Transformations to Sustainability is a Belmont Forum-NORFACE Joint Research Programme

In the March 2020 edition: In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, we focus on online events, including the first Transformations Talks webinar, new blogs, podcasts and other publications.

This newsletter comes in the midst of a massive health, social and economic crisis. At the time of writing, more than a quarter of the world's population is currently living in confinement in order to try to curb the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic. Responses to the virus have exposed divisions and fault-lines in our societies and economies, but they have also generated new forms of solidarity and inventiveness, forcing us to rethink how we move around, how we interact with the human and non-human species around us, and more broadly how we live and consume. In the effort to achieve social justice and environmental sustainability the importance of these capacities cannot be underestimated. It is too early to say what the longer-term impact of the current crisis will be, but we feel sure that diverse and visionary perspectives on social transformation, of the kinds being developed through the Transformations to Sustainability programme, have never been more urgent.

All best wishes from the T2S Secretariat team
Lions_Tanzania_Matthias Krappitz

Towards a conservation revolution?

In February 2020 CON-VIVA Project Leaders Bram Büscher and Rob Fletcher, published a new book: The Conservation Revolution - Radical Ideas for Saving Nature Beyond the Anthropocene. We caught up with them to find out more about a convivial approach to living with nature in a way that incorporates the needs of humans and non-humans.

You can hear more about the CON-VIVA project's work in Brazil in the second episode of the Convivial Conservation Podcast with Laila Thomaz Sandroni and Judith Krauss, and about research on wolf conservation in Finland in the recent podcast Conservation and Extractivism: Two Sides of the Same Coin, which features CON-VIVA researcher Sanna Komi.

Webinar: Transforming science communication for transformations to sustainability

We're delighted to announce that the first in a series of 'Transformations Talks' webinars on tools for transformative research communications will take place on
Wednesday 15 April at 16:00 – 17:00 CEST/14:00 – 15:00 UTC/GMT.

The first webinar will look at why developments in science communication matter for transformations to sustainability, communicating about ongoing transdisciplinary research with new audiences in an inclusive and ethical way, and how today’s communications tools can be used to foreground voices that are frequently marginalized in climate change debates.

Join Susi Moser, Director, Susanne Moser Research & Consulting; Emily Polk, Lecturer, Program in Writing and Rhetoric, Stanford University and Ochieng’ Ogodo, Sub-Saharan Africa Regional Coordinator, SciDevNet, for what promises to be a lively and thought-provoking discussion.

The webinar will include time for questions and comments from participants.

Register online - the webinar is free and open to all.

Green Microfinance: Pitfalls, potential and pathways to transformation

The latest Transformations Knowledge Brief focuses on the impacts of microfinance - and particularly green microfinance - on transformations to sustainability.

It's based on a peer-reviewed article by TRUEPATH project research Frederic Huybrechs, et al. The series of knowledge briefs present findings from recent research papers on transformations in an accessible format, with the aim of opening up the latest transformations research to a wider audience.

Download Green Microfinance: pitfalls, potential and pathways to transformation
Sabine Luning - Photo 7 ( Pop-up exhibition in. tha making 2) Lanzano

Visualization for sustainability conversations

From 12-15 January 2020 the Gold Matters project organized a ‘Visualization for Sustainability Conversations’ Workshop in Kejetia, Northern Ghana.

The workshop served to organize collaborations around visualizations of gold mining spaces, lifeways and projections of sustainable futures between residents of a mining community, researchers and artists.

A photostory of the workshop activities is now available.

Transformations online with new courses available now

Many of us are spending more time than we'd like to indoors at the minute, and so we're especially happy to share news of two new online courses from the global Transformations to Sustainability community.

On 30 March td-net will launch a Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) on the principles, processes and applications of transdisciplinarity. The course is framed around five projects which illustrate different and promising different ways of dealing with complex societal challenges. Registration is open now.

Researchers from the Transformations to Groundwater Sustainability (T2GS) project team have contributed to a new free online course on farmer-led irrigation. The course has been launched to provide a summary of the practical and policy questions raised by the phenomenon of farmer-led irrigation development in Africa. Aimed at practitioners, researchers and students, the course can be completed at your own pace and has been optimized to work in locations with low bandwidth. It features introductions to key concepts, interviews with farmers engaged in irrigation, practical advice and policy implications around farmer-led irrigation. Start the course now.

More blogs and opinion from the T2S community:

Mumbai_Kolis_carrying_boat-768x512_Shibaji Bose

Claiming space: Infrastructure, uncertainty and fisherfolks’ livelihoods in Mumbai

We hear how an ongoing struggle by Mumbai fishers to reclaim space – geographically, politically and discursively – is contributing to efforts to preserve the long-term sustainability of the coastal megacity.

Read more

A big-picture view on the climate negotiations: How can transformation(s) happen in practice?

The disappointing outcome of the COP25 climate negotiations may lead us to despair. However, taking a historical perspective helps us to appreciate how major societal transformations are a complex combination of many factors over a long-time span, write Hans Nicolai Adam and Synne Movik.

Read more

A tale of crab farming in Satkhira: Navigating uncertainties ‘from below’ in the Sundarbans

The TAPESTRY research project is exploring how transformations may occur ‘from below’ in marginal environments with high levels of uncertainty. In this blog post, Shababa Haque and Mahmuda Mity, part of the research team in Bangladesh, share this story of people living on the ‘front line’ of drastic environmental changes in the Sundarbans.

Read more

Is migration an untapped resource in transformations to sustainability?

We spoke to Neil Adger, one of the Principal Investigators of the MISTY: Migration and Sustainability project, to find out more about MISTY, and what the sustainability implications of migration are.

Read more

Resources round-up: latest publications from the T2S community

Articles, book chapters, media coverage and more from the T2S programme projects and related research...
Read more

Reading and listening recommendations from our network

Our Future on Earth 2020
This new report from Future Earth aims to tell the story of where we are on our collective journey by connecting the dots between what society is currently experiencing – from fires to food shortages to a rise in populism – with recent developments in the research community.

COVID-19 Can Help Wealthier Nations Prepare for a Sustainability Transition
Maurie Cohen, Joseph Sarkis, Patrick Schröder, Magnus Bengtsson, Steven McGreevy, and Paul Dewick on behalf of the Future Earth Knowledge-Action Network on Systems of Sustainable Consumption and Production. Originally published by Future Earth on 13 March 2020 and updated on 23 March 2020.

Funding calls and other opportunities:

Intellectual Property Strategies and Sustainable Business Models for Sustainability Transitions: call for submissions

Partners from the Intellectual Property Models for Accelerating Sustainability Transitions (IPACST) project will edit a special issue of Sustainability on ‘Intellectual Property Strategies and Sustainable Business Models for Sustainability Transitions’. A call for the submission of manuscripts by 31 March 2020 is now open.

Find out more.

Connect with the T2S Community

Transformations 2021: Enabling Positive Tipping Points
8-10 September 2021
Barcelona, Spain

SAVE THE DATE for the next edition of the Transformations International Conference Series and Community of Practice. The theme is Enabling Positive Tipping Points and the conference will focus on the following questions:
  • Why at one or several points in time do societies, organizations and individuals flip into fundamentally different development or behaviour trajectories and embrace sustainability-oriented transformations?
  • Who are the ‘transformers’ and which positive effects do they have in their own contexts of action?
  • Which kind of global transformative capacities are needed to create the world(s) we want to live in?
A website for the conference will be launched in April 2021.

As you will be aware, many conferences have been cancelled or postponed in light of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak. This includes the following events which many in the T2S community had been looking forward to:

Sustainability Research & Innovation 2020 POSTPONED TO 2021
Exact date TBC - mid-2021
Brisbane, Australia

Third Biennial Conference of the Political Ecology Network Contested Natures: Power, Possibility, Prefiguration POSTPONED
Please refer to the POLLEN website for more information.

See our website for all forthcoming events.
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