The financialisation of nature

Financialization describes an economic system or process that aims to reduce all values into a financial instrument. As part of this process, nature is treated as a private resource or financial asset with neo-liberal, market-based approaches increasingly being adopted to protect the environment, such as payments for ecosystems processes. The School of Global Studies (through…

Iran’s environmental crisis: why we should be mindful of depicting a dystopian future

In our age of computers and satellites, our sense of both urgency and fear has become central to the process of addressing environmental challenges. This sense of necessity for urgent action can be seen in calls to tackle climate change, biodiversity loss and extinctions, ocean acidification, etc. It comes as no surprise that addressing them…

What is Ecological Civilisation? 

The Chinese Communist Party last week held its annual plenum in Beijing at which details of the country’s 13th Five Year Plan, from 2016 to 2020, were set out for the first time. The plan, say commentators, will be notably green, with an emphasis on an economic transition to slower, innovation-led growth, and more stringent…

The Anthropocene, control and responsibility: a reply to Andy Stirling

By Johan Rockström (Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre). This post is a slightly edited version of an email response and follows a blogpost by Andy Stirling on the Anthropocene, and Laura Pereira’s comments on Prof Stirling’s post. I tend to place myself in between the two of you, Andy and Laura. The Anthropocene is nothing more…

What can development learn from China’s approach to reform?

By Lewis Husain and Adrian Ely At the launch of the STEPS China hub in Beijing this year, there was much talk of learning from China’s development experiences. A key question was how the Chinese government has been able to manage such massive change at a national level, whilst at the same time catering for…

Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical

Today sees the publication of “Laudato Si”, the Pope’s encyclical on the environment. Encyclicals are for Catholics (and there are 1.2 billion of them in the world) but in this one, Pope Francis aims to “address every person who inhabits this planet”. In it, he warns of the impacts of climate change and calls for…

Watch video: ‘India’s Risks’ book launch

You can now watch video of the launch event of the book ‘India’s Risks: Democratizing the Management of Threats to Environment, Health and Values’. The video features contributions from Professor M V Rajeev Gowda, Honorable Member of Parliament and Prof Ian Scoones, STEPS Centre Director. The launch event was held at the British Council in…

‘Thousands of models’: Planetary boundaries, values & power

The role of current patterns of human habitation in earth systems processes is pushing beyond planetary boundaries; which is to say our impacts on climate and biosphere risk tipping our environments into states dangerous to our societies. As Katherine Richardson from Copenhagen University puts it, “Earth is familiar with large environmental changes, but modern human…

Informing the UK’s approach to SDGs

A Parliamentary inquiry about the UK’s position and approach to the development targets to replace the millennium development goals has published evidence from the ESRC STEPS Centre. The Environmental Audit Committee’s inquiry is looking at how best the UK can move forward on setting and implementing the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

Political Ecology: resources, power and justice

With conceptual roots in political economy and cultural ecology, as well as close relationships with development studies and science and technology studies, the multidisciplinary field of political ecology shares a number of theoretical and methodological complementarities with the STEPS Centre’s pathways approach. In early September 2014, the Lancaster Environment Centre at Lancaster University hosted an…