Why should we seek sustainable developments in makerspaces?

Community-based workshops like hackerspaces, fablabs and makerspaces, equipped with design, prototyping and fabrication tools have spread rapidly in recent years. Interest in the social, economic and environmental possibilities of these spaces has grown too. Amidst the claims and aims people bring to this collaborative flourishing of tool-based creativity is an argument that makerspaces can become experimental sites for the pursuit of…

Why Germany is dumping nuclear power – and Britain isn’t

by Philip Johnstone and Andy Stirling The starkly differing nuclear policies of Germany and the UK present perhaps the clearest divergence in developed world energy strategies. Under the current major Energy Transition (Energiewende), Germany is seeking to entirely phase out nuclear power by 2022. Yet the UK has for many years advocated a “nuclear renaissance”,…

Resource politics: living in the Anthropocene

By Ian Scoones, Director of the STEPS Centre This week we are hosting a major conference at the STEPS Centre at Sussex on resource politics. There are panels looking at everything from mining to wildlife to carbon to water, with big themes cross-cutting on: Scarcity, politics and securitization; Resource grabbing; Governance, elites, citizenship and democracy;…

Submerged origins of UK nuclear lock-in?

By Andy Stirling, STEPS Co-Director and Phil Johnstone, Research Fellow at SPRU – Science Policy Research Unit Many legitimately contrasting views are possible on the pros and cons of nuclear power. But when seen in a global context, successive UK Governments are quite striking in their tendencies to adopt partisan positions. Growing evidence is persistently…

Does the Anthropocene mean we have to ‘put democracy on hold’?

Our co-director Andy Stirling is at the 2015 conference of the International Society for the Systems Sciences in Berlin today, and sent us this abstract of his keynote, ‘Emancipating Transformations: from Anthropocene control to culturing systems’: “Current global environmental governance reverberates with talk of a new ‘Anthropocene epoch’ defined by ‘human domination’, in which a…

Resilience 2014: Limits revisited? Planetary boundaries, justice and power

By Melissa Leach, IDS Director In 1972 Meadows et al’s Limits to Growth made scientific and policy waves, as its ‘World3’ model predicted the end of growth and prosperity as rising, consuming populations ran up against resource limits. In critique, SPRU (Science and Technology Policy Research) at the University of Sussex offered alternative models predicting…

Resilience 2014: Planetary boundaries, politics and pathways

How can we build development pathways that enhance sustainability and resilience, integrating ecological integrity, social equality, human rights, well-being and security? That was the tough question at the centre of Professor Melissa Leach’s presentation at the Resilience 2014 conference in Montpellier, France, this morning. Prof. Leach, former STEPS Centre Director and new IDS Director, opened the second day of the conference in…

Video: Melissa Leach on ‘science-governance challenges in the Anthropocene’

Here’s a video of Melissa Leach highlighting the importance of social justice and governance in thinking about planetary boundaries, as part of a seminar on challenges for the Anthropocene hosted by the Stockholm Resilience Centre in November 2013.

Democracy in the Anthropocene?

Planetary boundaries / Illustration from Global Change magazine STEPS Centre director Melissa Leach recently wrote in the Huffington Post: “When the cover of the Economist famously announced ‘Welcome to the anthropocene’ a couple of years ago, was it welcoming us to a new geological epoch, or a dangerous new world of undisputed scientific authority and…