In this research theme, Shearing explores the governance of environmental change and how society is, and can, adapt to the myriad threats presented by climate-risk. It explores how ‘fulcrum institutions’, those institutions with the capacity to lever large-scale societal change, can be enrolled to help realise sustainable solutions in the face of global environmental change. The ‘fulcrum institutions’ under investigation, are the global insurance and financial industries, and the key commercial resources industries. 

Criminology and Climate: Insurance, Finance and the Regulation of Harmscapes, Routledge, 2021, explores the roles of insurance companies.

A research project on The Art of Resilience: How Security Professionals Manage the Unpredictable, aims to understand the practices of security professionals through their implementation and application of the concept of resilience both in response to  environmental insecurities and cybernetic securities.

The “Art of Resilience”,  is a joint project with the International Centre for Comparative Criminology (CICC), University of Montreal and the Global Risk Governance, Programme, University of Cape Town.

The aim of the project is to understand how security professionals are responding to disruptive and unanticipated events. A key lens for this analysis is exploring how such professionals use the concept of resilience to understand and act across unfamiliar domains which are currently poorly secured – namely the ‘new worlds’ of the Anthropocene and cyberspace.

The Anthropocene presents unsecured environmental exposures which present new harmscapes, such as climate variability or water scarcity, which conventional approaches are ill-equipped to deal with. Likewise, the advent of ransomware attacks and data breaches present entirely new challenges to securing against such online harms within a ‘world’ which is generally poorly understood, governed or secured.

Through a documentary analysis and interviews with professionals who responded to major crises, the use and framing of resilience by a range of actors will be examined across multiple cases within Anthropocene and cyber domains. Comparative analysis hopes to contribute to enriching the many theoretical and normative perspectives on the subject.