Beijer Young Scholars

Inequality and the biosphere

From 2016-2018 I had the fortune to participate on the Beijer Young Scholars Network, an initiative of the Beijer Institute of Ecological Economics to support early career researchers. We are 18 people, at the time finishing our PhDs, starting postdocs, and a few their junior faculty positions. We meet for three years, a week at the time in an island on the Stockholm archipelago. The idea was to work together on a shared project, a topic that would bring our diverse set of interests and expertise towards a common goal. The result was a review paper about Inequality and the Biosphere, reflecting on a relationship that typically is thought as one-directional, but in fact it can create feedbacks at multiple levels: from the perceptions and actions of individuals, to the agglomerative power of corporations.

Since 2019 we are working together on a planning grant awarded by Formas. The project aims to to explore potential synergies and trade-offs between the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) reduced inequality, zero hunger, climate action and life on land and under water (SDGs 10, 2, 13, 15, 14), and thereby contribute towards defining a future large-scale research agenda on this topic. To that end, we are working on a number of preliminary studies and run two stakeholder workshops in Stockholm and Lima. The idea was to identify research gaps and potential collaborations in assessing the interactions between reducing inequality and other SDGs. Currently we are looking for funding to continue our work.

It has been an exciting journey. An opportunity to dive into topics that as an individual researcher I would not probably have explored. An opportunity to expand the scope of methods, epistemologies, and more importantly, long term friendships and collaborations. Thanks to the Beijer for this opportunity.

Some memories from 2016-2019

Juan C. Rocha

Juan investigates critical transitions: from regime shifts in ecosystems to collective action in society.