PhD Candidate



Profile summary

  • A social-ecological systems approach to sand
  • Potential solutions to the global sand crisis
  • Environmental justice
  • Participatory scenarios
  • Popular science communication

Kiran Pereira’s research focuses on risks and opportunities of sand for global sustainability

Pereira’s research examines the explicit and hidden trade-offs involved in the rapidly increasing scale and pace of sand mining for various sectors and their implications for governance and resilience. Her research focuses on the application and scalability of potential solutions by developing participatory scenarios with diverse stakeholders across the sand value chain to envision desired sustainable sand futures. The aim is to map out how we can identify leverage points at the science-policy-practice interface for the sustainable and equitable transformation of the sand sector. The project is funded by a grant from the Swedish Research Council for Sustainable Development (Formas).

Pereira holds a Master of Science in Geography from King’s College, London. Before joining the Stockholm Resilience Centre, she worked as a social entrepreneur and founded, a platform dedicated to raising awareness of the looming sand crisis. She is the author of the book Sand Stories: Surprising Truths about the Global Sand Crisis and the Quest for Sustainable Solutions.

She has delivered several talks and participated in panel discussions for the architecture and construction industries and various universities, for example:

  • ‘RIBA Future Architects Discuss: Choosing materials for a sustainable future’ for the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA)
  • ‘Material Worlds: Concrete’ at The Museum of Modern Art (MoMA)/ The Emilio Ambasz Institute for the Joint Study of the Built and the Natural Environment.
  • Invited to deliver a guest lecture at the Horizons Institute, which has a mandate to broaden interdisciplinary research at the University of Leeds.
  • Invited to be a speaker at the Architects’ Journal AJ100 festival in London in 2020.

Awards and achievements

  • Lead author for Recommendation 3 in the UNEP 2022 Sand and Sustainability report
  • Invited to the Chatham House panel discussion on Sand: Monitoring and Management for a Sustainable Future. 2021
  • Part of the expert panel for the UNEP round table on Sand in Geneva 2018 and 2022
  • Part of the expert panel at the World Water Week in Stockholm 2018. The session ‘Sand mining's concrete threat to rivers: impacts and potential solutions’ was jointly organised by the Stockholm Environment Institute and World Wide Fund for Nature.
  • Featured in the award-winning documentary Sand Wars and prominent media such as The Economist, BBC Radio5, Al Jazeera, Financial Times, ZDF Magazin Royale, CNBC digital, The Guardian, Foreign Policy, Il Venerdì di Repubblica among others.
  • Her interview with Jan Böhmermann, host of the ZDF Magazin Royale show, currently has over a 100K views on YouTube.


Jean-Baptiste Jouffray
Jan Kuiper