Deep leverage for sustainability transformation

At the heart of our efforts to make the shift to a sustainable world is the process of rethinking. Rethinking what is important to us, how we should live, what ‘nature’ means to us, of questioning the very foundations of our assumptions, beliefs, values, and rules, all of which make up the fabric of how we understand the world.

Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation is an ambitious, innovative project which is based on Donella Meadows’ idea of targeting deep rather than shallow leverage points to impact more deeply in complex systems, particularly focusing on change in food and energy systems.

We explore three ‘realms of leverage’: Restructure: exploring institutional change, failure and renewal; Reconnect: exploring human-nature connections; and Rethink: exploring changes in our paradigms and understandings. Our two contrasting case studies are in Transylvania (Romania) and Oldenburg (Germany). The ancient, bio-diverse Transylvanian hay meadows and grazing landscapes are in stark contrast to the industrialised, intensive agricultural landscapes in Oldenburg, as are the broader socio-ecological system settings.

About the speaker

Dr Liz Clarke is a transdisciplinary researcher and practitioner with interests spanning complex integrated systems, sustainability science, and knowledge management, and a background in natural resource and rural systems research and development. She is currently a Postdoctoral Fellow at Leuphana University Lueneburg in the Leverage Points for Sustainability Transformation project. She is a Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University and a Research Fellow at Western Sydney University. Her PhD focused on transdisciplinary research methodology and knowledge co-production.