The co-evolving nature of inequality

As the world strives to accelerate action towards sustainability, inequality prevents socially sustainable solutions. Inequality is persistent, and it is associated with multiple social and health problems. Inequality is also related to risks in the new planetary reality of a changing climate and biodiversity loss.

The Power of giants

Not all economic and financial actors are equally influential. Our globalised economies contain a considerable concentration of influence and power, possibly putting Earth’s future in the hands of but a few.

Foundations for behavioral change

Transforming societies towards sustainability requires that individuals, groups and the private and societal sectors alike, change their behaviours. Since behaviour is, to a large extent, guided by social norms, a change of norms has the potential to ignite the necessary large-scale behavioural shifts.

From systemic risks to system opportunities

The changing planetary reality and our inability to properly grasp its consequences for people and planet pose immense challenges and risks. Yet, a shift towards a prosperous future for all on a thriving planet is possible. Domino-effects that support opportunities for both people and the planet can be triggered in many ways: changing social norms, supporting economic policies and institutions, the “power of giants”, initiatives…

Earth stewardship: Shaping a sustainable future through interacting policy and norm shifts

Transformation toward a sustainable future requires an earth stewardship approach to shift society from its current goal of increasing material wealth to a vision of sustaining built, natural, human, and social capital—equitably distributed across society, within and among nations. Widespread concern about earth’s current trajectory and support for actions that would foster more sustainable pathways suggests potential social tipping points in public demand for an…

Governance in the Face of Extreme Events: Lessons from Evolutionary Processes for Structuring Interventions, and the Need to Go Beyond

The increasing frequency of extreme events, exogenous and endogenous, poses challenges for our societies. The current pandemic is a case in point; but “once-in-a-century” weather events are also becoming more common, leading to erosion, wildfire and even volcanic events that change ecosystems and disturbance regimes, threaten the sustainability of our life-support systems, and challenge the robustness and resilience of societies. Dealing with extremes will require…

Decision analysis based on optimization

Chapter 29 deals with the set of methods related to decision analysis based on optimisation, which refers to a systematic approach to evaluating information about alternative choices when multiple options are possible, with many possible outcomes and different trade-offs. The chapter discusses mathematical programming, optimal control theory, game theory, decision theory, cost-benefit analysis and multiple-criteria decision analysis. It goes on to discuss the types of…

Social relationship dynamics mediate climate impacts on income inequality: evidence from the Mexican Humboldt squid fishery

Small-scale fisheries are critically important for livelihoods around the world, particularly in tropical regions. However, climate variability and anthropogenic climate change may seriously impact small-scale fisheries by altering the abundance and distribution of target species. Social relationships between fishery users, such as fish traders, can determine how each individual responds and is affected by changes in fisheries. These informal cooperative and competitive relationships provide access,…

Cascading regime shifts in pollution recipients and resource systems

Ecosystems can undergo regime shifts – large, abrupt and persistent changes in their structure and function. These regime shifts can interact with each other creating cascading effects. We explore potential characteristics of such interactions and their outcomes. We focus on two types of systems where regime shifts can substantially influence human welfare and livelihoods: pollution recipients, such as the atmosphere and water bodies, and renewable…

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