A recent COSUST special issue, co-edited by cCHANGE’s Linda Sygna and University of Canterbury Associate Professor Bronwyn Hayward, brings together over 100 of the world’s leading researchers on sustainability transformations to explore the kind of social changes needed to meet the 1.5°C climate change challenge.
The twenty articles (many of which are free to download) combine insights from the natural and social sciences, humanities and the arts and highlight the diverse ways climate change responses can be understood in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication.
The authors shine a light on different approaches around the world (India, China, and Africa), across different sectors (agriculture, urban environments, innovation, investment, and the arts), and across different scales of governance (multilateral organisations, local governments and communities). They also consider the role of narratives and storytelling to explore the “what” and “how” of social transformations.
What should sustainable social transformations look like?
Many of the articles point to the need for holistic, inclusive and systematic approaches for social transformation towards a 1.5°C warmer world. Without considering diverse approaches to transformation, we risk oversimplifying the problems and underestimating society’s capacities to influence systemic change, whether positively or negatively.
How can we achieve them?
It is clear that such far reaching transformations will require collective empowerment and political will for a just and sustainable transition. Several of the articles call for a critical re-examination of climate governance in an increasingly complex and uncertain future. In some cases, they surmise that the current governance structures are far from adequate to even respond to the current challenges.
Taking transformations seriously
While offering fresh insight on meeting the 1.5°C challenge, the articles in this special issue also showcase that the research community itself is willing to take transformations seriously. The authors take intellectual risks to encourage innovative and solutions-oriented policy making and look critically at their own role in producing knowledge on transformations towards sustainability.
Special Issue: Sustainability Governance and Transformation 2018
Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability (COSUST)
Edited by Bronwyn Hayward and Linda Sygna
Volume 31, Pages 1-160 (April 2018)
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