Welcome to my website!
I am Professor of Social Science at the University of Exeter in southwest UK. I am fascinated by how people and communities respond to change – how they perceive and understand change, embrace and resist change, and have different capacities to deal with change. Much of my work focuses on social responses to environmental change, but I try to understand this within the context of other changes – in culture, economy, technology and knowledge.
Photo: J.Adger Garret Hardin’s influential essay the Tragedy of the Commons was first published 50 years ago, in December 1968. Hardin argued that global human population was on a path of unsustainable growth through the use of a parable of over-grazing of livestock on common land. The concept of ‘the tragedy of the commons’ largely assumes… Read More
Photo credit: James Adger 2018 Conservation designations are widely promoted to provide benefits not only to global biodiversity but also in terms of a host of ecosystem services – such as the income local people accrue from tourism associated with the World Heritage site at Puerto-Princesa Subterranean River National Park in the Philippines, shown in… Read More
Transformation is everywhere, it seems, in sustainability debates. Transformation is a double-edged sword – clearly global environmental change will transform our world and the lives of future generations. And to avoid the worst possible outcomes, we must transform our current use of resources and distribution of wealth and power. Transformation is messy and complex, and… Read More
On 9 March 2018 Wageningen University & Research celebrated its 100th Dies Natalis, marking 100 years of Wageningen research and education excellence. The event kicked off a whole year of events. As part of the celebrations I had a the great honour of being awarded an honorary doctorate. The photo left shows me on the stage receiving… Read More
Five years ago a group of us, led by Samantha Stone-Jovicich (CSIRO, Australia), and including Per Olsson (Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden), Bruce Goldstein (University of Colorado Boulder, US) and Ryan Plummer (Brock University, Canada) proposed a special issue of Ecology and Society on the topic of Exploring Social-Ecological Resilience through the Lens of the Social… Read More
New findings from MAGIC project published Community Resilience is conventionally understood as a set of inter-linked capacities, including leadership, social capital, access to information, infrastructure etc. But we know that resilience is not just the straightforward sum of these constituent capacities that determines – rather it is emergent of them. This observation has been made… Read More
New paper published in Nature Climate Change Climate change is having serious impacts on many people around the globe, and particularly on the World’s poor. Although there is substantial global funding for climate adaptation, little is known about how people’s capacity to adapt can be bolstered. Josh Cinner from Centre for Coral Reef Studies led… Read More
My keynote talk at the recent Resilience 2017 conference gave a brief overview of last decade of research on resilience in social ecological systems. It highlighted the areas where the field has expanded to at the interdisciplinary interface with social sciences, and then posed some urgent challenges for SES resilience researchers. You can watch my… Read More
Our latest paper is titled ‘The drama of resilience: learning, doing and sharing for sustainability’ and is newly published in the journal Ecology and Society – you can access it here. The paper explores the use of participatory and community theatre to understand how different people in different places deal with change, and how they… Read More
On Monday 6th March we proudly launched our decision support tool, the MAGIC Pathfinder puzzle, to a small and select group of our project participants at ESI in Penryn Cornwall. The very beautiful puzzle, fashioned from oak, is a product from our MAGIC project which has been investigating coastal adaptation and maladaptation. Through the course… Read More
Diego Galafassi from Stockolm Resilience Centre led us through a really interesting reflective process to analyse how people’s understanding changed and what they learnt about trade-offs in the workshops we had conducted in our earlier ESPA project ;Participatory modelling of wellbeing trade-offs in coastal Kenya’ (other wise know as Pmowtick see here ). The photo shows… Read More
One year ago we hosted our colleagues from S.A.F.E. Pwani in Kenya, and we enjoyed a wonderful production and series of workshops with GoldenTree Productions in Cornwall. On a beautiful autumn day we went to Porthleven in Cornwall together and took part in a promenade production, called Weather the Storm, which explored emotional responses to… Read More