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Transformational change: creating a safe operating space for humanity

Clive A. McAlpine, The University of Queensland, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and National Environmental Decisions Research Hub, Brisbane, Australia
Leonie M. Seabrook, The University of Queensland, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and National Environmental Decisions Research Hub, Brisbane, Australia
Justin G. Ryan, The University of Queensland, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and National Environmental Decisions Research Hub, Brisbane, Australia
Brian J. Feeney, The University of Queensland, School of Geography, Planning and Environmental Management and National Environmental Decisions Research Hub, Brisbane, Australia
William J. Ripple, Department of Forest Ecosystems and Society, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon
Anne H. Ehrlich, Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California
Paul R. Ehrlich, Center for Conservation Biology, Department of Biology, Stanford University, Stanford, California

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5751/ES-07181-200156

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Abstract

Many ecologists and environmental scientists witnessing the scale of current environmental change are becoming increasingly alarmed about how humanity is pushing the boundaries of the Earth’s systems beyond sustainable levels. The world urgently needs global society to redirect itself toward a more sustainable future: one that moves intergenerational equity and environmental sustainability to the top of the political agenda, and to the core of personal and societal belief systems. Scientific and technological innovations are not enough: the global community, individuals, civil society, corporations, and governments, need to adjust their values and beliefs to one in which sustainability becomes the new global paradigm society. We argue that the solution requires transformational change, driven by a realignment of societal values, where individuals act ethically as an integral part of an interconnected society and biosphere. Transition management provides a framework for achieving transformational change, by giving special attention to reflective learning, interaction, integration, and experimentation at the level of society, thereby identifying the system conditions and type of changes necessary for enabling sustainable transformation.

Key words

behavioral change; connectedness; innovative leadership; societal values; transformational change; transition management

Copyright © 2015 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article  is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.  You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087