One of the most important sustainability-related articles you have never read

This may be a big call, but I think one of the most important sustainability-related articles which few people have read is ‘Verification, Validation, and Confirmation of Numerical Models in the Earth Sciences’ by Naomi Oreskes et al (published in Science back in 1994).** Sure it sounds dry, but it usefully considers the increasing use …

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Anthony Giddens on the rise of futures thinking and risk management

It is commonly argued that modern Western cultures have a bias towards short-termism and the present (rather than adequately considering the future). I was recently prompted to re-engage with Anthony Giddens analysis of how engagement with the future has evolved, which challenges some of these prevailing these views. Giddens is an influential British sociologist who …

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On the concept of ‘anticipatory interventions’ and its discontents

Dr Ken Henry’s recent interventions in the national Australian economic debate, in which he warned about future “day of reckoning” and made the case that an emerging budgetary crisis demands extensive tax reform, got me thinking again about the concept of anticipatory interventions. I first came across this term in Haico te Kulve’s thesis which …

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Dealing with complexity in evaluation, foresight and sustainability practice

I’ve just finished reading The Science of Evaluation: A Realist Manifesto by Ray Pawson (SAGE, 2013), which re-states the case for realist forms of evaluation and further explicates ways of doing it (e.g. in systematic reviews). Pawson is Professor of Social Research Methodology at the University of Leeds and he describes social science inquiry as …

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