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"Circulating Natures: Water-Food-Energy" | Water Energy Food Nexus, Bonn 2011

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20–24 Aug 13


“Circulating Natures: Water-Food-Energy”

Seventh Biennial Conference of the European Society for Environmental History (ESEH), Munich, Germany

The ESEH conference will bring an estimated five hundred participants to Munich. Also, for the first time, alumni of the Carson Center established and prominent scholars from more than forty different countries will gather in Munich to discuss their work. It will take place from 20-24 August 2013, and will be hosted by the Rachel Carson Center for Environment and Society-the world’s largest Centre for Advanced Study in the environmental humanities. Other sponsors include LMU Munich, the Deutsches Museum, and the City of Munich.

Call For Papers

ESEH conferences occur biennially. “Biennial” is a term associated in particular with botany. Most plants are annuals or perennials. But a biennial flowers every two years, following a period of dormancy – just like our Society. Though some biennial plants are merely flowers, others are edible. Thinking about biennial vegetables such as carrots and parsley focuses our intellectual appetites on the conference theme of “Circulating Natures: Water-Food-Energy”. We wish, of course, to attract high-quality scholarship and to tap into intellectual energy-flows related to all aspects of the blooming field of environmental history. At the same time, we specifically encourage proposals related to “Circulating Natures”. While always situated locally, nature also circulates regionally and globally through the movement of natural resources, products, people and non-human biota. What happens in – and comes from – one part of the world can have profound effects on other, often distant places. We wish to explore this theme of circulation – which is of basic importance to the multifaceted relationships of humans with the rest of nature at different times and in diverse places – with specific reference to the three, often interrelated, subjects of “Water, Food, and Energy”.

The following are just a few examples of potential topics and themes that explore the theme of “Circulating Natures: Water-Food-Energy” from the diverse perspectives of environmental history:


  • Water resources and their deployment
  • Icebergs, glaciers, permafrost and snow cover in changing climates
  • Irrigation and salination as environmental problems
  • Fish, fisheries and fishing (freshwater and saltwater)
  • Water pollution and water treatment
  • Water-based recreational pursuits
  • Flooding, drought and climate change


  • Environmental impacts of agricultural practices and food industries
  • Politics of food production and consumption
  • Food and sensory history
  • Food, terroir and sense of place
  • Food, environment and advertising
  • Culinary choices and eco-activism
  • Animal husbandry and agricultural history
  • Famines, harvest failures and malnutrition


  • Travel, tourism and the fossil fuel economy
  • Oil, gas, coal and nuclear industries
  • Energy disasters: oil spills, strip mining and nuclear accidents
  • ”Green” energy: harnessing the sun, wind and waves
  • ”Greening” of the energy sector


Further Reading

17 Dec 13

Research papers are welcome for Volume 2 Issue 1 (May 2014) based on the theme of “Water for Food”.The submission deadline for abstract is 30 Dec 2013.

27 Feb 13

Andy Wales, Senior Vice President Sustainable Development for SABMiller, explains the water-food-energy Nexus and why is it so important.

23 Apr 12

What has brought nexus thinking to the fore, and what does this nexus look like? How does it relate to climate compatible development?

NEXUS in the Media

20 Mar 15


Often decisions are made without cross-sectoral coordination, targeting sector-specific optima and, thereby, resulting in risks and uncertainties across sectors and scales.

10 Nov 14

IChemE President’s Blog

The nexus challenge sits at the centre of IChemE’s technical collaboration with the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE).

09 Jul 13

The Guardian

In this video by the Guardian the Guardian’s Jo Confino speaks to Sir Gordon Conway from Imperial College London, Tim Fox from the Institution of Mechanical Engineers and Andy Wales, senior vice president sustainable development, SABMiller about the connections between water and food.


  • IFPRI International Food Policy Research Institute
  • WEF World Economic Forum
  • WWF World Wide Fund for Nature

Bonn2011 Nexus Conference – in the context of Bonn Perspectives

  • Bonn Perspectives

initiated by

  • BONN
  • BMZ

funded by

  • European Regional Development Fund EFRE
  • NRW Ministerin fr Bundesangelegenheiten, Europa und Medien des Landes Nordrhein-Westphalen