Future Earth Transformations

Photo: Erik Pihl

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The complex, interconnected challenges of environmental change and sustainability that we face in the 21st century – such as climate change, biodiversity loss, water, energy and food security, population growth and rapid urbanisation – will never be successfully addressed unless we are prepared to undergo and even embrace profound and possibly difficult transformations to our prevailing social structures, systems and relationships with the environment, from the local to global scale. While we already know quite a lot about the associations between environmental change and persistent and evolving societal problems such as as poverty, corruption, migration and social discontent and conflict, we still know too little about how to turn these insights into transformative processes that result in more robust and equitable solutions to sustainability and societal challenges. Both new scientific knowledge and other types of practice-based knowledge are needed to make progress. 

In response, the Future Earth Transformations Knowledge-Action Network is connecting researchers and practitioners all over the world in a concerted effort to identify and fill the knowledge gaps pertaining to societal transformations to sustainability. The Network is based on a conception of “transformation” as a profound and complex socio-ecological process with both short- and long-term implications for the sustainability of natural and social systems. Engaging with a wide range of research communities and non-academic actors, this Knowledge-Action Network will explore and integrate diverse perspectives on critical questions and issues relating to sustainability, such as what type of alternative futures are considered desirable and possible, whose visions count and the politics and social conflicts surrounding decisions and actions concerning transformations to sustainability. Participants in the Transformations Knowledge-Action Network will furthermore collaborate in bringing new knowledge and deepened understanding to bear on action, policies and other forms of intervention to accelerate the necessary moves to equity and sustainability.

The Future Earth Transformations Knowledge-Action Network will operate through a regular programme of events and activities, both virtual and physical, and welcomes ideas for related activities and resources from participants and contributors. By supporting rigorous, integrated and solutions-oriented research on social transformations in close collaboration with non-academic societal partners, the Future Earth Transformations Knowledge-Action Network aims to make a major contribution to knowledge and action for global sustainability.

Contact: transformations@futureearth.org