Challenging sustainability research: how can methods make a difference?

 by Marina Apgar and Rose Cairns, Methods theme convenors In this introductory blogpost for the STEPS theme on Methods, we discuss three meanings of sustainability research as ‘challenging research’. Methods make a difference to the potential of research to challenge power; yet power also deeply shapes the way research is framed, carried out and interpreted….

The STEPS Centre’s final year: reflections on a 15-year journey

by Ian Scoones and Andy Stirling, STEPS co-directors 2021 is the final year of the ESRC STEPS Centre. Established in 2006, but with an even longer backstory, we have come a long way. This blog post reflects on the journey, and looks forward to the future. As the formal version of the Centre at Sussex…

weird flower

“The world has become weird”: crisis, natures and radical re-enchantment

In this essay, Amber Huff and Nathan Oxley reflect on questions that have emerged through Natures, the STEPS Centre’s theme throughout 2020. Dear Reader, I hope that this essay finds you well in these turbulent times. When we last reached out in this format nearly one year ago, at the beginning of 2020, it was…

comic illustration

The Killing Famine: an outsider’s view of conservation and colonialism

The Killing Famine is an original comic by the artist Tim Zocco, who has been working with the STEPS Centre throughout 2020. In this piece, Tim Zocco reflects on a strange encounter with mining and conservation in Madagascar, leading to a glimpse into a horrifying chapter in the country’s colonial history. The most successful liars…

Weird ecologies

In this short post, Amber Huff (STEPS/IDS) and Adrian Nel (University of KwaZulu Natal) introduce the idea of ‘weird ecologies’ and explains why ‘the Weird’ has such an enduring appeal in culture and philosophy. The piece is followed by an original comic by Tim Zocco for the STEPS Natures year, a weird expedition into the…

Union flag made of farm produce

Genome editing in post-Brexit agriculture: Which way for the UK?

Angela Noland, Dominic Glover and Adrian Ely In less than a month’s time, the UK’s relationship with the European Union will change dramatically. Agriculture and food will be among the biggest areas affected – from production methods and supply routes to labelling and product standards. A lot will depend on the outcomes of trade negotiations….

How do we study mangrove ecology with pastoralists in Kachchh?

by Ranit Chaterjee, Pankaj Joshi, Mahendra Bhanani, Mahesh Garva and Nobuhito Ohte As part of the TAPESTRY project, we are working to understand the ecology of mangroves in Kachchh, on the western coast of India. Mangroves are an important part of the ecology of the district, providing shelter for animal life and shorelines, but are…

Transformation in a crisis: reflections on research and action

This is a personal reflection from Lyla Mehta on the Transformations to Sustainability mid-term workshop, which took place virtually in June 2020. Find out more about the meeting and see all related content on the T2S website. The world has changed dramatically since the Transformations to Sustainability projects started in late 2018. For one, we…

Don’t save ‘the world’ – embrace a pluriverse!

by Saurabh Arora and Andy Stirling The United Nations is 75 years old on 24 October 2020. It’s an unfortunate year to be reaching this milestone. Apart from global pandemic turmoil, there are many critical challenges including mass extinctions of languages and species, rising inequality, and climate disruptions. Arguably now more than ever, addressing these…

Farmer with livestock

Does the African Green Revolution include smallholder farmers?

This year’s African Green Revolution Forum (AGRF) took place online, hosted out of Kigali, Rwanda. Chaired by the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), the AGRF is a high-profile global summit that brings together international donor agencies, governments, African leaders and agribusinesses. The summit is an annual opportunity for them to plan, mobilise…