This focus area explores the knowledge systems, values, meanings, practices, behaviours, and governance arrangements that can contribute to fair and just sustainable futures
From the local to global, unjust and unsustainable development are maintained by rigid systems of power. Indeed, creating a fair, prosperous world that maintains and strengthens Earth’s life-support systems requires transformative changes.
At the same time, research on biosphere stewardship – the active shaping of development trajectories for social-ecological resilience and human well-being – is essential to identify and understand the diverse ways in which individuals and societies are able and empowered to act in concert with nature, and cases where transformations are necessary.
In this theme we combine the research around:
• biosphere stewardship, directing attention to human-nature relationships that nurture biodiversity and Earth’s life-support systems, emphasizing notions of care, learning and collaboration
• research on social-ecological transformations highlighting the importance of agency, resistance, innovation and imagination to guide profound and fundamental change.
Exploration of novel theories
Our research explores the kinds of knowledge systems, values, meanings, practices, behaviours, and governance arrangements that can contribute to the adaptive or transformative capacity to navigate towards fair and just sustainable futures.
Transformations and biosphere stewardship research are connected and interdependent, both guided by the analysis and understanding of goals of fair, just and sustainable futures – in all their complexity and diversity; and both rooted in the knowledge-action interface.
Research in this theme encourages exploration of novel theories, methods and philosophical perspectives for studying social-ecological systems and system-wide cascading effects of change in diverse contexts.
Research builds on transdisciplinary approaches for mobilizing and co-constructing knowledge with actors at multiple scales, and for understanding and facilitating transformative change towards sustainable futures.
This transdisciplinary orientation is interrogated through reflexive research on the role, influence and positionality of researchers as change makers and transformative space-makers, and relationships with other actors in the pursuit of meaningful change.
Stewardship & transformation news
General news | 2023-09-19
New Google.org grant funds Centre research on AI-powered climate risk tool
Google.org has awarded five million US dollars to a group of scientists, including Centre researchers, to develop and scale ClimateIQ , an artificial intelligence-powered climate risk evaluation tool for cities
Research news | 2023-06-27
A crisis is not always an opportunity for transformation — this new study explains why
For change agents, the COVID-19 pandemic created new barriers and uncertainties rather than a chance for positive change, a new study finds
Research news | 2023-02-14
Biodiversity policies need to move beyond economic growth
A post-capitalist approach to conservation is key for humans to live sustainably with nature
Research news | 2022-12-22
Human rights gain recognition in new biodiversity framework
The new Global Biodiversity Framework adopted at COP15 takes the important step of recognising the rights of Indigenous peoples, local communities, women and youth
Research news | 2022-12-20
Biodiversity offsets create dangerous incentives
Biodiversity offset schemes may shift the focus from the actual drivers of biodiversity loss and require more, not less, regulations, argue researchers
Research news | 2022-10-13
Scientific narratives risk reinforcing colonial structures in tropical forests
Rural forest communities are made the scapegoat for environmental destruction in tropical forests
Ecosystem services, livelihoods and resilience in Sahel
Insights on on adaptation, innovation and the regreening of the Sahel region
Social-ecological systems (SES), are characterized by multi-scale interactions among actors and ecosystems. SES-Link investigates these linkages and how they affect resilience and governance