FINDING PATHWAYS IN AN AGE OF ANXIETY

We’re living in an age of anxiety where politicians, policy makers and the public search for solutions to narrowly-defined problems and risks. At the recent CRASSH conference, “Challenging Models in the Face of Uncertainty”, Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre Director, spoke about how this search for solutions can lead to social injustice. She argues for a…

SHIT AND CITIZENSHIP

In the last 15 years, the way sanitation is treated in Brazil has changed dramatically. The picture of poor investment and danger to public health is being replaced by climbing investment and a vision of sanitation as an issue of rights, dignity and equity. The seminar “Shit and Citizenship: The Political Economy of Sanitation Investment…

31 OCTOBER: DEBATE ON ENGINEERING, CAUTION AND UTOPIA

Professor Andy Stirling, STEPS Centre Co-Director, will be part of a keynote debate entitled “Engineering the future: cautionary tale or utopia?” on Sunday. The debate is part of the Battle of Ideas festival at the Royal College of Art in London. “Are we are living in a world where utopian thinking is at best idle…

STEPS CONFERENCE 2010: VIDEO

Our conference featured keynote speeches with ideas on sustainability and the sciences; and a roundtable on policy for the 2012 Earth Summit. Keynote speech 1: Prof Melissa Leach, STEPS Centre Melissa explains the STEPS Centre’s “pathways” concept, with illustrations from our work on health, water & sanitation, and food & agriculture. Keynote speech 2: Prof…

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 /…