Time to rei(g)n back the Anthropocene?

I was very lucky to be able to participate in last week’s Stockholm Resilience Centre conference on ‘Transformations 2015: People and Planet in the Anthropocene‘. Involving a dynamic and highly policy-influential global interdisciplinary community, this was a large, friendly and very interactive meeting. It more-than-fully lived up to the very high standards set by earlier…

Why livelihoods perspectives still matter

Livelihoods perspectives have become increasingly central to discussions of rural development over the past few decades. They have offered a way of integrating sectoral concerns and rooting development in the specifics of different settings. Central to livelihoods perspectives is an understanding of what people do to make a living in diverse circumstances and social contexts….

What lies behind the UK’s strange policy on nuclear power?

The UK chancellor George Osborne has recently made further commitments to support massive new investment in nuclear infrastructure, including the much-criticised Hinkley C power station. Why is the UK determined to press ahead, in the face of much criticism? SPRU researcher Philip Johnstone and STEPS co-director Andy Stirling have written a new article for The…

How can African agriculture adapt to an uncertain climate? 

 By Stephen Whitfield, Lecturer: Climate Change & Food Security, University of Leeds  Often operating at the margins of sustainability, for smallholder farming systems in Africa the challenge of adapting to uncertain climatic change is particularly acute. Across international research and development programmes, a variety of technologies, agronomic innovations, and cropping systems are advocated as the means to a green revolution; a future…

El Niño predictions signal urgent need to prepare for Rift Valley fever epidemics in eastern Africa

Recent climate predictions suggest East Africa may be in line for an epidemic of Rift Valley fever (RVF) – an infectious disease which can hit people, their livestock and livelihoods, and national economies hard.

Woman stands beside a water pump in Zimbabwe.

Politics of Integrated Water Resources Management in southern Africa

For the past two decades, Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) has been the dominant paradigm in water resources. It is the flagship project of global bodies such as the Global Water Partnership (GWP). It has also been actively promoted by a range of multilateral and bilateral donors which consider it to be the path to address water governance…

Bringing vehicle sharing to China

by Dr Dennis Zuev (Research Associate, Lancaster University) & Dr David Tyfield (Reader, Lancaster University) Car-sharing is the fastest growing urban mobility innovation worldwide but is yet to take off in Chinese cities. According to a recent Roland Berger report, the Chinese car sharing market is still developing, but it has very high potential. It is expected to grow around 80% per year until 2018. There are…

Moving beyond products to material culture

Prototyping or debating sustainable developments in makerspaces? In the previous blog I introduced some of the diverse ways that makerspaces are helping cultivate sustainable developments. Admittedly, these initiatives do not represent the totality of makerspaces, where many projects and activities are oblivious to demands for sustainable developments. In this blog I discuss some of the challenges…

Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too. Amidst the claims and aims people bring to this collaborative flourishing of tool-based creativity is an argument that makerspaces can become experimental sites for the pursuit of…

Sustainability: the next 50 years

Accelerating sustainability is a challenge that defines our era. A new Institute of Development Studies (IDS) paper by Hubert Schmitz and Ian Scoones, Accelerating Sustainability: Why Political Economy Matters (pdf), brings together what we can learn from development studies and from sustainability studies to understand this challenge and move forward. Their starting point is that…