Love and sustainability

By Joern Fischer

Nearly 70 years ago, Erich Fromm argued that individual people as well as society at large had much to gain from developing their capacity to love. Love, he argued, was a universally important ingredient to the human journey – and actively developing a loving character orientation was both possible and beneficial (Fromm 1956).

In this short essay, I interpret some key tenets of Fromm’s seminal work in the context of sustainability. I highlight the relevance of four key ingredients of love proposed by Fromm for sustainability. Following this, I argue that some developments within sustainability science are already pointing at the importance of better understanding and working with love in order to foster sustainability – even though scientists have so far shunned away from actually using the term “love”. I suggest that much could be gained from more explicitly incorporating the concept of love in sustainability research, not least because it may be humanity’s single most powerful boundary object.

Love towards someone or something, according to Fromm, entails four components: knowledge, respect, responsibility, and care. To foster sustainability, I believe these four components are relevant towards interactions with the planet as a whole, interactions with other people (both within and between communities), and interactions with oneself.

Knowledge is critical, clearly, to understand the entities we are dealing with. Respect is a further necessary (but on its own insufficient) ingredient if we are to love someone or something – we need to deeply recognise her, his or its importance in some way. Responsibility suggests a normative link between the person who loves and the entity being loved, which suggests that interactions with this entity somehow have a moral component. And finally, to really love something or someone is reflected in care; that is, in some kind of action that benefits the loved entity.

All of these four components resonate strongly within a sustainability context. With respect to knowledge, Fromm’s definition of love quite clearly invites the pursuit of science – first of all, it is indeed critical that we understand the world and accumulate knowledge about it. The other three components of love are less well represented at present, but all have gained prominence within sustainability science in recent years. Most prominently, calls for planetary stewardship embody implicit respect towards our planet as well as recognising that in the Anthropocene, it is the responsibility of the dominant species on the planet to take care of the planet as a whole (Folke et al. 2021). Similarly, the rapid growth in literature on relational values signals a deepening of agendas within sustainability science to account for the manifold interlinkages within and between the human and non-human world, including the need to better understand its ethical dimensions (Chan et al. 2016; Norström et al. 2022). Phrases such as “ethos of care” (Staffa et al. 2021) or “empathy” (Brown et al. 2019; Kansky and Maassarani 2022) are increasingly entering the keywords of articles on sustainability matters because they influence sustainability outcomes in the real world.

James Gustave Speth famously noted that “I used to think the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that with 30 years of good science we could address these problems. But I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation, and we scientists don’t know how to do that.” (; based on his interview at on BBC Radio in 2013). While this may be true, it could be that science is in fact on the way to fostering precisely the type of transformation that Speth thought was missing. Rational enquiry in pursuit of sustainability has led to the recognition that multiple facets must come together to bring about positive outcomes, including all four components that Fromm used to define love. Quite curiously thus, the rigorous and rational pursuit of science has effectively led to calls for more love – which his strikingly consistent with Fromm’s observation many decades ago: “Society must be organized in such a way that man’s social, loving nature is not separated from his social existence, but becomes one with it. If it is true, as I have tried to show, that love is the only sane and satisfactory answer to the problem of human existence, then any society which excludes, relatively, the development of love, must in the long run perish of its own contradiction with the basic necessities of human nature.” (Fromm 1956)

A last thought that I wish to touch upon is that, if the above is indeed true, it could be worthwhile to spell out at which scales love ought to be investigated and fostered. I propose three scales as a starting point, noting that these could be broken up much more finely – the scale of the planet, the scale of human interactions, and the scale of interactions with oneself. All three matter at the same time, and thus I would argue, it is important to address all three at once rather than think we can deal with any one scale on its own, and address the rest later. Put differently, we cannot save the planet without fostering loving relationships between people; and we cannot foster loving relationships with others if we do not love (i.e. know, respect and care for) ourselves. Unsustainable personal journeys or lifestyles, therefore, are unlikely to add up to sustainable communities or a sustainable planet. As such then, the entire spectrum from self to planet would benefit, specifically for the pursuit of global sustainability, from more attention to love in both research and practice.


Brown, K., Adger, W.N., Devine-Wright, P., et al. 2019. Empathy, place and identity interactions for sustainability. Global Environmental Change 56, pp. 11–17.

Chan, K.M.A., Balvanera, P., Benessaiah, K., et al. 2016. Opinion: Why protect nature? Rethinking values and the environment. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 113(6), pp. 1462–1465.

Folke, C., Polasky, S., Rockström, J., et al. 2021. Our future in the Anthropocene biosphere. Ambio 50(4), pp. 834–869.

Fromm, E. 1956. The art of loving. New York: Harper.

Kansky, R. and Maassarani, T. 2022. Teaching nonviolent communication to increase empathy between people and toward wildlife to promote human–wildlife coexistence. Conservation letters.

Norström, A.V., Agarwal, B., Balvanera, P., et al. 2022. The programme on ecosystem change and society (PECS) – a decade of deepening social-ecological research through a place-based focus. Ecosystems and People 18(1), pp. 598–608.

Staffa, R.K., Riechers, M. and Martín-López, B. 2021. A feminist ethos for caring knowledge production in transdisciplinary sustainability science. Sustainability Science.

Sustainability on and off campus: food for thought

By Joern Fischer

During my postdoc, Will Steffen directed the institute where I worked in Australia. He referred to the Anthropocene as a “non-analogue state” — i.e. there was no historical parallel to what was happening to the Earth system. I’ve often thought of this phrase over the last few days: what the world is experiencing now is a fascinating case study of the Anthropocene in a nutshell. The number of sustainability lessons in front of us right now is pretty much endless.

In this blog post, I won’t even try to come anywhere close to a comprehensive list of what we can learn from current events (a nice reflection on conservation specifically by the way, can be found here). But there are three things that keep coming to my mind, and that I’d like to raise here.

  1. Exponential growth in urbanisation and global hyper-connectedness are part of the Anthropocene — the dangers of leaving these patterns unquestioned are becoming apparent more than ever just now. According to resilience theory, hyper-connected systems are often not very resilient. More than ever, we see the downside of exponential growth in urbanisation and hyper-connectedness unfolding in front of our eyes. While praying to the Gods of Efficiency and Specialisation, humanity has essentially forgotten to remain healthy and resilient; which often requires less connectivity, and may even call for “wasting time”, as Marten Scheffer put it so nicely at the Resilience Conference in Stockholm a few years ago.
  2. Moreover, speaking of resilience and efficiency, there are real questions as to what ought to be the appropriate response of universities to the current situation. There’s much to be said for keeping universities running, and for shifting teaching activities to online formats whenever possible. This will, after all, maintain a certain level of normality in these not-so-normal times; it will keep both students and teachers occupied in meaningful social conduct; and it may even be especially interesting in sustainability-oriented subjects because of the current events.

    But here, too, a focus on delivering high-quality education content to keep things going is a double-edged sword: while it’s sensible and responsible to keep things running, it might also be dangerous to expect that we can keep things running as if everything was entirely normal. Our global social-ecological system has just punched us in the stomach, and we’d be well advised to at least take note of this — and take it as a warning signal that not all is well with that system. We can, of course, just put all teaching content online, and plan to go back to normal in autumn … but that’s a huge wasted opportunity to not face the current situation for what it actually could be: a social-ecological warning call that actually reaches Europe, and that unlike most of the other social-ecological crises around the world, wealthy nations at last cannot fully ignore. It would be nice to learn from this warning call — including the all-important lessons about resilience and efficiency that I raised in point 1. If we think we can keep everything going as normal, we’ll further undermine the resilience of many aspects of our personal “inner systems” … which takes me to point 3.

  3. People are people, not robots (and that’s a good thing). At university, this goes for both university teachers and university students. As robots, we could just shift everything online and keep up our efficient learning endeavours. As people, we are emotionally involved in what is going on, and we have relationships that need attention — including relationships with our children, other loved ones, and our inner selves. Extra energy is needed by each and every individual right now to make sense of the current events, and to cope in practical ways as well as emotionally. Some university teachers and students have children they need to look after, for example. There’s a reason we have a “workplace” normally, namely that being equally productive from home is not always possible, especially not when engaged in childcare! So based on this alone, we need to seriously reduce our expectations as to what is actually possible right now, in terms of continuing “business as usual”.

    But equally important, people are emotional beings, and making sense of all that is happening requires time and energy: and if we don’t want to further undermine our collective resilience, we’d be well advised to invest that energy into ourselves and our relationships, as a top priority, ahead of keeping “business” going. Many people are seriously distressed right now, and that’s not only those who are actually sick, or are in touch with someone who’s sick. For many of us, it’s simply painful to see the world as we know it fail; and many of us (in science) have analysed exponential growth curves for many years, and highlighted their inevitable dangers. Dealing with the present situation as such is also an emotional challenge. As such, this time presents an opportunity for introspection and strengthening relationships. If we don’t take our being human and not robots seriously, we risk seeing a wave of new mental health problems while “social distancing” is taking place, as well as missing a global invitation to gradually adjust humanity’s trajectory towards a more sustainable one.

Or in short: Slow down, now.

Join Leuphana University for a postdoc … or more

By Joern Fischer and Berta Martín-Lopez

We’re writing this post to highlight some of the options for people who already have their PhDs to join us at Leuphana University. We’d particularly like to encourage expressions of interest with direct relevance to our existing research priorities in the area of social-ecological systems (including but not limited to these). Especially for people from outside Germany there are some really good options to join us for a postdoc or “more” … we’ll outline four possibilities below. (Follow the links to check the specific rules!)

  1. A fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This option is open to people with a PhD at all stages of their scientific career who live outside Germany; or who have only arrived in Germany very recently. For people within the first four years of the PhD, you can apply for postdoc positions of up to 2 years; if it’s been longer, you can still apply for fellowships up to 18 months (and these can even be divided into multiple stays). In all cases, there is a comfortable living stipend as well as some funds to do actual research.
  2. A Georg Forster fellowship by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This is very similar in terms of the conditions to Option 1 outlined above, but specifically targeting applicants from a list of less developed countries.
  3. A Marie-Curie Fellowship. This is a competitive programme by the EU that provides funding for a 2-year postdoc.
  4. A Sofja Kovalevskaja Award by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation. This is a very competitive programme, and it remains to be seen when the next call comes out for it. But … if and when there is a new call, it’s a great programme that can truly transform your research career. In short, it’s five years of funding to set up your own research group; it’s open to people within six years of the PhD.

There are, of course, other options as well — for example Jan Hanspach leads a BMBF junior research group, and Jacqueline Loos is a Bosch Junior Professor — but the above are some of the most accessible ones for people from outside Germany who finished their PhDs in the not too distant past. So, if you have a strong track record relative to your career stage, and you’re interested in pursuing your social-ecological research amongst a bunch of nice colleagues, we’d be happy to hear from you, and discuss your ideas and a possible application.

New paper – Capital asset substitution as a coping strategy: practices and implications for food security and resilience in southwestern Ethiopia

By Aisa Manlosa

Smallholder farmers in various parts of the world often have to cope with a range of livelihoods-related challenges. These challenges may be associated with a lack in the capital assets they need to implement their livelihoods, or to food shortage. How farmers cope with these challenges has an impact on their food security and resilience. We investigated farmer’s coping strategies using capital asset substitution as an analytical lens. We sought to address the following questions: (1) How do smallholder farming households cope with shortage in capital assets and shortage of food?; (2) What role does capital asset substitution play in coping strategies?; (3) How do different types of capital asset substitution influence a given household’s state of capital assets, and what are the implications for their resilience and food security? The paper which is newly published in Geoforum, is available here.


A common view of the landscape in southwest Ethiopia showing people’s homes, gardens, and livestock in a farm field. (Photo taken by Jan Hanspach)

The study was conducted in southwestern Ethiopia where our team has been doing research since 2015. The analysis was based on qualitative data from an open-ended section of a survey with over 300 respondents and from semi-structured interviews with a subset of 30 interviewees. Data from the survey provided information about the common livelihood challenges in the study area, while semi-structured interviews provided substantive narratives concerning how people coped with the challenges, and the outcomes of their coping strategies.

In sum, the study revealed that “most commonly identified challenges were related to the natural capital such as crop raiding, and land scarcity. Households coped in various ways and most of their strategies involved drawing on the capital assets they had access to in processes of capital asset substitution. Coping strategies that involved drawing on social and human capitals which were very common tended to maintain the capital asset base of households. For example, a collaborative scheme called didaro helped augment labour input needed to guard the fields from wild animals. On the other hand, those that involved a liquidation of physical and economic capitals without commensurate returns tended to erode capital asset base. The erosive effect of certain coping strategies was found to result in reduced resilience or reduced abilities to maintain livelihoods and be food secure.” The paper concluded that “policies which seek to leverage smallholder agriculture for food security need to expand their focus beyond increasing production, and better integrate the aspect of resilience. In actionable terms, institutional investments are needed to support non-erosive coping strategies and to develop alternatives for erosive coping strategies. Since non-erosive coping strategies are likely to differ across contexts, identifying what these strategies are at the local level and building on them will be key to increasing resilience and supporting food security in specific geographies. Given the pervasiveness of challenges associated with natural capital, policies for prioritizing non-erosive strategies over erosive ones will need to be complemented with a sustained effort to reduce challenges associated with natural capital.”

This study furthered showed that the concept of capital asset substitution can be applied in livelihoods analysis to unpack interlinkages between different types of capitals. The application of the concept highlights that some capital assets such as natural capital, are elemental to the construction of livelihoods, and as proponents of strong sustainability have argued, are not fully interchangeable. The distinctive importance of different types of capital assets and interlinkages between them should be incorporated in livelihoods analyses for better understanding of the dynamic preconditions underlying smallholder farming.


The future of conservation

By Joern Fischer

I just finished teaching a Master’s level semester-long course on “conservation biology”. Today’s class finished with a student-led discussion on “the future of conservation”. Because I found it a very inspiring discussion – and indeed, a very nice semester (thanks to a lovely group of students!) – I wanted to briefly reflect on this discussion here.

The students running the session chose to base the discussion on a recent paper by Chris Sandbrook and colleagues, which reported on the diversity of views about how to achieve conservation in the scientific community. Their work was published in a high-profile paper, and there is also a website to go with it, where you can assess what kind of conservationist you are.

Interestingly, my class had students who were “traditional conservationists” – emphasizing the importance of science and ecocentric values, and being somewhat skeptical of capitalism; as well as “new conservationists” – who were relatively more people-oriented and more in favour of working with capitalism. Our discussion around these issues was quite deep but relaxed: as Sandbrook et al. point out in their paper, it’s not necessary nor useful to play out the different perspectives against one another. Depending on their background and life experiences, people will favour different kinds of approaches. And most likely, we need different approaches! In such instances I am always reminded of a talk by Michael Soulé, which I covered many years ago on this blog – there are multiple “life-affirming movements”, and from a practical perspective, we probably do better by recognizing what we have in common across our different mindsets than by focusing on what is dividing us.

Unlike my students, my own conservation profile is a little bit different. I thought this is kind of good, because it suggests I haven’t indoctrinated them to the extent that they simply repeat what I say  🙂

Screen Shot 2019-07-04 at 10.18.56

According to the online tool, I’m a fairly middle-of-the-road conservationist, but if anything, I’m a “critical social scientist”. I find this highly amusing because I am regularly annoyed by academia being dominated by a culture of critique… but I guess the point is that I am both a bit skeptical about capitalism, as well as being fairly people-centred in my views on conservation. I see this as a result of my personal experiences; working in human-modified landscapes, and also working in contexts where human well-being depends on nature. As to capitalism, I am greatly skeptical because I see it as closely intertwined with the problems of our era (so how can it be the solution?), and too often, I feel it ends up benefiting the powerful but not those whose well-being is actually most at threat.

Thanks again to my students for a nice semester, and check out the nice work by Sandbrook et al. if you haven’t seen it already!

Back to the truth: when there’s nothing new to say

By Joern Fischer

I have to admit I’m pretty tired of science right now. Back in 2012, I led a paper that essentially said “we have enough science, it’s time to do something”. And perhaps not surprisingly… that’s still the case. Frankly, science can get tiring when there is nothing new to say.

There are of course scientists who are simply so excited to find new ways of thinking about the world, or new aspects that are as yet not well understood that they will keep going, and going, and going. I applaud those people driven by endless curiosity – they are the “real scientists”, and it’s wonderful that we have them. But I guess in conservation and sustainability, there are many other scientists, too, who have a hope that their work is somehow of use. And those can get pretty disillusioned when there’s nothing fundamentally new to be said – when it’s just the same old stories, re-hashed over and over, telling different versions of the same overall plot, namely that the world as we know it, is falling apart.

If science is to be useful, rather than just “new”, what does it have to look like?

Sometimes, it feels we’re in an endless science factory of generating ever more nuanced knowledge when frankly, it’s not a lack of knowledge that is keeping us from creating a healthier world. Most of the insights important for biodiversity conservation are many, many decades old – bigger patches still have more species than small ones, species have their bioclimatic niches, intensive agriculture leads to simplified landscapes and those have fewer species, chemicals harm the environment, etc etc etc … frankly, the kind of understanding we need to actually understand, in general terms, our environmental crisis is at a basic undergraduate level. The rest is simply different types of exciting little turrets that academics stick onto their conceptual castles because … well, because they like turrets.

And so we talk about this turret and that one, is my turret better than yours, and we talk and publish and write and (over-)work … while Rome is burning.

What do we do, as scientists, when there is simply nothing new to say, nothing more to do than construct ever more refined turrets? What do we do when entire groups of peers, and funding bodies, deeply believe in turret construction as a way of making an academic living? What do we do when disillusionment hits us, telling us that science is largely just the addition of turrets to a very well founded understanding already constructed? – If it’s not a lack of turrets that is causing the world’s problems, what then is it? And what is science, in that context?

One answer is that science is simply part of learning some aspects of truth (those knowable via science, i.e. possibly just a small fraction of truth at large). So when there is nothing new to say, I suggest we simply go back to the truth, at a foundational level, rather than building more turrets. Large patches have more patches than small ones, for example – it’s still true, and it’s extremely useful to know at a time when we’re losing species dozens of times faster than in prehistoric times. The Global North is exploiting the Global South – also still true, and also still useful to know. Climate catastrophe is on its way – still true, too, and useful to hear. These truths are unexciting to scientists, they tell us nothing new. But they matter.

As scientists, we communicate an understanding of the world, in various formats. Along with other people who speak to large audiences – such as artists, teachers, politicians or clergymen – we thus have the opportunity to share truth. The importance of a given truth, I’d argue, is not measured by how new it is, but how necessary it is to be heard, at a given time.

And so … when there’s nothing fundamentally new to say, I suggest we simply accept that this is how it is. And we can simply repeat those aspects of scientific truth that are most urgently needed at the time. Is that still science then, when we’re not primarily putting ourselves at the service of novelty? Perhaps to some it’s not. But at least it’s useful. Perhaps it can be more fruitful to state simple truths a million times over instead of going along with the illusion that more turrets of truth are needed before we can actually transform our world.

New paper: Sustainability starts within (each of us)

By Joern Fischer

Led by Chris Ives and co-written by Rebecca Freeth and me, I’d like to draw your attention to our new paper on sustainability and our “inner worlds”. In this new paper, which recently appeared in Ambio, we argue that there is a very important but largely ignored “inner dimension” to sustainability; a dimension that is all about our emotions, thoughts, identities and beliefs.

To illustrate our idea, we borrowed an observation from Ken Wilber’s integral theory (though notably, we did not borrow integral theory itself). The idea we borrowed is that human knowledge and experience about the world can be classified in a 2×2 matrix – we can engage with interior individual phenomena (“I”), exterior individual phenomena (“It”), interior collective phenomena (“We”), or exterior collective phenomena (“They”; called”Its” by Wilber).

Let’s assume for a moment that these four quadrants actually capture human experience. In a next step, we might say that sustainability science is meant to help humanity reach a sustainable future. This very broad quest, we might argue, entails challenges in all four quadrants – but, as I briefly summarise here, sustainability science has largely ignored one of these quadrants!

Let’s go through the quadrants. The “It” quadrant is all about how a thing works – for example, it might be the kind of disciplinary science needed to answer how much of a certain greenhouse gas is stored in a particular soil type, or how many bird species occur in a particular forest patch. The “They” quadrant is the plural version of “It” – it’s all about multiple phenomena in the external world and how they interact. Systems thinking fits into this quadrant, and it’s a quadrant that has been extremely useful in sustainability science. Third, the “We” quadrant is all about how we, collectively, live. This might be about culture, or about regulations or social norms – the things that influence how “we” collectively behave. This, too, has received quite a bit of attention by sustainability scientists, and has been very useful.

What’s largely missing to date… is “I”. Of course philosophers and psychologists have had an interest in what happens within individual human beings, but sustainability scientists have largely stayed away from this level of human experience.

If, however, human experiences play out in all four major dimensions; and if these dimensions all are essential to human ways of living and being – then this is a glaring omission!

Interestingly, non-scientists have engaged quite strongly with the inner worlds of individuals, including (but not only) in spiritual circles (e.g. see Chris’ previous blog post here). Sustainability science as a whole has been rather slow on the uptake … although there are also important examples within sustainability science of people who have looked at what happens within individuals. Not least of all, Donella Meadows argued that the ability to change one’s paradigm was a key way to bring about change; an idea also captured in the increasingly popular “iceberg metaphor” copied from our paper and depicted in the figure below.

Arguably, what we value, how we think about things, what we believe in, and what we think it means to be human all matter in very fundamental ways – and, we argue, we need to engage with questions such as these if we are to successfully address the grand challenges of our times.

Our paper does not provide a simple set of answers for what we now need to do, given this realization. Rather, it aims to show, first of all, that the lack of focus on the self has been a gap in mainstream sustainability research to date; and we provide a few initial pointers for where we can each start to close this gap in the future.

Ioan Fazey: “It’s the end of the world as we know it”

Conference Report on Leverage Points 2019, 6-8 February 2019, Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany

By Maraja Riechers and Joern Fischer

What can we do to actually turn around global patterns of un-sustainability? How can we bring about transformative change? What role do different types of leverage points play in such a transformation? – These were some of the questions addressed at the inaugural Leverage Points 2019 Conference at Leuphana University Lueneburg, Germany, which was attended by well over 400 participants.

A guiding theme throughout the conference was the idea of “leverage points”, as formulated by Donella Meadows in her seminal essay on “Places to intervene in a system”. Her idea has, since then, inspired a new suite of work on leverage points, as exemplified and detailed in recent papers from Leuphana University and elsewhere (e.g. here, here, and here). Key themes addressed at the conference related to re-structuring institutions, re-connecting humans to nature, re-thinking knowledge generation, using systems thinking to understand complexity, and engaging with non-academic stakeholders to bring about real-world change.

The conference was designed to create a stimulating, challenging and caring atmosphere for exchange. In addition to keynotes and presentations (note: videos of the keynote presentations will eventually go online on the conference website!) the vast majority of sessions included other more innovative elements, such as world café discussions, panels, or were held in a workshop format. It also included numerous fun elements such as timeline of sustainability transformation and a heap of good music (for example, Brass Riot and also other excellent artists) and art. Moreover, findings from all sessions were documented via “graphic harvesting” by a highly skilled team of young artists with a background in sustainability science.

Without doubt, different participants had different experiences, and we can only share some of our personal (and biased) impressions of the event. Statements by other attendees suggested many of the people who came had a great time, and many of us at some point felt challenged in our own ways of thinking – something the organizing team had specifically tried to do! And thus, while the conference covered relatively conventional themes such as urban institutions for sustainability (e.g. in the keynote by Niki Frantzeskaki), it also gave a voice to indigenous worldviews (in the keynote by Gogo Dineo Ndlanzi), and considered the implications of quantum physics for understanding social phenomena and global change (in the keynote by Karen O’Brien).

There were of course many memorable moments, and these are summarized in a wide range of blog posts elsewhere – including on bioregional centres, where and when to intervene, or how to master learning processes but also the implications of this for systemic research, taking deep leverage points personally, or for hopeful narratives for transformation. The title of this current post – “it’s the end of the world as we know it” – is taken from Ioan Fazey’s keynote presentation. He argued that transformative change was very definitely in the air – either because humanity chooses to change things in major ways; or because global systems will force transformations onto humanity. We hope that the leverage points perspective will help us find interventions that can cause ripple effects throughout the system and foster sustainability – mindfully, and not as a panicked and forceful adaptation to increasingly painful minor and major system collapses.

Leverage Points 2019 was fun and inspirational. It brought together people from different communities, including the resilience community, the sustainability transformation community and the systems thinking and governance communities. Thanks to all participants for making this a wonderful event!

Leverage Points 2019 was organized by David J. Abson, Anne Jo Berkau, Julia Leventon, Daniel Lang, and other colleagues from the Leuphana Leverage Points project team.

This blog was written by Joern Fischer and Maraja Riechers. Joern Fischer has been professor of sustainable landscapes at the Faculty of Sustainability at Leuphana University Lueneburg since November 2010. His interdisciplinary activities focus on social-ecological systems, covering several areas of landscape ecology and the social sciences. Maraja Riechers is a postdoctoral researcher in a project on leverage points for sustainability at Leuphana University Lueneburg. Her research focuses on human-nature connectedness, relational values, human-wildlife conflicts and landscape change.