Why carbon offsetting through tree planting won’t help solve the climate crisis

This is the second in a pair of blog posts focusing on tree planting, climate change and biodiversity. Read the first here. The first phase of the delayed Biodiversity Convention of the Parties (COP15) concludes today. In advance of the climate COP in Glasgow in November, there has been much talk of linking the twin…

Is mass tree-planting the answer to biodiversity and climate challenges?

Tree planting and ‘nature-based’ solutions are presented as a way to address biodiversity and tackle climate change at a massive scale. But in some cases, these schemes can undermine livelihoods and harm ecologies. This is the first in a series of two blogposts by Ian Scoones, published in the week of the COP15 conference on…

Land reform in the UK: reporting from the Mass Trespass

Access to land is not only a concern in places like Zimbabwe. In England, less than 1% of the population own half the land and 92% of land is out of bounds for ordinary people. The skewed nature of land ownership and access is what Guy Shrubsole, author of the excellent book ‘Who owns England?’…

How could camel milk change the fortunes of Gujarat’s pastoralists?

by Ranit Chatterjee, Rohit Jha, Sahjeevan, Shilpi Srivastava, Lyla Mehta, Nobuhito Ohte, Shibaji Bose, TAPESTRY project Kachchh is a dryland in Western India with a dynamic ecosystem. The livestock-based economy has always been one of the most important sources of livelihood for people there. In this arid to semi-arid region, pastoralism has been practiced for…

Buba river

Degrowth and the pluriverse: continued coloniality or intercultural revolution?

by Saurabh Arora and Andy Stirling UPDATE – 12 May 2021: Timothée Parrique, researcher and author on degrowth, has posted a response to this essay on his website. “And then all helplessly we peered into those Other-worlds, and wailed, “O World of Worlds, how shall man make you one?”” W.E.B. Du Bois, The Souls of…

weird flower

“The world has become weird”: crisis, natures and radical re-enchantment

In this essay, Amber Huff and Nathan Oxley reflect on questions that have emerged through Natures, the STEPS Centre’s theme throughout 2020. Dear Reader, I hope that this essay finds you well in these turbulent times. When we last reached out in this format nearly one year ago, at the beginning of 2020, it was…

comic illustration

The Killing Famine: an outsider’s view of conservation and colonialism

The Killing Famine is an original comic by the artist Tim Zocco, who has been working with the STEPS Centre throughout 2020. In this piece, Tim Zocco reflects on a strange encounter with mining and conservation in Madagascar, leading to a glimpse into a horrifying chapter in the country’s colonial history. The most successful liars…

geothermal plant with pipeline in landscape

How have large investment projects affected people in Africa’s drylands?

by Jeremy Lind, Doris Okenwa and Ian Scoones In recent years, the gaze of global investment has been directed to Africa’s land and resources. Over the past decade, global capital from Europe, the Near East, China and elsewhere poured into land-based investments in industrialised agriculture in sub-Saharan Africa alongside green energy projects, oil exploration and…

pastoralism and uncertainty course heading

Online course: Pastoralism and Uncertainty

A new online course introduces key debates and concepts about pastoralism, and explores the varying ways that pastoralists respond to uncertainty around the world. Based on the work of PASTRES, a research programme linked to the STEPS Centre, the course is aimed at students, practitioners and policy-makers. It is divided into 13 parts with a…

Comic: ‘These Days…’ Covid, crisis and beyond

In our Natures theme for 2020, we are collaborating with the artist Tim Zocco. In the comic ‘These Days…’, a glimpse of a future age shaped by traumatic events, Zocco reflects on crisis, the difficulties of predicting radical change and thinking about what is to come. It’s the first in a series of creative responses…