Everyone is talking about uncertainty – in finance, climate, migration, disease or infrastructure – and of course in the field of genetic engineering in agriculture. Decision-makers often treat all kinds of uncertainties as if they are risks, with probabilities that can be calculated.
But sustainability involves other kinds of uncertainties – whether they’re due to incomplete evidence, complexity, divergent values, scientific disagreement, gaps in knowledge or the simple possibility of surprise.
Uncertainties can make it hard to plan ahead. But recognising them can help to reveal new questions and choices. What kinds of uncertainty are there, why do they matter for sustainability, and what ideas, approaches and methods can help us to respond to them?
2019 sees the UK’s STEPS Centre focusing on the vital topic of uncertainty, from a variety of different perspectives.
Key articles already published include:
- Embracing uncertainty: what are the implications for sustainability and development? by Ian Scoones
- Politics in the language of uncertainty by Andy Stirling
- Art, uncertainty and system change by Becky Ayre
- Views from the coast: uncertainty beyond climate change by Nathan Oxley
Check out their Uncertainty theme page, and explore our resources pages for more recommended reading from STEPS.
Photo credit ? | Photo: alistairh / Flickr / cc by 2.0 / https://flic.kr/p/T3A6MC