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…

Uncertainty and Climate Change in India

Harbouring one of the largest mangrove forest tracks in the world, the Sunderbans cover a sizeable area in southern Bangladesh and east India. Formed by the confluence of three major rivers, the deltaic region which the Sunderbans are part of, is famed for its tiger habitats and dynamic ecology. Researchers from a Norwegian Research Council-funded and Noragric-led project…

South Asia Sustainability Hub launched in Delhi

The economist Nitin Desai, the environmentalist Sunita Narain and the writer P. Sainath spoke at the South Asia Sustainability Hub & Knowledge Network launch event on 28 January in Delhi. The new hub joins five other hubs around the world in the Pathways to Sustainability Global Consortium, which the STEPS Centre convened to link up…

A woman speaking into a microphone.

Citizens’ voices need to be heard on climate and cities

Citizens’ voices need to be heard on climate and cities, say researchers at launch of South Asia Sustainability Hub More dialogue between citizens and politicians is needed to deal with the impacts of climate change and rapid urbanisation in India, according to researchers from India and the UK speaking at a new South Asia Sustainability…