Policy makers are often called upon to navigate between scientists’ urgent calls for long-term concerted action to reduce the environmental impacts due to resource use, and the public’s concerns over policies that threaten lifestyles or jobs. Against these political challenges, resource efficiency policy making is often a changeable and even chaotic process, which has fallen short of the political ambitions set by democratically elected governments. This article examines the importance of paradigms in understanding how the public collectively responds to new policy proposals, such as those developed within the project DYNAmic policy MiXes for absolute decoupling of environmental impact of EU resource use from economic growth (DYNAMIX). The resulting proposed approach provides a framework to understand how different concerns and worldviews converge within public discourse, potentially resulting in paradigm change. Thus an alternative perspective on how resource efficiency policy can be development is proposed, which envisages early policies to lay the ground for future far-reaching policies, by altering the underlying paradigm context in which the public receive and respond to policy. The article concludes by arguing that paradigm change is more likely if the policy is conceived, framed, designed, analyzed, presented, and evaluated from the worldview or paradigm pathway that it seeks to create (i.e., the destination paradigm).
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