This event has now finished.
  • Date and time: Wednesday 13 July 2022, 2pm to 5pm
  • Location: Online only
  • Audience: Open to staff, students (postgraduate researchers only), the public
  • Admission: Free admission, booking required

Event details

Join us to explore the effectiveness, and potential consequences, of the framing of planetary environmental challenges as ‘emergencies’.

About this event

Short summary:

Climate change and biodiversity loss are framed increasingly as ‘crises’ or ‘emergencies’. Yet action on them seems far from urgent. Drawing on the knowledge and experience from Brazil and the UK, this workshop will explore the implications of ‘emergency’ framing for addressing these planetary challenges, and ask to what extent this framing is helpful in promoting sustainability and social justice.

This workshop will be held on Wednesday 13 July 2022, 14:00-17:00 (UK) / 10:00-13:00 (Sao Paulo). There will be simultaneous translation (Portuguese/English) 

Full description:

Covid-19 has caused immense suffering and created enormous challenges across the world. The response to this health emergency has been a combination of changes in behaviour through restrictions on movement and technological fixes through vaccine development and deployment. While these responses have been successful in some countries, they have also led to increasing securitisation, authoritarianism and discrimination.

The world is experiencing a growing number of ‘emergencies’. Climate change and biodiversity loss are framed increasingly as crises or emergencies. Yet, despite the policy rhetoric, there remains little evidence that ‘emergency’ framing is triggering urgent actions in response to these challenges. How do we move from inaction to action, and how can we ensure that we respond to these planetary-scale environmental challenges in ways that are effective but also inclusive, and prioritise social justice?

In this workshop, we argue for a critical engagement with the concept of ‘emergency’ as it relates to the conflation of planetary challenges brought by the Anthropocene. Bringing participants with different academic backgrounds and empirical experiences, and seeking to amplify and consolidate scientific collaboration between Brazilian and British academic institutions, we ask:

  • What are the implications of emergency framing for governance, policy and action in response to planetary environmental challenges?
  • To what extent does emergency framing provide an innovative and reasonable approach to deal with these challenges and ensure human and planetary wellbeing?
  • Could emergency framing foster authoritarian and anti-democratic responses to these challenges, undermining certain forms of knowledge and further marginalising some groups in society?
  • Can emergency framing contribute to public understanding of the urgency of these planetary challenges and the interconnectedness of the ecological, economic and social systems underlying them?
  • Will emergency framing help to address these planetary challenges and promote sustainability?

Panel Members

The workshop will feature panel discussions with a range of speakers from the UK and Brazil, and question and answer sessions, structured around three broad themes:

Session 1. Epistemological perspectives

  • The culture of emergency and crisis (Sarah Bezan – University of York)
  • Emergency and crisis in public health (Pete Coventry – University of York)
  • Emergency and crisis in environmental science and ecology (Mariana Vale – Federal University of Rio de Janeiro)
  • Economics and emergencies (To Be Confirmed)

Session 2. Empirical experiences

  • Policy and emergency responses (Gale Rigobert – University of York)
  • Human rights in emergency response (Deisy Ventura – University of São Paulo)
  • Communicating risk and response (Renzo Taddei – Federal University of São Paulo)
  • Humanitarian crises and responses to environmental hazards (Janaka Jayawickrama and Claudia Milena Adler – University of York)

Session 3. Future scenarios

  • Emergency framing for climate, environment and livelihoods (Lindsay Stringer – University of York)
  • Emergency framing and alternative futures (Peter Sutoris – University of York)
  • Communicating and financing responses to future risks (Jon Gascoigne – Disaster Protection)
  • Coordinated policy responses to health, biodiversity and climate emergencies (Helena Ribeiro – University of São Paulo)



Interdisciplinary Global Development Centre (IGDC) York Environmental Sustainability Institute (YESI)