upcoming 18/19 seminars

Soils, sustainability and natural capital

Victoria Janes-Bassett and Roisin O’Riordan (Lancaster Environment Centre; Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business)

12 – 1.30pm Thurs 15th Nov; C37/40 Charles Carter Building

Roisin and Victoria are both working on the soil value project – valuing and enhancing soil infrastructure to improve societal sustainability and resilience.  In this talk, we will outline the importance and role of soils, in natural, agricultural and urban environments. We discuss soils in relation to ecosystems services and natural capital and opportunities for applying natural capital methodologies to inform sustainable soil management practices.


Energy Fables: Challenging ideas in the energy sector

Jenny Rinkinen (DEMAND Centre; Department of Sociology)

12 – 1.30pm Thurs 6th Dec; C37/40 Charles Carter Building

Energy research and energy related policy making are informed by terms, ideas and stories that reproduce certain ways of thinking about problems and responses. As in other fields, phrases enter common usage, concepts become taken for granted, and shared vocabularies form. Disciplines and approaches build on these foundations, often forgetting that what seems like obvious, or common wisdom is not set in stone nor is it uncontested or uncontroversial.

This talk explores some of the widely told ‘fables’ in the energy world. The aim is to introduce and also problematize some of the dominant ideas, reminding that refrains such as ‘first pick the low hanging fruit’ and imperatives – to keep the lights on, or to engage with the energy trilemma – carry with them, and reproduce ideas that need not, and perhaps should not, be taken at face value. The talk highlights threads and lines of reasoning that run through the energy landscape, and evokes further thinking on what it means to meet carbon reduction targets by taking the scale and character of energy demand more seriously into account.

The talk is based on a forthcoming collection edited by Jenny Rinkinen, Elizabeth Shove (Lancaster University) and Jacopo Torriti (University of Reading), and brings together some of the research carried out in the DEMAND centre, www.demand.ac.uk.


In a broken world: Towards an ethics of repair in the Anthropocene

Duncan McLaren (Lancaster Environment Centre)

12 – 1.30pm Thurs 24th Jan; C37/40 Charles Carter Building

With the power to break Earth Systems comes responsibility to care for them, and arguably to repair them. Climate geoengineering is one possible approach. But repair is under-researched and underspecified in this context. In a first attempt to establish basic principles for the obligations of repair in the Anthropocene, five disciplines of repair are briefly reviewed: reconstruction of historic buildings; remediation of human bodies; restoration of ecosystems; reconfiguration of cultural materials and artifacts; and reconciliation of broken relationships. In each case ethical practices and debates are described to help identify key themes and challenges in understanding repair. Three interlinked pragmatic ethics or virtues of repair in the Anthropocene are suggested: care, integrity, and legibility. Implications for climate geoengineering, climate politics, and the possibilities of climate justice are explored. Climate repair is defended against objections that it would exacerbate a moral hazard effect, or frame climate responses as politically conservative.


Trying sustainability on for size: an action experiment approach to department sustainability at Lancaster Environment Centre

Jess Davies (Lancaster Environment Centre; Pentland Centre for Sustainability in Business)






If you are planning to attend one of the above please let d.oreilly@lancaster.ac.uk know so that we can ensure the room is of sufficient size.