Hunger, Food, Water and Shelter

The issues of unequal distribution of and access to resources covered in UN Sustainable Development Goal 1: No Poverty, as well as the need for sustainability in how we approach food, water and shelter covered in Goal 2: Zero Hunger, Goal 6: Clean water and sanitation and Goal 12: Responsible consumption and production are central themes to much of our publishing.

Our Environment and Sustainability catalogue examines the social justice dimension of environmental sustainability, in climate change and environmental politics, while - across other subject areas - we advance theories and practices developed globally on how to create sustainable economies, including highlighting new movements in food sharing and food charities and uncovering illegal practices within the food industry.

Bristol University Press and Policy Press are signed up to the UN SDG Publishers Compact. In Food, water and shelter, we aim to address the following goals: 

Hunger, Food, Water and Shelter

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This article offers a critical approach towards adopting new technologies as a mitigation strategy. It provides a comprehensive analysis that helps illuminate the adoption process and the sociocultural factors intersecting and informing it. Using a capability approach lens and qualitative and participatory data collection methods, this study presents and analyses the testimonies of smallholders living on Colombia’s Pacific coast, currently exposed to a series of interventions that promote changes in production decisions to contribute to reducing national greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, improved forages, silvopastoral systems and new practices, such as the implementation of rotational pasturing, have been promoted as relevant new approaches. The results show that access to new technologies generates new capabilities, for instance the ability to plan for the challenges imposed by climate change or to develop new strategies to allow the soil to recover naturally. However, these new possibilities are unevenly distributed, creating disadvantages for groups that generally experience conditions of vulnerability, such as young farmers and women. The testimonies also show that many of the promoted initiatives emphasise the need for adaptation and change on the part of smallholders without considering the limitations of technology, the gender issues that affect the inclusion of women and the dynamics that set barriers to young smallholders due to economic restrictions or power issues. Therefore, the study contends that, when understanding technology adoption, it is not only a question of what farmers do or do not do but of what they can be and do in increasingly demanding contexts.

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This chapter reviews some of the central ideas related to care and explores how care and care work is connected to water and water security. The first part engages with the conventional framing of care as a gendered and often hidden and undervalued set of practices. It then explores other ways in which care has been theorized, including the spatialities of care and the role of non-humans in caring assemblages. The chapter finishes an introduction to the idea of ‘ecologies of care’, put forward as a mechanism to visualize the pervasiveness of care and to bolster a care-centric way of living with climate change. The central argument of this chapter is that care is central to the management of water and the establishment of water security.

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This chapter explores efforts to access and provide safe, clean and secure drinking water. The cases and discussions detail specific experiences of care and how these are made visible and invisible through policy, media and practice. In much of this work around water security, the infrastructures of care are variably visible/invisible as well as present/absent and in various states of deterioration. The chapter starts with an overview of water distribution, highlighting the extensive work undertaken to live with and through water systems. The intent is to situate drinking water and concomitant infrastructures in our social and cultural histories. Subsequently, the chapter narrates two examples of the challenges associated with water distribution based in Flint, Michigan (United States) and Rajasthan (India). The intent of these examples is to highlight the social and cultural aspects of water distribution focusing on the role of care in these experiences and contexts.

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This chapter introduces the book’s approach and conceptual framework. It sets out some of the limitations of conventional climate change discourse and some of the ways in which stories and narratives that connect to human experience can motivate transformative action. Subsequently, the chapter reviews the context of climate change and the central data related to anthropocentric global warming. This is followed by an examination of the relationship between climate change and water across themes of floods and droughts, coastal change, drinking water, and conflict. The chapter also introduces the concepts of vulnerability and fragility and how these have been deployed to characterize climate risk. Lastly, it sets out the plan and structure of the book and subsequent chapters.

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This chapter summarizes and compares the cases and further develops the concept of ecological care. The chapter includes a brief introduction followed by a summary of the case examples and key themes. It then develops the central theoretical contribution joining together perspectives from urban studies, geography, water security studies and feminist theory. The intent is to build a foundation for future climate change adaptation. This starts with recognizing the potentially catastrophic consequences of global warming and the ways in which these impacts will be locally and unevenly experienced. The chapter argues for a shift in understanding of the practices which make up adaptation and wellbeing more generally. This is a shift that sees water security and human lives as always invested in ecologies of care.

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Water Security in the Global Context
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This book investigates and analyses places in Europe, North America and Asia that are facing the immense challenges associated with climate change adaptation. Presenting real-world cases in the contexts of coastal change, drinking water and the cryosphere, Michael Buser shows how the concept of care can be applied to water security and climate adaptation.

Exploring the everyday and often hidden ways in which water security is accomplished, the book demonstrates the pervasiveness and power of care to contribute to flourishing lives and communities in times of climate change.

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This chapter reviews the impacts of climate change on communities located in the cryosphere. It starts with a narrative of how global warming is impacting cultural practices and understandings of snow and ice. It then details the particular challenges facing the cryosphere, including impacts to ice sheets, alpine glaciers and the permafrost. Subsequently, cases in Shishmaref (Alaska, United States) and Ladakh (India) are presented to examine how communities are adapting to climate change in the cryosphere. The chapter concludes with a discussion of postcolonial perspectives on the environment and how these might connect to alternative views on sustainability and climate change adaptive practices.

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This chapter focuses on the challenges associated with coastal change. The first part reviews the relations and associated challenges between climate change and coastal processes. This section narrates the urgency around these issues and how coastal communities are starting to plan for uncertain futures. The chapter includes longer discussions of two cases. The first, Ban Khun Samut Chin, is located outside of Bangkok, Thailand and has experienced such extreme coastal erosion that some residents have relocated their homes three or four times over the past few decades. The second case draws attention to planning for the future of sea level rise in the village of Fairbourne, Wales. In this example, the threat of future inundation has led to plans to abandon the village. The chapter concludes with a reflection on coastal management and the challenges of planning for climate change in coastal zones.

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The moral discourse around low carbon transitions currently favours justice as its main virtue (often expressed through the concept of just transition), often highlighting injustice within the current system. When we aim for justice, our focus is on what is lacking rather than what is possible. Low carbon transitions are an opportunity to reinvent our systems and ways of life but also the associated virtues that guide them. The transition must exclude no one and must prioritize those most in need and most disadvantaged by the current system. In this context, the concept of justice (transitioning away from fossil fuels in a way which promotes a fairer world) is a useful guide. But is justice all we should be aiming for? This chapter experiments with positioning alternative virtues as guiding principles for low carbon transitions and reflects on the implications for inclusion and the promotion of thriving through transition. Ultimately, we put forward an alternative framework, which does not ignore justice but promotes the virtues of generosity and care as foundations of justice or complements to it. In concert, these virtues have the potential to shape transitions from the starting point of genuine concern for the wellbeing of others.

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Ocean soups of plastic have provided increasingly visceral signs of major problems with modern systems of production and consumption, leading to calls for action towards ‘zero waste’ by promoting the circular economy (CE). While superficially attractive, the CE idea faces a raft of problems that extend well beyond the technical and the monetary to everyday social practices. This chapter charts the problematic imaginary of the CE idea and domestic waste. In so doing five key points are made. First, that the CE focus on technology and behaviour change pays insufficient attention to distributional impacts, inclusion and social life. Second, that current approaches to domestic recycling are set to exacerbate already existing inequalities, and are unlikely to advance sustainability. Third, socio-material entanglements in domestic waste are centred as a means to approach inclusion. Fourth, social practices and the capabilities approach are both proposed as foundations for a future domestic discard regime. Finally, ideas are presented for relational-informed local waste governance.

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