Levers and Leverage Points: An Introduction

Image by Wayne S. Grazio, licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

CoSphere envisions a future where humans and nature coexist sustainably to support each other. But this vision of a sustainable future is threatened by the current trajectory of human activities, unless we create transformative change in our societies and economies.

CoSphere’s goal is to equip our members (you!) with the necessary tools for working towards the required transformative change. To reach this goal, we will examine the concept of transformative change through its elements to clarify what needs to be done to achieve that vision of a sustainable future.

A Deep Dive into the Elements of Transformative Change

CoSphere’s vision is built upon the framework of transformative change for sustainability; we believe that it is a fundamental requirement to reach a sustainable future. This understanding is based on recent research in the field of sustainability, in which our core team has had a leading role (read our section on transformative change here). This research has isolated the key elements of transformative change that can lead us down a sustainable path. Each element is a lever or leverage point that requires change in order to achieve sustainability; the elements are not a menu of individual options, but rather a checklist of the necessary components.

We’ll be taking a closer look at each of these elements (called Levers and Leverage Points) to provide insight into their key features and contributions to transformative change. These ‘explainers’ will set the foundation for how we assess campaigns, programs and policies that seek to instigate transformative change. We are highlighting each of these elements to help our community develop a greater understanding of what change needs to happen as we focus our collective efforts towards sustainability.

Our Approach to Transformative Change

To begin our Levers and Leverage Points blog series, we’ll be distinguishing the ‘prevailing thinking’ associated with each element from the ‘transformed thinking’ that is necessary to drive transformative change. We will show how past efforts based on the ‘prevailing thinking’ have failed to instigate necessary change, while helping to illustrate the central components of future efforts that will be aligned with the ‘transformed thinking’.

Next, the ‘pathways forward’ will build upon the ‘transformed thinking’ to elucidate the concrete actions that will drive change within each lever or leverage point. Actions not grounded in transformative change may be ineffective, or even counterproductive. Reframing advocacy campaigns around the elements of transformative change will be vital to achieving the vision of a sustainable future.

Throughout the series, we will show how each of the elements interacts with the others synergistically, reflecting the need to act on every item of the checklist together.

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