Scholarship needs more than ever to look much further ahead and engage with society

Today, I will  participate in a panel discussion at the symposium Disasters Evermore: Past, Present and Future Risk in an Uncertain World. Here is a short reflection on what I will bring to the discussion.

I want to highlight that when it comes to climate risk, current thinking in sustainability science is very much about what kinds of rights, access and justice questions are of relevance to individuals and communities at risk. Security in this context relates to the social, political and democratic mechanisms that advance responsibilities to safeguard our political systems, individuals, communities and ecosystems. Yet, a global perspective often takes a more traditional focus on maintaining stability for interests and territorial matters of the state.

Since global discussions around risk and security is currently overshadowed by the distractions of Brexit and Trump, which means that policy has an overwhelming focus on the here and now, scholarship needs more than ever to look much further ahead and engage with society in order to ascertain what risks might be affecting us in the future. Important questions around migration, conflict, equality and connectivity are at the forefront of these discussions.

For example, we as researchers can help policy makers in highlighting issues of rights, justice and the chronic nature of poverty when it comes to say sustainability challenges. We can highlight the need for new critical frameworks that engage with the attribution question in climate change and the considerable risks inherent – both political, social and environmental risks in not including all of society in the solutions to climate risk.

We must acknowledge that national and international security are high up on the agenda for policy makers at this time, however, now more than ever is the time to stress the importance of sustainable development in achieving these goals.

 

 

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