Review of The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis

The Big Ratchet: How Humanity Thrives in the Face of Natural Crisis (subtitled ‘A biography of an ingenious species’) is a popular science book authored by Ruth DeFries (Columbia University), which takes a “long lens” view of humanity’s journey from the perspective of food production and consumption. The inside book cover notes that “for much of …

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To collapse or not to collapse: is it just a stupid question, or should it be discussed?

Last night I went to the Sustainable Living Festival’s annual great debate, this time on the somewhat convoluted topic (perhaps written by a committee?) of “To collapse or not to collapse: Pushing for economic ruin or building a great transition”, juxtaposing: At one end of the spectrum, [are] some environmentalists [who] are fueled by a …

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Is scenario planning a good fit to the climate change adaptation problem?

Some researchers from the University of Melbourne have recently published an interesting paper entitled “The problem of fit: scenario planning and climate change adaptation in the public sector” in Environment and Planning C. The paper reports some of the findings of the ‘Scenarios for Climate Adaptation’ project which explored the use of scenario planning to …

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My personal research and professional practice agenda

I find it is good to periodically revisit and re-articulate my research interests, and related practice foci. Overall, I still have a strong interest in how techniques of prospection (such as scenario-based exercises and techno-economic modelling practices) are actually mobilised and used in sustainability-oriented contexts, and to what effect. This sort of research has been …

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