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Because of the vital role nature plays in supporting our very existence, humanity’s current trajectory threatens the foundations of our livelihoods, health, economies, and quality of life. “The future we want” represented by the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) may soon be out of reach. The incremental changes we’ve been making as governments and individuals (e.g., recycling and enhancing or taking public transit) are important, but they won’t do the job alone. What is needed is a radical break from current trajectories, which may only be achieved through transformative change.
THE SCIENCE OF TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
Identifying the needed changes in social and economic systems to attain sustainable pathways is no small task. Fortunately, we can build upon the analysis of the IPBES Global Assessment, which identified necessary systemic changes (levers) at key points in global social, political and economic systems (leverage points). Without any of these systemic changes, humanity is unlikely to achieve sustainable development somehow—too little food, freshwater, energy, nature (i.e., the SDGs).
CoSphere aims to make these identified levers and leverage points more accessible. Using science to guide our actions, we can ‘leverage’ change for sustainability, meaning we can generate a greater impact with an equal amount of effort.
These levers and leverage points—based on the IPBES Global Assessment and UNEP Making Peace with Nature report—are a checklist of the interconnected components necessary for building a more sustainable and just future.
WHAT IS TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE?
In order to achieve a sustainable future, we need system-wide, “transformative change”—now. Most of the world’s nations asserted this in 2019, and yet most have been unable to initiate this transformation.
Transformative change (sometimes called"system change") means fundamentally shifting current economic, social, institutional, technological, and behavioural structures of our society.
These changes include reforming subsidies, passing and enforcing strong environmental laws, and measuring success and progress differently. It requires actions that build new societal values, evolve worldviews, and transform legal systems to unlock sweeping change.
THINK OF IT LIKE THIS
The process of transformative change is like moving an almost immovable object: you need leverage.
The “object” in question is the system of institutions, governance structures, and firms that run the economy but also perpetuate environmental degradation. The levers are the interventions that we can employ to move—reshape—those systems towards sustainability. The fulcrum represents the leverage points—the variables that are critical to achieving a sustainable future.
RESOURCES FOR TRANSFORMATIVE CHANGE
Join our community to support this movement. As we develop the CoSphere platform we will be delivering a lasting pathway and helpful tools for you to engage and effect positive impact together.