Climate Change as a complex adaptive super wicked challenge
Climate change is recognized by many to be the greatest challenge to humanity. Though there is widespread recognition of the problem, and a wide array of potential solutions, there remains very little understanding of “how” individuals and groups can catalyze transformations at the non-linear rates and scales that are called for in order to avoid dangerous climate change. Addressing climate change is a political, social, economic, and cultural challenge that raises important questions about individual and collective capacities for transformation: Do we have a sufficient knowledge base to inform strategies and actions for deliberate, ethical and sustainable transformation at the rate and scale that is called for? Although there are many theories, frameworks and approaches that provide insights on transformation, the knowledge base remains partial and fragmented, and has failed to inform and activate responses of the types and at the scales that are considered necessary and urgent. There is a need for integral approaches that bring together both the objective, exterior aspects of behavioral and systems transformations and the subjective, interior dimensions of personal and cultural transformations.
“”The trick, as with all behavioral possibilities of complex systems, is to recognize what structures contain which latent behaviors, and what conditions release those behaviors- and where possible, to arrange the structures and conditions to reduce the probability of destructive behaviors and encourage the possibility of beneficial ones.” – Donella Meadows, system theorist