From the Himalayas to the Fens: Towards a Political Economy of Environment and Development
In this lecture Professor Bhaskar Vira, Fitzwilliam College Fellow, Graduate Tutor and Director of Studies in Geography, Professor of Political Economy and Head of the Department of Geography and Founding Director of the University of Cambridge Conservation Research Institute, offered his perspective on working towards a political economy of environment and development – from the mountain peaks of the Himalayas to the flat Fens of East Anglia.
About Professor Bhaskar Vira
Trained as an economist, Bhaskar’s research is concerned with the often-hidden costs of environmental and developmental processes, and the need for scholarship to draw attention to the distributional consequences of public policy choices.
His work brings a critical political economy perspective to contemporary debates about the future prosperity of people and the planet. He is leading work that seeks to improve the treatment of biodiversity in natural capital, and to better reflect nature in the assessment and measurement of poverty and wellbeing at national and regional scales.
Bhaskar has played important roles in science-policy processes linked with ecosystem services and natural capital, including the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the UK National Ecosystem Assessment and the Royal Society Working Group on Human Resilience to Climate Change and Disasters. He Chaired the Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Food, and was a member of the recent Global Forest Expert Panel on Forests and Water.
In 2018, he was honoured with the Royal Geographical Society’s Busk Medal, in recognition of his contributions to interdisciplinary research on environment and development.
Apart from his published academic work, Bhaskar is committed to public engagement. His work, Pani, Pahar: Waters of the Himalayas was featured as a photo essay in The Guardian, and draws attention to the important need to protect and invest in critical water zones that are imperative to address the growing water needs of people who live in and around the Himalayan region.
Bhaskar is married and lives in Cambridge with his wife Shiraz (Trinity, 1988) and his two children and dog. He is a trustee of Fauna & Flora International and the Gates Cambridge Trust.
Department of Geography