Reflections on Authoritarian Populism: Democracy, Technology and Ecological Destruction

Using anarchist critique to unearth the ‘roots’ of authoritarian populism can offer a productive gateway for understanding the origins and continuation of socio-ecological and economic crises. The language of ‘authoritarian populism’ creates the potential for a broad spectrum of inquiry, which can ignite timely and much-needed debate on the nature and mechanisms of authoritarian political…

tree pattern

Politics in the language of uncertainty

Uncertainty is not a condition out there in the world. It is a state of knowledge – deeply embedded and shaped in society. The difference may seem abstract. But it could hardly be of more profound or practical importance. And this has arguably never been more true than in today’s turbulent world. One key upshot…

Embracing uncertainty: what are the implications for sustainability and development?

Uncertainty is a concept that defines our times. Every media headline seems to assert that things are uncertain, and increasingly so. Whether it’s climate change, disease outbreaks, economic conditions or political settlements, the same narrative exists. Helga Nowotny, in her book The Cunning of Uncertainty, argues that “uncertainty is written into the script of life”….

Uncertainty is a concept that defines our times. Every media headline seems to assert that things are uncertain, and increasingly so. Whether it’s climate change, disease outbreaks, economic conditions or political settlements, the same narrative exists. Helga Nowotny, in her book The Cunning of Uncertainty, argues that “uncertainty is written into the script of life”….

Are alternative visions missing from the debates about sustainability transitions?

by Kasper Ampe, Michael Kriechbaum and Sofie Sandin In June 2018 we attended the IST (International Sustainability Transitions) conference in Manchester. It was a repeat visit for all of us, but this time we left the conference rather puzzled – with the STEPS Centre’s summer school in the back of our minds. In the summer…

A car drives on a mountain road with clouds of smoke in the background

What do we do about the heatwave?

The heatwave has turned deadly. Tinder-dry fields and forests in Europe, most dramatically in Greece, have burst into flames, with catastrophic results. Crops are failing; for some, the health risks of the heat are critical. These events have added urgency and weight to the calls to put the weather in context. A hot day is…

Round icon with colours representing the Sustainable Development Goals

How can the Sustainable Development Goals be transformative?

The theme of this year’s High-level Political Forum on sustainable development is “Transformation towards sustainable and resilient societies.” The HLPF meets every year to review progress towards the Sustainable Development Goals. This year’s event runs from 9-18 July, with a ministerial meeting on 16-18 July. The Sustainable Development Goals aim to be transformative: they focus…

New insights on navigating complexity in development

by Marina Apgar and Eric Kasper, Institute of Development Studies The challenges of development are complex. Insights about the nature of complexity – coming from various scientific disciplines – lead us to conclude that complex adaptive (social) systems cannot be managed in a formal top-down sense. The best we can do is to find ways…

Outdoor exhibition with prototype pedal tractor and solar panels

Forking the SDGs: How prototypes could transform the new global goals

Sustainable alternatives often come about through prototypes, from DIY electronics repair to ecohousing, agricultural tools to digital knowledge platforms. Prototypes are often small (at least to begin with) and local, but they can yield surprising results – sometimes becoming mainstream technologies like wind turbines, or ways of doing things like car clubs. This makes prototypes…

Xi Jinping and François Hollande in Paris

Can China be a global climate leader?

President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement has sparked off another round of intense global discussion on China’s potential as a global leader on climate. Since last week, there appears to be a widespread desire for China and Europe to forge a stronger alliance to lead global efforts…

Discussion round a table

Rethinking transformative pathways to equitable growth in Kenya: key research options for the Kenya’s Newton Utafiti Fund

Kenya has witnessed a proliferation of research interventions on both international and national fronts. The country is a host to renowned research and development agencies such as the CGIAR, UN bodies plus several regional research, advocacy and policy bodies all of which are working to fix Kenya’s and wider Africa’s sustainability challenges.  Through these interventions,…