Acting for change
Part II of the Report explores mechanisms of change that can mobilize action by individuals, communities, governments, civil society and businesses. In emphasizing mechanisms, the aim is to provide a broader template of choices, for multiple actors, that is consistent with the perspective of this Report: that the Anthropocene is a predicament to be navigated, not a policy problem to be solved.
Mechanisms of change
Incentives for change
Social norms frame socially permissible—or forbidden—behaviours. Chapter 4 reports recent findings that social norms are powerful determinants of people’s choices and can change faster than commonly assumed. And new forms of information sharing can support social processes of ethical reasoning (while also presenting risks).
Incentives for change
Incentives determine in part what consumers choose to buy, what firms produce and trade, where investors put their money and how governments cooperate. Incentives and social norms interact with one another, but incentives are also crucial in their own right: Even if people do not change their minds, they may still respond to incentives based on what they can afford and where they see opportunities to meet their aspirations. Chapter 5 considers how existing incentives help explain current patterns of consumption, production, investment and other choices that lead to the planetary pressures documented in part I. And how these incentives could evolve in ways that would ease planetary pressures and move societies towards the transformative changes required for human development in the Anthropocene. It considers three domains shaped by considerations related to incentives: finance, prices and international collective action.
A new generation of nature-based solutions can protect, sustainably manage and restore ecosystems, simultaneously promoting wellbeing and mitigating biosphere integrity loss. They embrace equity, innovation, and stewardship of nature, the three elements of the compass for empowerment outlined in chapter 3. They boost the regeneration of nature by protecting and responsibly using resources. And they rely on the participation and initiative of indigenous peoples and local communities. Chapter 6 illustrates a range of experiences with nature-based solutions and argues that even though they are bottom-up and context-specific, they can contribute to transformational scale at higher levels for two reasons. First, many local and community decisions add up to substantial global impact. Second, planetary and social and economic systems are interconnected, and local decisions can have impacts elsewhere and at multiple scales. But to realize their potential as mechanisms for large-scale transformative change, there has to be a systematic approach to their contribution, what we call nature-based human development.