Guest Blog

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The MRI: Confronting the Problem of Collective Action

Image by David Mark.

As the MRI Coordination Office celebrates 20 years since it was founded, Gregory Greenwood, MRI Executive Director 2004-2017, reflects on his time at the organization's helm, what has made the MRI a success, and how the MRI can continue to strengthen collective action for our changing mountains.


In Full Transition: Addressing the Challenges of Our Changing Mountains

Syphoning for lake level lowering and flood protection at Laguna Palcacocha, Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Rock and ice avalanches from the surrounding icy peaks can directly impact the lake. (Picture source: H. Frey, April 2015)

The Mountain Research Initiative was established 20 years ago, and no doubt there are important challenges ahead that extend far beyond another 20 years of this organisation. Even at the highest (altitudinal) levels…


Navigating Towards Sustainability: How Research Networks Can Make a Difference Using the ‘Network Compass’

Addressing complex sustainability problems requires more than scientific knowledge. Researchers must collaborate with societal actors from government, business, and civil society, and engage in the co-production of knowledge and action. How can sustainability-oriented networks effectively facilitate co-production?


The End of Glacier Guides in New Zealand?

Retreating ice endangers their safety … and their livelihoods.


Mountains: Sky-Concealing or Unifying?

“Mountains are exhausting, forcing you to walk either uphill or downhill. The closer you get to the Alps, the harder you feel breathing; not because of altitude, but due to the rock walls blocking the view of the sky.”


Reflections on the MRI Coordination Office at 20

As the MRI Coordination Office turns 20, Professor Harald Bugmann, MRI Chair 2001-2007, reflects on its achievements to date and the importance of its work in the face of an uncertain future for our changing mountains. 


The Collectif Perce-Neige: For Young Scientists Engaged in Inter- and Transdisciplinary Research in Mountain Regions


In this blog post, Emmanuel Salim, PhD student at Savoie Mont-Blanc University (USMB), and Raphaël Lachello, University Grenoble-Alps (UGA), share the impetus for forming a collective of young researchers to promote inter- and transdisciplinary research in mountain regions.


Glacial isostatic adjustment: the marshmallow effect

The “marshmallow test” refers to a well-known psychological study: researchers at Stanford offered children the choice between one marshmallow immediately or two marshmallows after a fifteen-minute wait. They were seeking insights into how children develop the ability to forgo an immediate reward in order to receive a greater reward later. When I tell you a story from my childhood, you will understand why the “marshmallow effect” has become my personal nickname for delayed gratification on a geologic time scale: glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA). 


Fragile Mountain Systems? On the Evolution of Scientific Insights

In this blog post written for the Network for European Mountain Research (NEMOR), Harald Bugmann, Professor of Forest Ecology at ETH Zurich and our very first Chair here at the MRI, reflects on the fragility of mountain forests and their vulnerability to the impacts of climate change.


How the COVID-19 pandemic is teaching us to tackle the climate crisis

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed our everyday life in an unprecedented way and has made us very conscious about the vulnerability of our modern society. It has demonstrated an increasingly critical need for systemic transformation, based on the principles of sustainability and resilience [1, 2]. As a “stress test” [3] this pandemic outbreak and ongoing crisis has already taught us several important lessons that should be considered for dealing with climate change, a fundamental challenge and risk to humanity for the 21st century and beyond.


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