Our analysis indicated that the transformation of humanity’s activities so they restore nature is only possible at the speed required through political-economic rule change. Such a change will only be realised via strategic and targeted civic mobilisation, enabled by narrative change. These three elements, political-economic rule change, narrative change and civic mobilisation, define our approach to catalysing systems change.
Political-Economic Rule Change
The paradigms and values that underpin our current political-economic system, and the rules, laws, and conventions that maintain these, are the root causes of humanity’s imbalance with nature. We are where we find ourselves because individuals and companies are maximising their piece of the pie within dominant rules and social norms. This locks mainstream activity into a destructive relationship with nature, while marginalising attention to nature. There is now an urgent imperative to develop and scale the next generation of action that will upend this status quo. This change will not be accomplished with fences and parks, or even financial incentives, but will require transformation of the underlying social, economic, and political structures so that they are aligned with sustainability and the protection of nature.
Civic mobilisation refers to mobilisation of civilian populations with the intention to affect changes in the political status quo. We talk about this mobilisation being strategic and targeted, such that efforts arise from clear analysis of the points of intervention to affect political-economic rule change, targeting relevant elements of society to then mobilise and realise these changes. Over the past year we have seen the rise of Extinction Rebellion and Fridays for Future school strikes, but civic mobilisation can be much more planned and targeted. For instance, if a change to fiduciary duty is deemed necessary, then the social groupings of lawyers, accountants and politicians, amongst others, would need to be targeted to engage with such a process of change.
Successfully changing narratives shifts power and changes the dominant narratives, potentially bringing about transformative change. The dominant narratives, both across biodiversity conservation and the political-economic status quo, require profound change if humanity is to stay within planetary boundaries. Our theory of change proposes that it is these narrative changes that will activate strategic and targeted civic mobilisation, which in turn will lead to the political-economic rule change that is required to rewire our economy to support nature.