Change mural

Post-pandemic transformations: new directions for development studies?

by Melissa Leach, Hayley MacGregor and Ian Scoones Does the pandemic reveal new directions for development studies? This was the focus of discussion at a recent IDS seminar. A new paper in World Development on ‘post-pandemic transformations’ by a group of us at IDS was the starting point. Although the pandemic is far from over, some…

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…

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….

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…

The ‘weight’ of humanity: questions on Attenborough’s ‘A Life On Our Planet’

Two images stand out in David Attenborough’s new film A Life On Our Planet. The first is of the “blue marble”, the Earth, viewed from a spacecraft for the first time in the early 1950s. Seen from space, the Earth appears as a small disc, finite, lonely in the black void. The second image comes…

Wind turbines at sea

Nuclear vs renewables: what’s better for climate mitigation?

This is an adapted version of a Nature.com blog by Prof Benjamin K. Sovacool and Prof Andy Stirling, to accompany the publication of their paper “Differences in carbon emissions reduction between countries pursuing renewable electricity versus nuclear power” in Nature Energy. A University of Sussex press release also summarises the paper’s findings and policy recommendations….