Experimentation to action: how Bioleft is helping to grow an open source seed culture

by Almendra Cremaschi, Patrick van Zwanenberg & Anabel Marin The seed breeding initiative Bioleft has received funding to work with more varieties of seeds in Argentina, and to develop a ‘sister’ initiative in Mexico. Bioleft is an ‘open source’, distributed seed breeding initiative that Cenit researchers, in close collaboration with public sector plant breeders, lawyers,…

Poverty traps: a short film about how people in rural Appalachia see poverty

Poverty is often described as a ‘trap’. How does this reflect the perception of people who live with poverty in their everyday lives? Researchers often use the words ‘poverty trap’ for contexts where systems keep feeding back in a way that maintains a cycle of poverty. It’s not just about a lack of money: poverty…

Creating bridges in Xochimilco through the “Pathways to Sustainability Game”

By Beatriz Ruizpalacios, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, Hallie Eakin, J. Mario Siqueiros-García, Rebecca Shelton, Pathways Network The urban wetland in Xochimilco, Mexico City, and the traditional agricultural areas within it, are undergoing rapid change and degradation, driven in part by the lack of regulation of urban growth near and within the wetland ecosystem. Strategizing on the best…

Sheet with diagrams and writing

Living Aulas: What connects ‘undisciplinary’ research on sustainability?

by Almendra Cremaschi and Rebecca Shelton, Pathways Network In the context of climate change and the rise of research about and towards transformations to sustainability, being an early career researcher has huge potential for learning and praxis but at the same time is filled with challenges and questions. New and deeper ways of reflecting and…

Creating a map with drawings and colourful objects

Mapping a transforming world in the Sierra Huichol, Mexico

by Shiara González, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph, and Beth Tellman The Wixáritari communities, better known as Huichol, are mainly located within the Sierra Madre Occidental, north of Jalisco state, Mexico. These communities, like many others in the world, and particularly in the Americas, are subject to pressures from the ‘Western’ world which are the catalyst for many…

Just Transitions as a process with communities, not for communities

Societal transitions towards a new energy regime are underway in order to shift society back towards a more sustainable state of functioning. However, this pathway is not without trade-offs and equity challenges, related not only to the future distribution and production of energy from renewable energy sources, but also for communities that have supported the…

Theory of change

What ‘agency’ do researchers have in transformative research projects?

by Hallie Eakin, Lakshmi Charli-Joseph and J. Mario Siqueiros In our PATHWAYS network case  in Xochimilco, Mexico City, we are exploring whether people can have ‘agency’ to make a difference to very complex socio-ecological problems. Xochimilco is a degraded but very culturally, ecologically and economically meaningful wetland system in the south of Mexico City. In…

Composite image of a segment of the sun showing different light wavelengths

What does transformative research for sustainability look like?

by Patrick van Zwanenberg, Hallie Eakin, Ethemcan Turhan, Mutizwa Mukute and Fiona Marshall Efforts to nurture more sustainable, just futures are happening all around us, albeit in the context of a rapidly changing and highly unequal world that is on the brink of irrevocably dismantling the ecological foundations that sustain human life. The researchers and…

tending vegetables

A day in the Chinampas

In the wetlands of Xochimilco in Mexico, farming is carried out in a system going back to Mesoamerican times, in chinampas – rectangular floating fields growing crops on a shallow lake. The area is changing rapidly with competing pressures from farming, urbanization and pollution, and we’ve been exploring how local people can respond to this…

Boundary object

How rethinking local people’s agency could help navigate Xochimilco’s troubled waters

Xochimilco, Mexico City is the last remnant of the complex lacustrine system of wetlands that was the basis for agriculture and livelihoods (the chinampa system) in pre-Columbian times. However, the water is no longer provided by natural springs, but is reliant on the discharge of treated wastewater from the neighboring, densely populated and impoverished borough…