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…

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Betraying the climate? Has environmentalism succumbed to a modernity it hitherto resisted?

This is the third in a series of four blog posts on the climate by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, under the heading: ‘Controlling a stable planetary climate – or caring for a complex changing Earth?’ Read Part 1 / Part 2 / Part 4 In the first two of this quartet of blogposts, I asked…

Is the naming of ‘climate change’ a dangerous self-defeat?

This is the first in a series of four blog posts on the climate by STEPS co-director Andy Stirling, under the heading: ‘Controlling a stable planetary climate – or caring for a complex changing Earth?’ Read part 2 What’s in a name? Often, not a lot. Never a whole story. But sometimes (if looked for),…

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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…

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…

How to respond to Nature in crisis: look beyond the big stories

The STEPS Centre’s theme for 2020 is Natures. In this introductory blog post by Amber Huff and Nathan Oxley, we look at four lines of enquiry that can help us get behind big stories of crisis. Modern life seems to be increasingly defined through anxiety about humanity’s perverse relationship with nature. Everywhere we look, we…

The STEPS Centre’s theme for 2020 is Natures. In this introductory blog post by Amber Huff and Nathan Oxley, we look at four lines of enquiry that can help us get behind big stories of crisis. Modern life seems to be increasingly defined through anxiety about humanity’s perverse relationship with nature. Everywhere we look, we…

How can we rethink progressive transformations to sustainability?

In a series of three recent blog posts, Andy Stirling reflects on the governance of transformations to sustainability, and what it means for opening up spaces for politics and democracy. The blog posts draw from a workshop organised by the Africa Sustainability Hub, related to the ‘Governance of Socio-technical Transformations’ (GOST) project. The Nairobi workshop…

Infrastructures of the imagination: uncertainty and the politics of prefiguration

By Martin Mahony and Silke Beck Sticky imaginaries, shifting frames, irreducible incertitude . . . the recent Politics of Uncertainty symposium gave us much to reflect upon in the context of recent shifts in the politics of global climate change, and what they might mean for the relationship between knowledge and action. Cluster 2 of…

Whose risk? Whose responsibility? The politics and financialisation of uncertainty

At the STEPS Centre Symposium on the Politics of Uncertainty, Susan Erikson (Simon Fraser) and Rebecca Elliott (LSE) presented fascinating cases for the insurance theme, which was part of the finance cluster. Here are two snapshots: Financing Emergency Pandemics In July 2020, 26 investors in the Pandemic Emergency Financing Facility (PEF) are set to reap…

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…