Don’t save ‘the world’ – embrace a pluriverse!

by Saurabh Arora and Andy Stirling The United Nations is 75 years old on 24 October 2020. It’s an unfortunate year to be reaching this milestone. Apart from global pandemic turmoil, there are many critical challenges including mass extinctions of languages and species, rising inequality, and climate disruptions. Arguably now more than ever, addressing these…

Rebuilding same or rebuilding different? Critical questions in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan

by Upasona Ghosh, Shibaji Bose, Debdatta Chakraborty, TAPESTRY project “We will build it again. We have done the same before and might have to do it many a time in future,” says Rakesh Mondal, a middle-aged resident of Kultoli block in the Indian Sundarbans, looking at his near-flattened house. The house took a direct hit…

control dials

Modernity Without its Clothes: the pandemic crisis shines a light on futilities of control

With so many self-appointed pundits (like me!) currently locked down with their laptops, the present rush of commentary on how to pivot the coronavirus crisis is hardly surprising. Beyond the general news and commentary, scores of articles are exploding across the media, diagnosing what this global catastrophe means, and prescribing how it can be turned…

1970s illustration of two heads facing each other with cut out section showing cogs

Post-normal pandemics: Why COVID-19 requires a new approach to science

Guest post by David Waltner-Toews1, Annibale Biggeri2, Bruna De Marchi3, Silvio Funtowicz3, Mario Giampietro4,5, Martin O’Connor6,7, Jerome R. Ravetz8, Andrea Saltelli3,9 and Jeroen P. van der Sluijs3,10 READ THIS ARTICLE IN SPANISH: See alternative translations published by Democracia Sur and our partners Bioleft. In addressing pandemics, science has never seemed more needed and useful, while…

A big-picture view on the climate negotiations: how can transformation(s) happen in practice?

by Hans Nicolai Adam and Synne Movik As the world stares at alarming evidence of climate change impacts, the search for ‘big bang’ solutions remains challenging. The situation requires nothing short of an unprecedented transformation to a low-carbon society, on the heels of decades of polluting growth. The disappointing outcomes of the COP 25 in…

maize

What can the land-water-environment ‘nexus’ do for young farmers in Kenya?

The agrifood system is one of the best examples of the ‘nexus’ of land, water, and the environment. In Kenya, as in some other African countries, there is a push to get young people to return to farming. But the way this is promoted often fails to demonstrate how young farmers ought to respond to…

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…

Sustainable Energy Policy in Germany: A Case of Natural Gas Lock-in

A new Working Paper from STEPS Summer School alumni seeks to explain why (and how) natural gas has assumed such a dominant role in German energy policy, and at what cost. The authors call upon fellow researchers to challenge the increasing dominance of gas in energy systems worldwide, and to intervene in academic, NGO and…

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…

Uncertain futures and the politics of uncertainty

Since writing The Romantic Economist – Imagination in Economics (2009) I have been fascinated by the link between the human capacity to imagine new futures and the prevalence of uncertainty. Imagination is both the ultimate cause of much of the uncertainty we face and our best tool for coping with it. This month sees the…