Learning to turn tables – Operationalizing the leverage points perspective for empirical research

SCIENCE FOR SUSTAINABILITY

Besides many efforts to turn the tables on our planet’s path to more sustainability, the deep transformation needed in social-ecological systems so far is still missing. As mostly short-term solutions have been implemented, underlying drivers of unsustainable trajectories stay undetected. Recently, a leverage points perspective (LPP) has come more into focus as a possible approach to tackle deep transformation by combining it with other system approaches. Leverage points are known as places of intervention in complex social-ecological systems that enable change. They are separated into fundamental/deep leverage points like the design and intent of a system with more power to change, or superficial/shallow leverage points like parameters and feedbacks with little capability of system change. This distinction permits to assess the potential impact an intervention can have on a system’s condition.
In their new paper, Riechers et al. (2022) develop a process for operationalizing the leverage points perspective in empirical…

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