Embracing uncertainty: lessons from journeys and struggles

Michele Nori, Rose Cairns and Nathan Oxley Embracing uncertainty, by choice or by necessity, is something migrants, victims of political violence, and people holding a religious belief have in common. What could we learn from their experiences about a broader understanding of living with uncertainty, and how can this inform other domains and contexts? This…

Net zero and low-carbon transformation: why targets are not enough

This week, the UN Global Climate Summit meets in New York, calling global leaders to describe how they will meet the challenge of disruptive climate change. The long term target for countries is to reach net zero emissions by 2050. This is a challenge for all countries, including in the industrialised world, not least in…

Climate change: how do we move beyond ‘the Great Derangement’?

by Andrea Nightingale and Lars Otto Naess Climate change has become an ever more pressing and tangible issue. July was the hottest month on record, the IPCC’s report on land and climate change contains stark warnings on the effects of human-induced climate change, the report by the Global Commission on Adaptation is asking for a…

Strikes to science fiction: 4 ways to transform climate and development

by Nathan Oxley and Sophie Marsden The UN Climate Summit next week in New York will once again convene governments to discuss the intimidating challenge of how to coordinate action around climate change. Around the world, a series of strikes are planned to show the depth of support – led by young people, but involving…

Control room

When ignorance does more than you think

Unstudied conditions are avoided as vigilantly as possible—right now, when it matters—by control room operators of large critical infrastructures mandated to operate reliably and safely systemwide. Having failed to fail because an operator was behaving ignorantly is orthogonal to high reliability management. That said, ignorance has differentiated functions in large socio-technical systems—but in ways not…

Trees

Uncertain superlatives

Certainty has such a strong place in politics not just because it serves as the preferred foundation/platform from which to choose to act, but also because certainty supports and drives the belief that any such choice to act can be superlative, i.e., serve as the best or superior or optimal course of action. A key…

A new framework for thinking about technological change

Global development is all about creating change for the better.  One thing is certain: if we want to address the climate breakdown while achieving a high quality of life for all of the Earth’s citizens, it will take a transformation of the way we all live. Technological change will surely be an important part of…

Poster with text: Eradicate Measles

Measles, MMR and vaccines: where do vaccine anxieties come from?

Measles and vaccines are back in the news. The UK has lost its measles-free status, according to Public Health England. The Guardian reports that about 30,000 children are starting primary school next month with no protection against measles, mumps and rubella, while 90,000 have had only the first of the two vaccines necessary for protection….

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

HLPF 2019: Why inclusion and power matter for sustainability

On 9-18 July the UN’s High-Level Political Forum meets to discuss progress on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). This meeting takes the theme of “Empowering people and ensuring inclusiveness and equality“. The theme particularly addresses goals around education, growth and employment, inequality, climate change, peace, justice and inclusion, and partnerships. The theme is a crucial…

Medieval painting of an apocalyptic angel playing a trumpet

Catastrophes of biblical proportions: why the apocalypse is back

In a parliamentary debate in London about climate change and ecology on 1 May, the debate turned to scripture to describe the scale of the problem. “We face catastrophes of biblical proportions: droughts, pestilence, famine, floods, wildfires, mass migration, political instability, war and terrorism. Global civilisation as we know it will be gone by the…