Despite pleas for major change, there is still a lack of understanding of the mechanisms and patterns involved, and of the conditions under which critical transformations can emerge. This lack of understanding greatly decreases the chances for successfully navigating transformation and embarking upon sustainable trajectories. Transformation involves the ability to steer away from undesired regimes and shift social-ecological systems into new improved trajectories that sustain and enhance ecosystem services and human wellbeing.
Transformations involve incremental as well as abrupt change at many different scales There are no blueprints or recipes for sustainability transitions. Empirical studies show that transformations that reconnect people to the Biosphere are multi-level and multi-phase processes that involve incremental as well as abrupt change. Transformational change is needed for moving out of “bad states” (social-ecological traps) or steering away from potential critical thresholds.