for this year WWW has been water quality. WWW aims “to highlight positive action and new thinking towards…

WORLD WATER WEEK: CONTROVERSY AND CONTRASTS

By Lyla Mehta, STEPS Centre Water and Sanitation convenor It’s my fourth day at World Water Week, the annual mecca for policy-makers and players from the World Water Council, the Water and Sanitation Programmes (WSP), Stockholm Water Institute, WaterAid, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), as well as several UN and bilateral agencies such as…

WORLD WATER WEEK: THE SAME OLD STUFF?

by Jeremy Allouche, STEPS Centre Research Fellow Here’s our first blog from World Water Week – some call it ‘the pilgrimage of water’. Well… the price of the pilgrimage (about £650) makes it difficult to attend and it remains very much an elitist club. In this regard, one always wonders how useful these high-level international…

SOCIAL TECHNOLOGIES

There’s an interview with Adrian Smith, STEPS Centre Research Fellow, about “social technologies and niches for sustainable transformation” in the September edition of Saber Cómo (the monthly newsletter of the Argentinean National Institute for Industrial Technology). There are also contributions from Renato Dagnino from Unicamp and Hernan Thomas from Quilmes University. Social technologies are processes…