Laura Pereira

Laura Pereira
University of the Witwatersrand | wits

DPhil (Oxon)

About

123
Publications
64,830
Reads
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3,142
Citations
Citations since 2016
105 Research Items
3040 Citations
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20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
20162017201820192020202120220200400600800
Additional affiliations
October 2013 - present
University of Cape Town
Position
  • PostDoc Position
September 2012 - August 2013
Harvard University
Position
  • PostDoc Position
October 2011 - June 2012
University of Oxford
Position
  • Tutor

Publications

Publications (123)
Article
Full-text available
Over the last 2 decades, it has become increasingly evident that incremental adaptation to global environmental challenges—particularly climate change—no longer suffices. To make matters worse, systemic problems such as social inequity and unsustainable use of resources prove to be persistent. These challenges call for, such is the rationale, signi...
Article
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The Sustainable Development Goals aim to improve access to resources and services, reduce environmental degradation, eradicate poverty and reduce inequality. However, the magnitude of the environmental burden that would arise from meeting the needs of the poorest is under debate—especially when compared to much larger burdens from the rich. We show...
Article
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The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS) was established in 2011, and is now one of the major international social-ecological systems (SES) research networks. During this time, SES research has undergone a phase of rapid growth and has grown into an influential branch of sustainability science. In this Perspective, we argue that SES res...
Article
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Conservation approaches to social-ecological systems have largely been informed by a framing of preserving nature for its instrumental societal benefits, often ignoring the complex relationship of humans and nature and how climate change might impact these. The Nature Futures Framework (NFF) was developed by the Task Force on scenarios and models o...
Article
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Global biodiversity and ecosystem service models typically operate independently. Ecosystem service projections may therefore be overly optimistic because they do not always account for the role of biodiversity in maintaining ecological functions. We review models used in recent global model intercomparison projects and develop a novel model integr...
Article
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Social-ecological systems (SES) research has emerged as an important area of sustainability science, informing and supporting pressing issues of transformation towards more sustainable, just and equitable futures. To date, much SES research has been done in or from the Global North, where the challenges and contexts for supporting sustainability tr...
Article
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Food insecurity and diet-related diseases do not only have detrimental effects to human health, but are also underpinned by food systems that are environmentally unsustainable and culturally disconnected. Ensuring access to a healthy, affordable, and sustainable diet is one of the greatest challenges facing many low- and middle-income countries suc...
Preprint
Environmental assessments increasingly call for just transformations, yet do not offer concrete visions of what these might be. This paper conceptualizes and operationalizes Earth system justice (ESJ) through articulating just ends which minimize significant harm to humans from Earth system change while ensuring access to needed resources for all a...
Article
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Achieving global sustainability goals requires most people and societies to fundamentally revisit their relationship with nature. New approaches are called for to guide change processes towards sustainable futures that embrace the plurality of people's desired relationships with nature. This paper presents a novel approach to exploring desirable fu...
Article
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Climate change is expected to disproportionately affect sub‐Saharan Africa in the next century, posing a threat to the livelihoods of smallholder farmers and deepening food insecurity. To adapt to this threat, more climate‐resilient crops need to be brought into the food system; these may be developed through breeding with crop wild relatives with...
Article
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An erosion of indigenous and traditional foods in the Global South has dramatically changed the global food system in the last 50 years. Reinvigorating these crops and the agro-biodiversity that they represent could provide benefits for healthier and more sustainable food systems. In South Africa, it has been proposed that studying indigenous plant...
Preprint
The UN 2030 Agenda includes 17 Sustainable Development Goals towards improving access to resources and services, reducing environmental degradation and bringing down inequality. However, there is debate on the magnitude of the environmental burden that would arise from meeting the needs of the poorest, especially compared to much larger burdens fro...
Article
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International experience reveals that food policy development often occurs in silos and offers few tangible mechanisms to address the interlinked, systemic issues underpinning food and nutrition insecurity. This paper investigated what South African government policies cover in terms of different aspects of the food system, who is responsible for t...
Article
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Transitioning towards sustainable diets is imperative to avoid the worst effects of climate change, environmental degradation, and malnutrition. In South Africa, households most vulnerable to food insecurity employ various strategies to access food. These include purchasing hampers; a combination of staple foods sold in bulk at a discounted price,...
Article
Models help decision-makers anticipate the consequences of policies for ecosystems and people; for instance, improving our ability to represent interactions between human activities and ecological systems is essential to identify pathways to meet the 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. However, use of modeling outputs in decision-making remains unc...
Technical Report
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The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) is implementing the Program for Climate Smart Livestock (PCSL) in Kenya, Uganda, and Ethiopia. PCSL is designed to build the capacity of governments, the private sector, and livestock keepers towards improving livestock productivity, reducing greenhouse gas emissions while adapting to climate ch...
Article
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As human activity threatens to make the planet unsafe for humanity and other life forms, scholars are identifying planetary targets set at a safe distance from biophysical thresholds beyond which critical Earth systems may collapse. Yet despite the profound implications that both meeting and transgressing such targets may have for human wellbeing,...
Article
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Understanding possible climate futures that include carbon dioxide removal (CDR) and solar radiation modification (SRM) requires thinking not just about staying within the remaining carbon budget, but also about politics and people. However, despite growing interest in CDR and SRM, scenarios focused on these potential responses to climate change te...
Article
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Future scenarios and pathways of potential development trajectories are powerful tools to assist with decision-making to address many sustainability challenges. Such scenarios play a major role in global environmental assessments (GEAs). Currently, however, scenarios in GEAs are mostly developed at the global level by experts and researchers, and l...
Article
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This paper follows sorghum, an indigenous, but currently underutilized, grain in South Africa, through six encounters to discover its potential to transform the country’s food system. By listening to stories from diverse perspectives, it shows that the re-inclusion of sorghum could not only diversify diets, but could also move toward breaking colon...
Preprint
Achieving global sustainability goals requires most people and societies to fundamentally alter their relationship with nature. New approaches are called for to guide change processes towards sustainable futures that embrace the plurality of people’s perspectives on nature. This paper presents a novel approach to exploring desirable futures for nat...
Preprint
Full-text available
The Nature Futures Framework (NFF) is a heuristic tool for co-creating positive futures for nature and people. It seeks to open up a diversity of futures through mainly three value perspectives on nature – Nature for Nature, Nature for Society, Nature as Culture. In this paper, we describe how the NFF can be applied in modelling to support policy....
Article
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Global Environmental Assessments (GEAs) are in a unique position to influence environmental decision-making in the context of sustainability challenges. To do this effectively, however, new methods are needed to respond to the needs of decision-makers for a more integrated, contextualized and goal-seeking evaluation of different policies, geared fo...
Chapter
This chapter develops and articulates an African futurist approach to framing and meeting the challenges of social-ecological futures. It advocates a broader conception of futures as lived practice embedded within specific places (e.g. Africa) and their histories, and explores how such practice can form an alternative model to current (Western) cli...
Article
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Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we use...
Article
Full-text available
The United Nations 2030 Agenda catalysed the development of global target-seeking sustainability-oriented scenarios representing alternative pathways to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementing the SDGs requires connected actions across local, national, regional, and global levels; thus, target-seeking scenarios need to reflect...
Article
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There has been a call for more participatory processes to feed into urban planning for more resilient food systems. This paper describes a process of knowledge co-production for transforming towards an alternative food system in Cape Town, South Africa. A ‘transformative space’ was created though a T-Lab process involving change-agents advocating f...
Article
Transformative changes in agriculture at multiple scales are needed to ensure sustainability, i.e. achieving food security while fostering social justice and environmental integrity. These transformations go beyond technological fixes and require fundamental changes in cognitive, relational, structural and functional aspects of agricultural systems...
Article
Full-text available
Formalised knowledge systems, including universities and research institutes, are important for contemporary societies. They are, however, also arguably failing humanity when their impact is measured against the level of progress being made in stimulating the societal changes needed to address challenges like climate change. In this research we use...
Article
Full-text available
The unpredictable Anthropocene poses the challenge of imagining a radically different, equitable and sustainable world. Looking 100 years ahead is not easy, and especially as millennials, it appears quite bleak. This paper is the outcome of a visioning exercise carried out in a 2-day workshop, attended by 33 young early career professionals under t...
Chapter
We describe the current land cover of the miombo woodlands and review both current and future drivers of change that may influence land cover in years to come. We also explore possible future ecological and socio-economic outcomes for the miombo in light of the projected futures for the miombo countries in particular, and for the continent in gener...
Article
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Abstract Scientists have repeatedly argued that transformative, multiscale global scenarios are needed as tools in the quest to halt the decline of biodiversity and achieve sustainability goals. As a first step towards achieving this, the researchers who participated in the scenarios and models expert group of the Intergovernmental Science‐Policy P...
Article
Biodiversity research is replete with scientific studies depicting future trajectories of decline that have failed to mobilize transformative change. Imagination and creativity can foster new ways to address longstanding problems to create better futures for people and the planet.
Article
Throughout the world, biodiversity and nature's contributions to people are under threat, with clear changes evident. Biodiversity and ecosystem services have particular value in Africa– yet they are negatively impacted by a range of drivers, including land use and climate change. In this communication, we show evidence of changing biodiversity and...
Article
Targets for human development are increasingly connected with   targets for nature, however, existing scenarios do not explicitly address this relationship. Here, we outline a strategy to generate scenarios centred on our relationship with nature to inform decision-making at multiple scales.
Preprint
Full-text available
Life on Earth is facing severe challenges. Human action is leading to a deterioration in natural resources and ecosystems, and widespread declines in populations of wild species. This presents an existential threat to humanity by undermining the capacity of biodiversity to support human well-being. The Biodiversity Revisited research and action age...
Preprint
Full-text available
The United Nations 2030 Agenda catalysed the development of global target-seeking sustainability-oriented scenarios representing alternative pathways to reach the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Implementing the SDGs requires connected actions across local, national, regional, and global levels; thus, target-seeking scenarios need to reflect...
Preprint
Full-text available
The COVID19 pandemic has led to major disruptions in the UK and global food systems. The response by the UK government has been uncoordinated and inadequate. Our research highlights the broad range of policy input needed for food governance (at least 16 departments, plus multiple public bodies and agencies). Our research also highlights that while...
Article
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Indigenous and traditional foods crops (ITFCs) have multiple uses within society, and most notably have an important role to play in the attempt to diversify the food in order to enhance food and nutrition security. However, research suggests that the benefits and value of indigenous foods within the South African and the African context have not b...
Article
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Realising the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will require transformative changes at micro, meso and macro levels and across diverse geographies. Collaborative, transdisciplinary research has a role to play in documenting, understanding and contributing to such transformations. Previous work has investigated the role of this research in Europe...
Preprint
Scientists have repeatedly argued that transformative, multiscale global scenarios are needed as tools in the quest to halt the decline of biodiversity and achieve sustainability goals. As a first step towards achieving this, the Expert Group on Scenarios and Models of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Serv...
Article
Full-text available
Scenario development helps people think about a broad variety of possible futures; however, the global environmental change community has thus far developed few positive scenarios for the future of the planet and humanity. Those that have been developed tend to focus on the role of a few common, large-scale external drivers, such as technology or e...
Article
Full-text available
Sustainably achieving the goal of global food security is one of the greatest challenges of the 21st century. The current food system is failing to meet the needs of people, and at the same time, is having far-reaching impacts on the environment and undermining human well-being in other important ways. It is increasingly apparent that a deep transf...
Article
The imperatives of environmental sustainability, poverty alleviation and social justice (partially codified in the Sustainable Development Goals or SDGs) call for ambitious societal transformations. As such, few aspects of actionable knowledge for sustainability are more crucial than those concerning the processes of transformation. This article of...
Article
In the rapidly changing and uncertain world of the Anthropocene, positive visions of the future could play a crucial role in catalysing deep social-ecological transformations to help guide humanity towards more sustainable and equitable futures. This paper presents the outcomes from a novel visioning process designed to elicit creative and inspirat...
Article
Full-text available
Creating a just and sustainable planet will require not only small changes, but also systemic transformations in how humans relate to the planet and to each other, i.e., social–ecological transformations. We suggest there is a need for collaborative environments where experimentation with new configurations of social–ecological systems can occur, a...
Article
New forms of knowledge production that actively engage in different types of knowledge in partici-patory settings have emerged in the last two decades as 'the right thing to do'. However, the role scientists play in facilitating these processes remains unclear. This article contributes to calls for more deliberate and critical engagement between sc...
Article
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One of the greatest challenges humanity faces is feeding the world’s human population in a sustainable, nu- tritious, equitable and ethical way under a changing climate. Urgent transformations are needed that allow farmers to adapt and develop while also being climate resilient and contributing minimal emissions. This paper identifies several illus...
Article
Full-text available
Sitas, N., Z. V. Harmáčková, J. A. Anticamara, A. Arneth, R. Badola, R. Biggs, R. Blanchard, L. Brotons, M. Cantele, K. Coetzer, R. DasGupta, E. Den Belder, S. Ghosh, A. Guisan, H. Gundimeda, M. Hamann, P. A. Harrison, S. Hashimoto, J. Hauck, B. Klatt, K. Kok, R. M. Krug, A. Niamir, P. J. O'Farrell, S. Okayasu, I. Palomo, L. M. Pereira, P. Riordan,...
Technical Report
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This is a report of T-lab with stakeholders in the coastal wild food sector in South Africa. The report highlights the challenges and opportunities within the sector .
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The workshop drew on the ‘nature futures’ participatory scenario-building exercise initiated by the IPBES expert group on scenarios and models, and other biodiversity modelling initiatives such as the ISIMIP project2 working on adding biodiversity to the Shared Socioeconomic Pathways (SSPs) scenarios framework, the 'bending the curve' initiative3 l...
Article
Full-text available
Scenario development has been recognized as a potential method to explore future change and stimulate a reflective process that can contribute to more informed decision-making. The assessment process under IPBES (the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services) has how-ever shown that the current predominantly b...
Conference Paper
Full-text available
The workshop entitled ‘From visions to scenarios for nature and nature’s contributions to people for the 21st century’ was organized by the Intergovernmental Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) expert group on scenarios and models and its technical support unit, and hosted by the NF-UBC Nereus Program, the Peter Wall Institute f...
Technical Report
Full-text available
One of the greatest challenges humanity faces is feeding the world’s human population in a sustainable, nutritious, equitable and ethical way under a changing climate. Urgent transformations are needed that allow farmers to adapt and develop while also being climate resilient and contributing minimal emissions. This paper identifies several illustr...
Article
Full-text available
Background The recent listeriosis outbreak in South Africa brought food safety concerns to the fore in terms of both policy and practice. These concerns encompass both health and nutrition aspects, as well as the economy, because the food system in South Africa contributes significantly to economic growth and food security. However, the food sector...
Chapter
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For environmental assessments to be useful to decision makers, they should account for the interactions, interdependencies and co-evolutionary pathways of human- Earth systems in proposed policy options and scientific and technological solutions – including the direct effects and the co-benefits and/or trade-offs. (established, but incomplete). Glo...
Chapter
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Systemic and transformative policies, technologies and social practices, if used together and holistically, have the potential for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and other Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs). Transformation is a disruptive process that goes beyond the mere incremental improvement of existing technologie...
Chapter
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The challenge of sustainable development offers the opportunity for more effective integration of global and local scenario approaches in environmental assessments and outlooks to support decision-making for all 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) at all levels (i.e. local, national, regional and global) (established, but incomplete). A bottom-...
Technical Report
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HE SECOND AFRICAN DIALOGUE on The World in 2050 (TWI2050) brought together stakeholders to discuss pathways to reach the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), within the planetary boundaries, and through the transformation of African agriculture and food systems. The motivation for the discussion is the understanding that for implementing the SD...
Article
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The conventional dominant global agri-food system is a main driver in the Anthropocene: food production entails profound global environmental changes from greenhouse gas emissions to biodiversity loss, and shifting diets further impact planetary and human health. Innovative approaches are needed to shift towards more sustainable, equitable and heal...
Article
Full-text available
Business as usual or transformative change? While the global agro-industrial food system is credited with increasing food production, availability and accessibility, it is also credited with giving birth to 'new' challenges such as malnutrition, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation. We reviewed the potential of underutilized indigenous...
Article
Full-text available
Projections of a burgeoning population coupled with global environmental change offer an increasingly dire picture of the state of the world's food security in the not-too-distant future. But how can we transform the current food system to become more sustainable, more equitable and more just? We identify kitchens as sites of transformative innovat...
Article
Full-text available
Transformations toward sustainability have recently gained traction, triggered in part by a growing recognition of the dramatic socio-cultural, political, economic, and technological changes required to move societies toward more desirable futures in the Anthropocene. However, there is a dearth of literature that emphasizes the crucial aspects of s...