Gordon is an internationally recognised scientist in sustainability of water, food, and the biosphere. She conducts innovative research that combines work with small scale farmers in Africa, global models of land-use and rainfall interactions, and culinary innovators.
She has previously served as deputy director, deputy science director and research theme leader at the Stockholm Resilience Centre.
As a researcher, Gordon is particularly interested in how intentional and unintentional actions in one place can influence systemic change elsewhere. In research she integrates insights from resilience thinking, land use change, food systems, hydrology, and social-ecological systems.
Her work also includes extensive experience in leading international research projects. One example is her research on Moisture recycling, analysing how land use change influence rainfall patterns and hydrology elsewhere.
She has also led, and still contributes to several research projects in the Sahel region including research on ecosystem services, livelihoods and social-ecological resilience assessments. This research has been funded by grants from SIDA, the Swedish Research Council, CGIAR and the French National Research Agency (ANR).
She currently co-leads the food theme in the Wallenberg Foundation funded Stanford collaboration programmes on ‘Natural capital, resilience and biosphere stewardship’ and ‘Fundamental research in biosphere-based sustainability science’. She is one of the authors of the forthcoming EAT-Lancet Commission, and on its Executive Editorial Team.
She is on the board of directors of the EAT Foundation, a science-based global platform for food system transformation. One of her key interests in terms of food system change is related to aspirational change, especially in the Nordic region.
Gordon has published more than 50 research articles, including articles in PNAS and Trends in Ecology and the Environment. She also co-authored the book Water Resilience for Human Prosperity (2014) and has contributed to several other book chapters.
Gordon has a PhD in Natural Resources Management from Department of Systems Ecology at Stockholm University, and a Post Doc at the International Water Management Institute in Sri Lanka.
She is a popular speaker at Swedish and International events, especially around food system change, water resources management and more general aspects of sustainable development.
Research news | 2019-09-16
A handful of transnational corporations hold enough power to accelerate (or hinder) transformations towards sustainability
Research news | 2019-09-12
Centre researchers contribute to first practical guide to offer proven techniques for planning and achieving nature-based solutions
Research news | 2019-05-17
Why regreening the Sahel is more than just creating a wall of trees and why one initiative may actually succeed
Research news | 2019-04-03
Nordics in unique position to lead global food transformation, but not without overcoming major challenges
2019 - Journal / article
Sustainability within planetary boundaries requires concerted action by individuals, governments, civil society and private actors. For the private sector, there is concern that the power exercised by transnational corporations generates, and is even central to, global environmental change. Here, we ask under which conditions transnational corporations could either hinder or promote a global shift towards sustainability. We sh...
2019 - Journal / article
Over the past 50 years, a large number of development initiatives have addressed the diverse social and ecological challenges in the Sahel, often focusing on a single entry point or action, resulting in only a limited degree of success. Within the last decade, the international development discourse has evolved to incorporate resilience thinking as a way to address more complex challenges. However, concrete examples as to how ...
2019 - Journal / article
Food systems have the potential to nurture human health and support environmental sustainability; however, they are currently threatening both. Providing a growing global population with healthy diets from sustainable food systems is an immediate challenge. Although global food production of calories has kept pace with population growth, more than 820 million people have insufficient food and many more consume low-quality diet...
2018 - Journal / article
The food system is a major driver of climate change, changes in land use, depletion of freshwater resources, and pollution of aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems through excessive nitrogen and phosphorus inputs. Here we show that between 2010 and 2050, as a result of expected changes in population and income levels, the environmental effects of the food system could increase by 50–90% in the absence of technological changes and...