A big-picture view on the climate negotiations: how can transformation(s) happen in practice?

by Hans Nicolai Adam and Synne Movik As the world stares at alarming evidence of climate change impacts, the search for ‘big bang’ solutions remains challenging. The situation requires nothing short of an unprecedented transformation to a low-carbon society, on the heels of decades of polluting growth. The disappointing outcomes of the COP 25 in…

How to respond to Nature in crisis: look beyond the big stories

The STEPS Centre’s theme for 2020 is Natures. In this introductory blog post by Amber Huff and Nathan Oxley, we look at four lines of enquiry that can help us get behind big stories of crisis. Modern life seems to be increasingly defined through anxiety about humanity’s perverse relationship with nature. Everywhere we look, we…

The Philippines has rated ‘Golden Rice’ safe, but farmers might not plant it

by Glenn Davis Stone and Dominic Glover “Golden Rice” is probably the world’s most hotly debated genetically modified organism (GMO). It was intended to be a beta carotene-enriched crop to reduce Vitamin A deficiency, a health problem in very poor areas. But it has never been offered to farmers for planting. Why not? Because Golden…

Human capabilities for innovation in UK makerspaces

by Cian O’Donovan and Adrian Smith Makerspaces can be a source of human capabilities that benefit people and society. But these capabilities will only lead to flourishing communities if they are accompanied by structural changes to our economies, cities and environment. Using lasers to precision-cut plywood is not easy. When Toni Buckby began running classes…

Community, belonging, identity

Yesterday, Andrea Nightingale visited IDS and we had a discussion about ‘boundary-making’. Her research in Nepal looks critically at what boundaries mean, how they are made, and how they are constantly being remade and renegotiated. From purity codes, caste, class and gender boundaries, to disagreements about access to water, boundaries shape people’s lives, but they’re…

helicopter flying with high mountains in background

The 2020 Davos Manifesto: A Manifesto for the Past, Rather than the Future

Out of the networking orgy that is the World Economic Forum (WEF) has emerged the Davos Manifesto 2020: ‘The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution’.  Unfortunately, the document is likely to fall short in its objective to improve the state of the world, writes Adrian Ely. It’s the 49th anniversary of…

India’s new citizenship act threatens the country’s constitution

A version of this post first appeared on the Institute of Development Studies website. Since the end of 2019, India has been rocked by protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and the proposed National Register of Citizens Register (NRC). Protests initially began in Assam, West Bengal and New Delhi and have since spread across…

Boris Johnson and Donald Trump standing on a staircase together

Rural support for authoritarian populism is strong – but another way is possible

The rise of authoritarian populism continues. Now the UK has a fully signed-up version in its new right-wing government, with allies in Trump, Modi, Bolsarano, Orban and others. It is a dangerous, but perhaps inevitable, trend. The soul-searching on the Left after the UK election rather belatedly diagnosed the problem. It has been long in…

A Tale of Crab Farming in Satkhira: Navigating Uncertainties ‘from below’ in the Sundarbans

The TAPESTRY research project is exploring how transformations may occur ‘from below’ in marginal environments with high levels of uncertainty. In this blog post, Shababa Haque and Mahmuda Mity, part of the research team in Bangladesh, share this story of people living on the ‘front line’ of drastic environmental changes in the Sundarbans. In the…

maize

What can the land-water-environment ‘nexus’ do for young farmers in Kenya?

The agrifood system is one of the best examples of the ‘nexus’ of land, water, and the environment. In Kenya, as in some other African countries, there is a push to get young people to return to farming. But the way this is promoted often fails to demonstrate how young farmers ought to respond to…