11 Fronts in the Fight for Sustainability: Introducing the Levers and Leverage Points

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

In what was likely the world’s largest participatory process ever at Rio+20, humanity collectively envisioned a future where humans and nature coexist sustainably to support each other. This culminated in the UN Sustainable Development Goals. But the best available science shows that this sustainable future is unachievable without transformative change in our societies and economies.

CoSphere’s goal is to equip our members (you!) with everything you need to bring about the necessary transformative change: accessible analysis, a suite of actions and initiatives, the ability to create and share these, and a community. But first, some background about the elements of transformative change.

The Elements of Transformative Change: a Deep Dive

Transformative change isn’t just big change: transformative change towards sustainability means changing particular things in particular ways (see Transformative Change). Our core team played a leading role in this science, which identified the key elements of sustainable pathways.

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.

In this series, we take a closer look at each of these elements (called Levers and Leverage Points). These ‘explainers’ will set the foundation for how we assess campaigns, programs and policies, contextualizing our analysis with regards to their contribution to transformative change. We are highlighting each of these elements to help our community develop a greater understanding of where we should focus our collective efforts towards sustainability.

Our Approach to Transformative Change

Throughout our Lever and Leverage Point series, we will refer to each lever and leverage point by their short form letter (L for levers and LP for leverage points) and number combination (eg. LP2 refers to Leverage Point 2: Total Consumption). Each blog in our Levers and Leverage Points series starts with the ‘prevailing thinking’ (associated with today’s status quo) and progresses into the ‘transformed thinking’ necessary to drive transformative change. The ‘path forward’ builds from there to identify the steps that will drive change within each lever or leverage point.

Actions not working towards transformative change may be ineffective, or even counterproductive. Orienting advocacy campaigns to employ the full set of levers and leverage points will be vital to achieving a sustainable future.

Throughout the series, we will show how each of the elements interacts with the others synergistically. Changing global systems is hard—but it’s not impossible when you have leverage.

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