murmuration

Opening up democratic politics for sustainable development: reflections from STEPS America Latina

The event that launched STEPS América Latina earlier this month, ‘Opening up the development agenda’, was a great workshop. It’s rare for a meeting of this kind to be so diverse yet so coherent. And this is especially so, on a topic as challenging as the transforming of development. Despite many differences in terms of…

Opening up science and development in Latin America

STEPS América Latina is the latest regional hub of the Pathways to Sustainability global consortium to be launched. The launch event, which took place on 5-6 November in Buenos Aires, brought together diverse perspectives on how pathways to sustainability can be identified, analysed and nurtured. The first day brought together two highly connected topics: ‘inclusive…

What is Ecological Civilisation? 

The Chinese Communist Party last week held its annual plenum in Beijing at which details of the country’s 13th Five Year Plan, from 2016 to 2020, were set out for the first time. The plan, say commentators, will be notably green, with an emphasis on an economic transition to slower, innovation-led growth, and more stringent…

Exploring ‘dynamic sustainabilities’ in the Anthropocene

In this post, STEPS Summer School alumnus Mathew Bukhi Mabele explains plans for a session on ‘Exploring ‘dynamic sustainabilities’ in the Anthropocene’, which will feature at the 6th Annual Dimensions of Political Ecology Conference at the University of Kentucky, on February 26 – 27, 2016.   Jacob Weger and myself were very lucky to participate at the 2015…

Buba river

Rethinking Africa’s sustainable development pathways

Sustainable development (SD), brought into the spotlight with this week’s UN summit, remains a landmark policy and global development agenda since the 1992 Convention on Environment and Development. Anchored on the Brutland Commission report ‘Our Common Future’, sustainable development articulates the urge to harmonise the temporal and spatial redistribution of development with a natural resource…

Understanding soils using interdisciplinary methods

Our director Ian Scoones has applied the STEPS pathways approach to understanding soils, for a new article in Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 2015 has been named as the International Year of Soils by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO).

Conference: Resource Politics 2015

This year’s STEPS Centre conference, Resource Politics: transforming pathways to sustainability, took place from 7-9 September 2015 at the Institute of Development Studies. Plenary speakers include Rohan D’Souza, Betsy Hartmann, Melissa Leach, Johan Rockström, Michael J. Watts and Myint Zaw. Materials from the conference are now online, including a Storify, graphic panels, photos and blog…

Tackling climate change: the contested politics of forest carbon projects in Africa

Tackling climate change is one of the most pressing challenges of our age. And this year is a crucial moment with the Conference of the Parties meeting in Paris in December 2015 hopefully to forge a new climate agreement. Forests, carbon and their management are high on the agenda, and a new book has just…

Does social science suffer from ‘physics envy’?

Many social scientists and some humanities scholars suffer from a condition that I like to refer to as ‘physics envy’. The term resonates with Freud’s theory of ‘penis envy’, as he applied it to girls and sometimes even to women. The use of the phrase ‘physics envy’ is appropriate whenever scholars presume that the closer…

Global lessons for agricultural sustainability from GM crops

Governing Agricultural Sustainability: Global lessons from GM crops is the latest title in the STEPS Centre’s Pathways to Sustainability book series. Editor Phil Macnaghten introduces its reframing of the GM debate explored in the book. By Phil Macnaghten, Professor of Technology and International Development, Wageningen University ‘Can GM crops help to feed the world?’ It…