Climate change, biodiversity loss, and other well-known social and environmental problems pose grave risks. Progress has been insufficient, and as a result, scientists, global policy experts, and the general public increasingly conclude that bold change is required. At least two kinds of bold change are conceivable: reform of existing societal systems (e.g., financial, economic, and governance systems), including their institutions, policies, and priorities; and transformation, understood here as the de novo development of and migration to new and improved systems. The latter has barely been explored in the scientific literature and is the focus of this concept paper. The main theses explored are that transformation is prudent, given risks, attractive, given potential benefits, and achievable, given political, social, and financial constraints. A body of literature is cited in support, but that body is necessarily small given the novelty of the topic. In particular, there are almost no papers in the scientific literature addressing the “how to?” of transformation, a central theme of this paper. Thus, this paper serves in part to raise topics and bring attention to possibilities and new directions.
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