Cities, Uncertainty and Systems Change

Depending who and where you are in the world, you will be experiencing the effects of climate change differently. Here in the UK, the recent hot-weather days in February might have felt unsettling, even as your body welcomed the warmth and sunshine. Meanwhile, people in some parts of the United States were caught in freezing…

Dam viewed from above

Rediscovering the Water-Food-Energy Nexus

A few months ago, I presented the findings of a new book, The Water-Food-Energy Nexus: Power, Politics and Justice, to an International Water Association conference on the same topic at Salerno. To my great surprise, I was the only social scientist out of 200 participants. Nexus approaches help to bridge the separate domains of water,…

A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Realising the SDGs: why a sustainable livelihoods approach can help

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched with great fanfare in September 2015. This was an ambitious agenda for the whole world, aiming to transform development towards sustainability, while leaving no-one behind. I was excited by the prospects. Back then, I expressed the hope that this was perhaps the moment when a new politics of…

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

Why politics matters for transformations for sustainability

The Sustainable Development Goals are the focus of global efforts towards better quality of life for all around the world. The 17 goals recognise the need to approach many aspects of development together. Not just change is needed, but transformation. This transformation goes beyond the need to find technical solutions. Changes in policies will come…

farmers in dryland landscape

Five problems with ‘integrated assesment’ models, and what to do about them

What are the most appropriate ways of understanding changes in natural resource change in rural areas, particularly in the context of climate change? How can we make use of data that is patchy and uncertain? How can models help decision-making about future management? These questions are at the heart of three recently published journal articles…

Milk market

Pastoralist milk is a viable commodity. What enables it to flourish?

Pastoralists’ integration into market dynamics is mostly addressed through the lens of trade in meat products, involving male traders. Pastoral milk, mostly traded by women, is often ignored. But good production of healthy milk is definitely the best way to ensure the efficiency and effectiveness of a pastoral system at whatever level. Milk is central…

Triple exposure photograph with road sign reading 'Autres Directions'

Towards a more convivial politics of science

This is the last in a series of three blog posts by Andy Stirling about the theme of the STEPS Centre for 2019: Uncertainty. In previous blogposts in this series, I argued that not all is as it seems in the politics of incertitude. Deep intractabilities are papered over with the apparently precise language of…

How politics closes down uncertainty

This is the second in a series of blog posts on uncertainty by Andy Stirling. The first one is here and the third in the series is here. In a previous blog post, I discussed how uncertainty is a subjective state of knowledge, not an objective condition in the world. The example of nuclear accident…

University of Rwanda

How can knowledge systems in East Africa contribute to sustainable development?

Unpacking Knowledge Systems for sustainable development in East Africa: Practical perspectives from Kenya, Rwanda and Tanzania by Joanes Atela, Fiona Marshall, Nora Ndege, Joanna Chataway, Andy Frost and Andy Hall, Knowledge Systems Project Science, Technology and Innovation (STI) is rising up the agenda in East Africa – and it is being embraced as a way…