Skip to main content


Showing posts from September, 2019

Tackling the climate crisis with energy transitions

Aerospace Engineering student Kieran Tait recently returned from a transformative journey through Western Canada, representing the University at the Energy Transitions summer school at the University of Alberta. A timely topic following the recent declaration of climate emergency here at the university. Kieran underneath a glacier in Lake Louise, Banff National Park. Throughout the two weeks, we endured a 40-hour lecture series, in which world-leading industry experts and researchers presented to us the current state of energy, the outlook for the future and an insight into different types of energy systems and their relative merits. This was superbly rounded off with insightful field trips including a tour around a wind farm and a hydroelectric dam, which really helped to contextualise the lectures. The course was coordinated by the Worldwide Universities network, in which 21 representatives from 13 universities worldwide came together to study the practicalities of decarbonisi

Why no change? Sustainable development, extractivism and the environment in Bolivia

As an early career academic, it’s been a challenge to research sustainable development and the SDGs. The SDGs may be a new set of development goals but the concept of sustainable development is old….and already much critiqued . In my recent research on the early take-up and implementation of the SDGs in Bolivia, I have tried to use this as a starting point for my work. In terms of theory, this has meant asking what can help us think about sustainable development differently? And in terms of my empirical focus, this has meant questioning how the mainstreaming of the SDGs, as a global (and globalizing) response to climate change, effect more radical environmental agendas - those that have emerged since the mainstreaming of sustainable development in the 1980s (and sometimes in critique of the concept). Somewhat conversely, these efforts to think differently have actually helped me to better understand why things are staying the same and how, in Bolivia, powerful, extractivist developm

The Earth comes to Bristol

Luke Jerram's Earth installation at the University of Bristol. Image credit: Becky Arnold. Humans have gazed at the moon since our origin, yet the Earth has only been visible in its entirety for the last 50 years. The present era is a time of great need. A time where humans need to change our relationship with the planet and to change our relationship, we need to change our perspective. Luke Jerram’s Gaia hosted by the Cabot Institute is an art installation which seems at least in part envisioned to do that through simulating the “overview effect”. The “overview effect” is a common experience described by astronauts who have seen the Earth from space. It is said that seeing the planet hanging in space, in all its majestic beauty leads the viewer towards a cognitive shift in their perception of themselves, the world and its future. It seems somewhat ironic that only by consequence of venturing into and exploring the space around our planet, do we realize how infinitely valua