People sit around a table talking about sustainable food systems.

Why local land matters for sustainable food systems

Land presents both challenges and opportunities for establishing sustainable food systems. That is one of the learning points from a workshop in Brighton on 7 December 2016. Stakeholders joining the discussions included local small-scale producers, retailers of sustainable produce, non-governmental organisations (Food Matters and The Gaia Foundation), and researchers from the University of Sussex and…

Trump and Brexit: what’s the alternative?

Sometimes when you suffer trauma, you have to look elsewhere to seek out radically new ways of framing things in order to recover. This year we’ve suffered two major traumas – Brexit and the US elections. Who would have believed our world would have been radically reshaped in the space of a few short months?…

Farming in the UK: can we nourish ourselves from this land?

The recent dispute over food prices between the UK’s largest supermarket chain, Tesco, and the UK’s biggest food and grocery manufacturer, Unilever shines a light on a deeper problem in the global food system: our reliance on food that is grown elsewhere. This is compounded by a drive for healthy eating in the UK which…

biogas in italy

Hot debate about biogas: lessons from Italy

A new STEPS working paper by Bianca Cavicchi and Adrian Ely examines the history of biogas as a source of energy in the region of Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. Over the last few decades, the potential of biogas in Emilia Romagna has been explored and debated by different agencies and people. But it has not…

Hinkley C: why is the UK building a new nuclear power plant?

Today the UK government approved Britain’s first new nuclear power plant in 20 years at Hinkley Point C. Many of the reactions to the decision have been critical for a number of reasons, including cost, the role of foreign investment and the way that the decision has been made. STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is quoted…

Science, Brexit and ‘post-truth’ politics

STEPS co-director Andy Stirling is one of six researchers writing in the Guardian on ‘science after Brexit’. A longer version of his part of the Guardian article is below. The current woes of British democracy are grim and momentous. This is no time for gratuitous piggy-backing of other issues. The early indications of ‘Brexit’ specifically…

Civilising Hypocrisies and Fundamental Questions: on “emancipating transformations”

This week Manchester Tyndall Centre hosted a provocative and highly interesting seminar. Professor Andy Stirling, who spent the 80s in the trenches for Greenpeace, had schlepped up to deliver a seminar on “Emancipating Transformations.” What they? Read on for an (almost) blow by blow account. [My multiple two centses are in square brackets like these.]

Understanding the Anthropocene: blog series

We now live in an era where humankind has become the dominant force behind global environmental change. Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer introduced the term “Anthropocene” to reflect the growing impacts of human activities on the earth and the atmosphere. Sixteen years on from its introduction, it’s clear that the concept has gained traction in…

How do we reform fossil fuel subsidies?

The idea of reforming fossil fuel subsidies is attracting attention in both academic and policy circles. The environmental and economic aspects of subsidies and their reform have been much debated, but the political aspects are less prominent in the discussion. STEPS member Peter Newell gave a keynote talk at ‘The Politics of Fossil Fuel Subsidies…

Learning from the past about rapid transition

What can history teach us for the task of rapid transition in the face of climate change and corrosive inequality? Historian Molly Conisbee, a speaker at this week’s Transformations events at the Hay Festival, has written about how communities adapted during Britain’s dramatic urban growth and upheaval in the 18th and 19th centuries. In a…