Jan 25: Open Lecture – The Political Economy of Sustainability Transformations

An open Lecture in Uppsala with Dr. Maja Göpel of the Wuppertal Institute.

When: Wednesday January 25, 15.15-17.00
Where: Hambergssalen, Geocentrum, Villavägen 16, Uppsala

Download Maja’s presentation here.

The Talk

40 years into the sustainable development agenda have reversed only few unsustainable trends. In the context of reaching the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development we now hear the call for a paradigm shift, transformations, radical changes or system innovations in order to finally change course. But what does this actually mean? And how do we put it into practice?

This talk is based on Maja’s new book The Great Mindshift and zooms in on these two questions as follows:

  1. If the changes envisioned by the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda and other change initiatives are supposed to be transformational in quality, how do we work toward this quality?
  2. If the transformations envisioned are supposed to support sustainable development, what are the key leverage points to unlock unsustainable path dependencies?

In the answers it combines system transformation research with political economy and change leadership insights when discussing the need for a great mindshift in how human wellbeing, economic prosperity and healthy ecosystems are understood if the Great Transformations ahead are to lead to more sustainability. Maja argues that the most important leverage point to making this transition happen lies in a change of the mainstream economic paradigm. Its main concepts are blind when it comes to understanding human needs and nature’s abilities to regenerate the resources that their satisfaction depends on, in particular when thinking about the long term. Thus, their instrumental role in shaping not only economic goals and institutions but also individual mindsets, social roles, cultural narratives and societal paradigms needs to be put center stage when seeking to understand and analyze how and where to ignite the radical incremental change strategies that promise to support the aspirations that the 2030 Agenda sets out for the world.

Maja Göpel
Maja’s research, engagement and publications focus on system transformations for sustainable development, new prosperity models and future justice with an emphasis on the role of paradigm shifts as strategic leverage points. Her passion lies in painting the big picture and translating between worldviews to create common ground for unexpected coalitions. She just published “The Great Mindshift. How a New Economic Paradigm and Sustainability Transformations Go Hand in Hand” (Springer 2016) and sets up new initiative on Transformative Literacy for Sustainability System Innovations. Previously, Maja created the Future Policy Award and the Future Justice Program at the World Future Council. She is a member of the Club of Rome and the Balaton Group, lectures at 2 universities and serves on the scientific advisory boards of several organizations as well as the mother of two girls.