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….

Thriving in an ever-changing world: from technocratic control to emancipatory care?

This is the fourth and last in a series of blog posts on the climate by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, under the heading: ‘Controlling a stable planetary climate – or caring for a complex changing Earth?’ Read part 1 / part 2 / part 3 The first three in this quartet of blogposts explored whether…

control dials

Betraying the climate? Has environmentalism succumbed to a modernity it hitherto resisted?

This is the third in a series of four blog posts on the climate by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, under the heading: ‘Controlling a stable planetary climate – or caring for a complex changing Earth?’ Read Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 4 In the first two of this quartet of blogposts, I asked…

Does the delusion of ‘climate control’ do more harm than good to climate disruption?

This is the second in a series of four blog posts on the climate by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, under the heading: ‘Controlling a stable planetary climate – or caring for a complex changing Earth?’ Read Part 1 / Part 3 / Part 4 In the first post of this series of four, I asked…

Person with full-body protective clothing walks behind a fence

Pandemics: why a new science is needed

What do bubonic plague, Lyme disease, Ebola, Marburg disease, Nipah, sleeping sickness, Lassa fever, avian influenza, Western equine encephalitis, SARS and COVID-19 have in common? All are zoonotic diseases, ones that have jumped from animals to humans. Not all have turned into pandemics – where a disease spreads across multiple countries – but some certainly…

pastoralism and uncertainty course heading

Online course: Pastoralism and Uncertainty

A new online course introduces key debates and concepts about pastoralism, and explores the varying ways that pastoralists respond to uncertainty around the world. Based on the work of PASTRES, a research programme linked to the STEPS Centre, the course is aimed at students, practitioners and policy-makers. It is divided into 13 parts with a…

Comic: ‘These Days…’ Covid, crisis and beyond

In our Natures theme for 2020, we are collaborating with the artist Tim Zocco. In the comic ‘These Days…’, a glimpse of a future age shaped by traumatic events, Zocco reflects on crisis, the difficulties of predicting radical change and thinking about what is to come. It’s the first in a series of creative responses…

allotments

Food in the time of Covid-19: how can local action and national coordination work together?

As we approach the end of week 7 of the UK government’s Covid-19 social distancing measures, we have been witnessing a combination of remarkable efforts to sustain the country through this challenging time.  Workers from the National Health Service (supplemented by volunteer responders) and other ‘key workers’ are applauded across the country on a weekly…

Five lessons from past global influenza outbreaks for COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic is a rare event in its scale and spread. But in responding to it, people have been looking at lessons from other outbreaks of infectious disease. What are the patterns in the ways that governments and people respond, and why have some widely-known lessons been ignored again and again? One source of…