Central banking, climate finance, and contemporary crises
Professor Matthew Paterson is the Director of the Sustainable Consumption Institute and Professor of...
Learning the ABC of resilient and convivial land use: The nexus of Agriculture, Biosafety, and Conservation
Agriculture is interlocked with issues of biosafety and nature conservation (together: ABC). Learning one’s ABC requires a variety of disciplines which, however, rarely link up in a more systemic perspective. What requires further unpacking is the socio-ecology of...
Should we abandon agriculture altogether?
This suggestion may sound mad. If so, this likely comes from an understanding of agriculture as equivalent to the practice of producing food, and to suggest producing no more food would be absurd. That is not what we suggest here, rather the opposite. This...
Creative, sensitive and grounded in diverse perspectives: Why we need inclusive climate change education
How can climate change education address rather than exacerbate eco-anxiety, whilst also valuing and learning from diverse perspectives? Following a strong collective youth voice at COP26, climate and sustainability education have become more prominent on governments’...
Water for Peace and Development: SCI PhD student at World Water Forum in Dakar
The 9th World Water Forum (WWF) took place from 22-27 March 2022 in Dakar, Senegal—the first time the conference has been held in sub-Saharan Africa. WWF is held every three years in different cities and is recognised as the world’s largest multidisciplinary...
(Re)making infrastructures in response to sustainability and climate emergencies: Challenges, strategies, and opportunities
On the 30th of June 2022, Torik Holmes, from the Sustainable Consumption Institute (SCI), Carla De Laurentis and Rebecca Windemer (both from the University of the West of England) hosted an in-person workshop on infrastructures and climate emergencies. The event drew...
Hidden infrastructures of decarbonisation
As many of us start to travel again more for work after a couple of years of not doing so, and as the climate crisis continues to unfold further, limiting flying has become even more urgent. For those of us in academia, this is particularly so since air travel...
The other side of the fence: Consumption, activism, and the Owens Park tower occupation
What links the University of Manchester’s library and the most notorious student halls in town, except for the high density of flared trousers and pastel coloured hair? Correct – countless Stagecoach buses, going up and down the Wilmslow Road bus corridor, which is...
Citizen Food Futures – event report
The Citizen Food Futures event was a week-long event aiming to communicate academic research and opinion on the development of more sustainable food systems and facilitate dialogue with the general public and other stakeholders.
Why the success of a green recovery requires engaging with – and learning from – minority communities
Although the UK has world-leading net-zero targets, simply setting the target is not enough. Achieving it requires the participation of all sectors of society. However, racialized minority communities are under-represented in mainstream approaches to achieving environmental sustainability.
SCI PhD Alice Swift reports on a recent action by the German climate activist group ‘Ende Gelände’
Ende Gelände mobilised thousands in Germany in October, targeting both coal and gas and developing tactics to protect activists from coronavirus transmission.
Waste management and COVID-19 – What have we learnt so far?
Mariel Vilella discusses how COVID-19 has shaken up our waste management systems.
Food support provision in Covid-19 times: Preliminary results from a study based in GM
In June a mixed-method study was launched to understand the obstacles, the needs, and the prospects of the food support providers active in Greater Manchester  immediately after the Covid-19 peak.
It’s time to talk about a feminist green new deal
Building back better requires building back differently. We need a ‘rainbow recovery’.
COVID-19, ecological justice, and veganism
COVID-19 highlights the need for ecological justice. Hannah Battersby explore the links between Covid-19, ecological justice and veganism.
Lockdown and eating out
We are told that nothing is normal, that ‘Lockdown’ has overturned life as we know it. However, beyond the apocalyptic narrative there is much speculation about what might become the ‘new normal’.
Changing behaviours, transforming society
With the search for a COVID vaccine still ongoing to enable a safe way out of the pandemic, the debate about what comes after COVID is currently in full swing.
How coronavirus reveals our unbreakable bond with single use plastic
As coronavirus bears down on society, single-use plastic steps up in an unprecedented way.
Imagined futures of consumption: Lay expectations and speculations
Imagined futures of consumption have played a central role politically and economically since the end of the Second World War.
All food is “plant-based” – particularly meat and dairy
Academics, policy makers and businesses increasingly consider a shift towards so-called “plant-based” diets that principally require less land, energy, and other resources.
Can we reduce water demand to 80 litres a day? And what can the government do to support it?
Dr Claire Hoolohan (Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research) and Dr Alison Browne (Sustainable Consumption Institute) reflect on their consultation submission to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs on measures to reduce personal water use.
The Sustainable Consumption Institute at the European Sociological Association Conference 2019
SCI research was well represented at ESA2019 in Manchester.
Inequalities and climate change
World scientists have collectively endorsed the proposition that the world is facing a climate emergency. Social scientists need to address the burning issue of inequality at the heart of this emergency.
International Repair Day – the right to repair and the politics of practice
As International Repair Day celebrates its third anniversary, Ulrike Ehgartner, Steffen Hirth and Dan Welch discuss the “Right to Repair” and endangered practices.
The Green New Deal’s contradiction
New infrastructure and redistribution may boost carbon emissions.
Don’t bet on the UN to fix climate change
It’s failed for 30 years.
What the Amazon fires tell us about the geopolitics of the climate emergency
Two climate denying Presidents, growing demand for soya in China and deforestation in Brazil have created the perfect climate-change storm, argues Mark Harvey.
A vegan meat revolution is coming to global fast food chains – and it could help save the planet
A few years ago, convincing meat-free “meat” was nothing more than a distant dream for most consumers. Meat substitutes in supermarkets lacked variety and quality. Plant-based burgers were few and far between in major fast food outlets – and meaty they were not.
Vegan is the new vegetarian – why supermarkets need to go ‘plant-based’ to help save the planet
Veganism is arguably the biggest food trend of the moment.
New net zero emissions target won’t end UK’s contribution to global warming – here’s why
Joe Blakey and Marc Hudson disagree with the UK Government’s much vaunted target of zero-carbon by 2050 constitutes the country’s “highest possible ambition”.
Dr Alison Browne presents to Defra’s Joint Water Evidence Programme ‘Grand Challenges’ policy workshop
The SCI’s Ali Browne was invited to present to the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs and Environment Agency’s ‘Joint Water Evidence Programme’ policy workshop on 6 June 2019.
Education for sustainability, action-oriented research and the value of building bridges
During March 2019 the Sustainable Consumption Institute held a series of activities around sustainability education and hosted Rachel Trajber, Cemaden (National Monitoring and Early Warning and Centre of Natural Disasters).
Why the meat industry could win big from the switch to veggie lifestyles
One of the largest meat processors in the UK, has launched a plant-based meat alternative. Before long, the meat producers could take over this growing market for meat-free alternatives.
Everyday thriftiness: Austerity and sustainability
With 12.4 million people living in absolute low income poverty in the UK in 2016/17, continued uncertainty from Brexit, and persistent issues with the new benefits system, Universal Credit, life remains bleak for many in the UK.
School climate strikes: What next for the latest generation of activists?
Last Friday students across the UK (and the world) went on strike, leaving their lessons to protest about the lack of effective action on climate change.
Victims, saviours or villains? Children in popular climate imaginaries
With the school children’s #ClimateStrike movement reaching the UK, Catherine Walker explores how children are framed in climate change discourse and asks how can children moves us beyond our current political impasse?
Gilets jaunes, Extinction Rebellion and neoliberal climate policy
Two protest movements erupted in the UK and France on November 17, with apparently opposite logics. Matthew Paterson argues that both movements result from the the way carbon pricing has been both regressive socially and woefully inadequate in climate terms.
Meat-free alternatives are dull – we need exciting vegan Christmas dinner ideas
Before Christmas SCI doctoral researcher Malte Rödl had a piece published in The Conversation challenging cooks to look beyond “meat –eating without the meat”. With ‘Veganuary’ in the headlines we thought it was a viewpoint still worth looking at.
Professor Mark Harvey – a political and intellectual trajectory
The SCI co-sponsored a conference to mark the retirement of Professor Mark Harvey. Read Mark’s inspiring talk on the political and intellectual trajectory of his career.
To tackle inequality, we must first understand the exploitation that creates it
We need a theory of exploitation fit for the twenty-first century, argues Mark Harvey.
Why France banned meat names for vegetarian alternatives
France recently passed an amendment to its Agriculture Bill, prohibiting any product that is largely based on non-animal ingredients from being labelled like a traditional animal product.
Can a city ever be truly ‘carbon neutral’?
Following the Greater Manchester Green Summit, Sherilyn MacGregor and Joe Blakey ask whether the vision of a ‘carbon neutral’ city-region is all that it appears.
Greater Manchester’s Green Charter: The responsibility of whom?
In wake of Andy Burnham’s Green Summit, Julia Kasmire investigates whether the Greater Manchester Combined Authority (GMCA) will take the necessary steps to take responsibility for achieving carbon neutrality.
The SCI organised a workshop on the topic of meat consumption, non-meat consumption and sustainability as part of the ESRC Festival of Social Sciences
Whilst there is a broad consensus amongst academics and other experts that meat needs to be addressed as a social-ecological problem, the minutiae of how to do so are less certain.
Planet 50:50? Linking labour and environment this International Women’s Day
This blog by the SCI’s Sherilyn MacGregor was originally posted for International Women’s Day March 2017.
On the ‘meat edge’? Meat consumption and reduction in middle class urban China
Drawing on insights from a qualitative study of meat eating in urban China, Alison Browne, Josephine Mylan and Zhu Di suggest there is a need to re-think the dominant view on changing consumption.
Environmental feminists taking up space at Conference of Parties (COP)
SCI PhD researcher Joanna Wilson reports back, suggesting that the voices of environmental feminists remain sidelined, despite the conference being branded as ‘inclusive’ and ‘participatory’.
How to solve the ‘monster’ fatberg problem
Fatbergs – enormous solid masses of oil, grease, wet wipes and other hygiene products that congeal together to cause major blockages – are wreaking havoc on the sewers of cities around the world.
The real story behind the huge crowds gathered at iPhone launches
Apple’s special edition iPhone X release – what sane person would queue overnight for an over-priced, at best incrementally-changed gadget?
SCI at the British Sociological Association Conference 2017
Jessica Paddock reports on SCI contributions to the BSA on home turf in Manchester.
The International Sustainability Transitions Conference 2017
Cameron Roberts reports on IST 2017 and the SCI’s contributions.
The SCI at the GRF: ‘Sustainable lifestyles, livelihoods, and the circular economy’
Wouter Spekkink reports on the third international conference of the Global Research Forum on Sustainable Production and Consumption.
The European Sociological Association 2017
Dan Welch reports on the SCI’s contribution to the ESA’s 13th biennial conference in Athens.
Sustainability: The new alchemy?
Julia Kasmire asks what sustainability and alchemy have in common? And what does this mean for the sustainability movement?
Small steps for creating community resilience – The Make Do and Mend Expo
In June, Dr Helen Holmes held The Make Do and Mend Expo – an interactive event that brought together third-sector organisations to debate the future of community resilience.
Re-making Greater Manchester sustainably
How might the newly elected Mayor of Greater Manchester remake Greater Manchester sustainably? Joe Blakey reflects on a recent workshop by the SCI’s Mike Hodson and Sherilyn MacGregor in his latest blog post.
From meat-free days to meat-free diets?
Last Monday was World Meat Free Day. In the first blog of the SCI’s new website, Jo Mylan and Nicklas Neuman argue ‘Meat Free’ days are only one piece of broader puzzle of how to limit the effects of industrial meat production.
Following the action: An approach for studying the coordination of practice
A principle methodological challenge for any research is the identification of the core unit of analysis and the ‘entry point’ for empirical enquiry. Both depend on the research questions to hand. For the study of practices these challenges are particularly acute.
Divestment, destabilisation, decarbonisation?
With The University of Manchester considering divesting its assets from fossil fuel related industries, Viki Johnson considers whether divestment can really destabilise an industry.
Overcoming ‘speciesism’: how to include other living beings
In this contribution, Anna Wienhues and Steffen Hirth use theoretical considerations from philosophy and sociology to explore the ways in which ‘the nonhuman’ is – or is not – taken into account.
Turning climate governance upside down
A rethink of contemporary wisdom on governing the climate is increasingly urgent. Successive climate summits, strategies, targets and action plans have been implemented, but the chances of staying within anything like safe temperature increases are diminishing fast.
Renewables in South Australia: Blame games and framing battles
With South Australia’s increase in renewables blamed for a blackout caused by high winds, Marc Hudson examines the ‘framing battles’ taking place in Australia.
Browse our extensive range of blog posts from previous years. How is ‘Devo Manc’ reshaping Greater Manchester’s transport infrastructure and who is doing it? by Mike Hodson and Andrew McMeekin (6 October)Could smart cities be smarter about inequality? by Joe...
Flooding, consumption and the normality of everyday life
The latest blog by SCI PhD student Patrick Gould weaves together reflections on climate change, disruption, time, consumption, normality and the circular economy, with current research and business and policy responses.
Light and sustainability: Concepts, practices, experiment
The SCI recently hosted the latest Light and sustainability: Concepts, practices, experiment seminar, read Cary Monreal Clark and Joanne Edwards.
The wider environmental effects of food and drink packaging
Cary Monreal Clark discusses the wider environmental effects of food and drink packaging in his latest blog.
How to make cooling measures cooler?
The early summer publication of the Adaptation Sub-Committee (ASC) Progress Report 2014 Managing Climate Risks to Well-Being and the Economy seems to have had a limited impact on the public’s attitude regarding the growing risk of heatwaves in the UK.
What is happening to the sustainable city?
What is happening to the sustainable city? Why is this question arising now? And does it matter? These concerns are addressed in our recently published edited book, After Sustainable Cities?
Is it time to take gender seriously in sustainable consumption?
SCI researcher Jo Mylan reflects on Professor Oriel Sullivan’s seminar at the SCI (6 May): ‘Domestic outsourcing and multitasking – how much do they really contribute to women’s dual burden?’