Leverage Points 2019

Lüneburg, Germany will host this major international conference on sustainability research and transformation in February 2019

About the Conference

Humanity sits at a crossroad between tragedy and transformation, with seemingly little idea of where we wish to go, or how we intend to get there. Similarly, now is a crucial time for sustainability research. Is it to be a passive chronicler of the challenges of our times? Or an active facilitator of transformative change towards sustainability?

This conference is inspired by the seminal essay by Donnella Meadows “Leverage Points Places to intervene in a systemexternal link, opens in new window”. In this work, born of frustration and a deep desire for a more effective change, Meadows highlighted a series of leverage points—places in complex systems where a small shift may lead to fundamental changes in the system as a whole— for sustainability transformations. In particular, she noted the tendency to focus on highly tangible, but essentially weak leverage points (i.e., interventions that are easy to make, but have limited potential for transformative change).

Instead, she urged a focus on perhaps less obvious, but potentially far more powerful areas of intervention. Donnella Meadows’ notion of leverage points can be seen as a boundary object, a model, a metaphor and a fundamental challenge to the status quo, dominate mindsets and paradigms. We firmly believe that such radical approaches are needed in sustainability research and praxis if they are to meet the challenges of the 21st century.

Inspired by Meadows’ work the conference seeks to explore (in theory, methods and praxis) the deep leverage points that can lead to sustainability transformations. This conference will ask: how do we transform ourselves, our science, our institutions, our interventions and our societies for a better future?

 

The conference is premised on three principles:

  1. The importance of searching for places where interventions can lead to transformative change.
  2. Open inquiry, exchange and co-learning across multiple theoretical, methodological and empirical research approaches focused on sustainability science and transformative change.
  3. The need to reflection on modes of research and processes of change in leverage point and sustainability transformation related research.

 

The conference will have a number of core themes:

 

  1. Re-structuring institutions for transformative change
  2. Re-connecting people and nature as a deep leverage point
  3. Re-thinking how we know and act in relation to sustainability transformations
  4. Systems thinking and complexity as tools for transformation
  5. Transformative research practices in sustainability science

 

In the spirit of Meadows’ work there will also be emergent themes dictated by inspiring research that falls outside the confines of the themes outlined above.

Call for abstracts

The call for abstracts is open until 30 June 2018. For more information please visit: http://leveragepoints2019.leuphana.deexternal link, opens in new window

If you have any specific enquiries about abstract submission please contact: Leveragepoints2019@leuphana.de

PECS - Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society

Stockholm Resilience Centre

Stockholm University
SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
Visiting address: Kräftriket 2

+46 734 60 70 68 albert.norstrom@su.se

WHAT IS PECS

The Programme on Ecosystem Change and Society (PECS), is a core project of Future Earth. It aims to integrate research on the stewardship of social–ecological system and the relationships among natural capital, human wellbeing, livelihoods, inequality and poverty.