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…

UK press conference

Science, uncertainty and the COVID-19 response

One of the abiding images of the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak in the UK has been the Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, looking nervous and uncomfortable, flanked by his scientific advisors at the regular press conferences. With three white men in suits in a wood-panelled room, the aim presumably was to project a sense of control and…

Politicising Pathways: illustrating Relational Power using the Vulnerability Walk

Blog post by Soundarya Iyer, Sayan Das, Uma Dey Sarkar, Natasha Maru, Nimita Pandey and Masresha Taye. In an increasingly complex and dynamic world, how can we envision and strive for sustainable development that upholds ideals of environmental integrity and social justice? This question is central to the endeavours of the STEPS centre, including its…

A participatory approach to initiating transformative actions from the bottom-up

Jai and Ketaki Bhadgaonkar (Bombay 61) give this report from the Ideation Workshop in Mumbai for the TAPESTRY project.  Versova Koliwada is one of the most thriving fishing villages in the city of Mumbai. It is important to address the concerns and uncertainties around the sustenance of those who live in this village. The TAPESTRY…

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…

Six pathways identified for sustainable groundwater futures in Africa

by John Thompson, Imogen Bellwood-Howard, Gebrehaweria Gebregziabher, Mohammad Shamsudduha, Richard Taylor, Devotha Kilave, Andrew Tarimo and Japhet Kashaigili Groundwater is likely to become more important as a livelihood resource in Sub-Saharan Africa, as climatic change alters the reliability of rainfall and surface water flows. More than four years ago, an international group of collaborators embarked…

A colourful chart showing the 17 Sustainable Development Goals

Realising the SDGs: why a sustainable livelihoods approach can help

The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) were launched with great fanfare in September 2015. This was an ambitious agenda for the whole world, aiming to transform development towards sustainability, while leaving no-one behind. I was excited by the prospects. Back then, I expressed the hope that this was perhaps the moment when a new politics of…

farmers in dryland landscape

Five problems with ‘integrated assesment’ models, and what to do about them

What are the most appropriate ways of understanding changes in natural resource change in rural areas, particularly in the context of climate change? How can we make use of data that is patchy and uncertain? How can models help decision-making about future management? These questions are at the heart of three recently published journal articles…

Art, Uncertainty and System Change

It is becoming increasingly common to see funders, at national and international levels, in the sciences, arts and humanities, encouraging interdisciplinary approaches to various fundamental policy challenges. Initiatives focusing on the interface between art and environment, or art and ecology, mostly have emerged from an arts-based starting point, but the Arts and Environment Network (AEN)…

Question marks

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”….