Finding futures

A blog about imagining futures, social and environmental change, and doing a PhD…


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(Not) thinking about climate change futures

This was originally posted on Imaginary Papers – a blog by the Center for Science and the Imagination at Arizona State University 

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So far today my mind has been: worrying about how I’m ever going to finish my Ph.D.; contemplating what I will cook for dinner tonight; planning for a presentation tomorrow; and occasionally dreaming (read: procrastinating) about building my own little house one day. The only time that my mind has been fully focused on the present moment was when my colleague offered me a chocolate brownie (and I ate it), and another moment when a poor bird flew into the glass window close to where I was sitting and dropped, twitching, to the ground. These brief interludes, one happy and one sad, distracted my mind’s temporal wanderings for a total of about 90 seconds out of the eight hours I have so far been awake today. Continue reading


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Hidden Humanities?

I just came across this article in the Guardian – it really struck a chord with me and I thought it was worth sharing! In the article, author Gretchen Busl believes that research in the humanities can be “ground-breaking, life-changing” and yet, often, is ignored.  She argues that humanities research explores all sorts of important issues of human culture from ethics, class, gender, and race to climate change (and much more besides) and as such has a vital role to play in “navigating a complex and rapidly shifting world”.

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To fly or not to fly?

Recently I have been mainly procrastinating by crafting a smug blog post about the low-carbon merits of not flying. Thankfully I have scrapped that for a less-smug version because, to tell the truth, I got really quite confused about the whole thing – to fly or not to fly? And does it really matter?

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My turmoil about flying sometimes feels like this – but should it? Source: Banksy

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What can words do?

~~~Hello and Happy New Year, despite it starting rather unhappily with news of shocking events in France and Nigeria reaching our screens of late.  In light of the outpouring of written and spoken commentary on these events it seemed relevant to publish this blog post now, although I wrote it back in December.  It describes my recent experiences at a workshop about Non Violent Communication (NVC), and although what follows is specifically about language and environment it struck me that the overall aims and principles of NVC are apt at the moment. Above all the method stresses the value of using language in ways which create space to contemplate the whole rather than forcing debates into the kinds of binary thinking which ultimately insults people’s ability to understand and live in a complex world.   If the world seems a bit inhumane recently,  NVC teaches that words can be small but mighty ways of regaining and sharing some humanity, if we use them wisely. ~~~

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Source: thesanctuaryguatemala.com

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‘Don’t call me stupid’: a surprising approach to the climate conundrum

After years of becoming more and more deeply convinced by the idea that we humans need to disturb nature less, to consume less, to stop pursuing growth and to take heed of our ‘environmental limits’, I have recently stumbled upon some quite surprising literature which claims “No! Stop! It’s not about LESS – it has to be about MORE!” Admittedly, this literature stems from a decade or so ago and I am behind the times in discovering it, but its arguments have struck me because they are, I think, important and yet still, 10 years on, largely absent from mainstream ‘environmentalism’ as far as I can tell.    Continue reading


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‘I am a worm’ (Continued…)

Part 2: writing 

Professor Simon Peyton Jones’s (SPJ) lecture is specifically about a) how to write good research papers and b) in computer science.  Neither of these are relevant to me at the moment (in the case of the former) and, I can only assume, never will be (in the case of the latter), but I think that what he has to say about writing clearly and concisely is valuable to anyone writing in academia, whatever discipline and for whatever publication. I won’t write a huge long post about what he says because it’s much more fun to watch it for yourself, but I’ve picked out a few key points. Continue reading