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…

Embracing uncertainty: lessons from journeys and struggles

Michele Nori, Rose Cairns and Nathan Oxley Embracing uncertainty, by choice or by necessity, is something migrants, victims of political violence, and people holding a religious belief have in common. What could we learn from their experiences about a broader understanding of living with uncertainty, and how can this inform other domains and contexts? This…

Unpacking uncertainty in times of climate change

By Shilpi Srivastava, Hans Nicolai Adam and Lyla Mehta Climate change undoubtedly is one of the most significant development challenges of our times. Research over the last few decades has demonstrated clearly the links between anthropogenically induced emissions and climatic changes. Despite these scientific advancements, uncertainties persist at multiple scales; with respect to future societal…

Medieval painting of an apocalyptic angel playing a trumpet

Catastrophes of biblical proportions: why the apocalypse is back

In a parliamentary debate in London about climate change and ecology on 1 May, the debate turned to scripture to describe the scale of the problem. “We face catastrophes of biblical proportions: droughts, pestilence, famine, floods, wildfires, mass migration, political instability, war and terrorism. Global civilisation as we know it will be gone by the…

Cities, Uncertainty and Systems Change

Depending who and where you are in the world, you will be experiencing the effects of climate change differently. Here in the UK, the recent hot-weather days in February might have felt unsettling, even as your body welcomed the warmth and sunshine. Meanwhile, people in some parts of the United States were caught in freezing…

pastoralist with sheep in a mountainous landscape

How do pastoralists handle uncertainty? Insights from Asia, Europe and Africa

Pastoralists are experts in uncertainty. In a series of 3 blog posts, STEPS director Ian Scoones reports back from visits to the Mediterranean island of Sardinia, Isiolo (Northern Kenya) and the Tibetan plateau. The visits were carried out under the PASTRES (Pastoralism, Uncertainty and Resilience) project, which explores what can be learned from the ways…

climate change

COP22: Climate change and innovation

The 22nd session of the Conference of the Parties (COP22) to the UNFCCC took place from 7-18 November 2016. Read research and opinion from STEPS on what happens next. This year’s COP comes shortly after the Paris Agreement enters into force. The agreement aims to keep global temperature rise this century to under 2 degrees….

biogas in italy

Hot debate about biogas: lessons from Italy

A new STEPS working paper by Bianca Cavicchi and Adrian Ely examines the history of biogas as a source of energy in the region of Emilia Romagna, Northern Italy. Over the last few decades, the potential of biogas in Emilia Romagna has been explored and debated by different agencies and people. But it has not…

Dryland landscape with trees, people and animals

Why we should stop talking about ‘desertification’

A great new book has just been published called ‘The End of Desertification? Disputing Environmental Change in the Drylands’, available at a shocking price from Springer. It is edited by two people who know a thing or two about these issues – Roy Behnke and Mike Mortimore – and it has 20 top quality chapters…

Understanding the Anthropocene: blog series

We now live in an era where humankind has become the dominant force behind global environmental change. Paul Crutzen and Eugene Stoermer introduced the term “Anthropocene” to reflect the growing impacts of human activities on the earth and the atmosphere. Sixteen years on from its introduction, it’s clear that the concept has gained traction in…