Never Saw It Coming

Karen Cerulo’s book Never Saw It Coming: Cultural Challenges to Envisioning the Worst is an interesting sociological book which considers the socio-cultural practices and other factors that influence whether worst case scenarios have a sufficiently prominent place in thinking and planning. The analysis is mostly focussed on the United States of America. Cerulo analysis proposes … [Read more…]

What’s the most important environmental problem? A (slightly) contrarian perspective

Lately I’ve seen the following James Gustave Speth quote shared on social media: When I read that quote I “groaned” a little. Cultural change is part of what’s needed, no doubt about it, but are the top problems “selfishness, greed and apathy”? Apathy can hamper any change effort, sure, but the emphasis on selfishness and … [Read more…]

Contemplating the tensions between scholarship and activism

Whilst many people would argue that there aren’t unsolvable tensions between scholarship and activism I’ve sometimes found that there are tensions. It’s something that I’ve been thinking about regarding future career options and directions. I was also stimulated to revisit this line of thought by a fascinating talk given by the social psychologist Jonathan Haidt … [Read more…]

Personal transitions and future blogging

I’m going through a period of change at the moment and the focus of this blog is likely to change as a consequence. I’ve begun to contemplate post-PhD life, other things I might write, but, overall, pragmatic issues like future employment are at the front of my mind (my current role at Swinburne University ends … [Read more…]

Alternative possible lessons from Trump’s triumph

A number of thought provoking US election assessments and reflections have been written, including Alex Burns’s reflections and related analysis of the potential benefits of “red team” analysis and how that might have enhanced the Clinton campaign (link). I also took a strong interest in the US election and have been pondering what occurred and … [Read more…]

Some reflections on IST 2016

The International Sustainability Transitions conference (the annual conference of the Sustainability Transitions Research Network) was held earlier this month in Wuppertal, Germany. Wuppertal turned out to be an interesting place to hold this conference. This part of Germany (North Rhine-Westphalia) is an industrial region – one presenter claimed that the region produces 10% of the … [Read more…]

The ‘prospective turn’ in environmental thought

The other day I watched the pseudo-documentary A Simpler Way: Crisis as Opportunity.  I say “pseudo” because, in some respects, parts of the film are closer to propaganda than providing a factual account of the subjects it covers.  The film follows the establishment of a small intentional community in regional Victoria in Australia (this aspect … [Read more…]