Climate change is considered by many to be the greatest challenge to humanity. It is a “perfect storm” that will lead to unprecedented social and ecological impacts, unless urgent measures are taken to both reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes that are now considered inevitable. There is a growing recognition that traditional approaches and “business-as-usual” are insufficient to address the complex challenges of climate change. In fact, there have been many calls for new modes of thinking about multiple interacting processes, policies, and programs, and both scientific and policy discourses increasingly emphasize the need for deliberate transformation to address climate change.
Transformation to a low-carbon, well-adapted global society presents both opportunities and risks, and raises some important questions: What do we actually mean by transformation? What do we know from historical experience in a diverse field how to make it happen? Where are the gaps in our knowledge base to inform concrete strategies and actions for deliberate, ethical and sustainable transformation at the rate and scale that a global existential threat calls for? Can we innovate rapidly enough, and with sufficient intelligence, to transform systems along pathways towards global justice, gender equity, and long-term social and ecological resilience? Can we do this in a participative manner, without resorting to fear, force or folly?