• Focus on strategies that foster real collaboration — finding the best ways to leverage existing structures where they help and work around them where they get in the way, and to change them where they truly impede progress.
• Identify the stakeholders who must join, support, and advocate for solutions—we must reach beyond the “choir” to deeply understand the values, needs, and motivators of other partners including parents, community-based advocacy development organizations, business, neighborhood, and civic leaders.
• Get out of our own way by identifying solutions (programs, structures, policies, practices, and financial models) that might be outside our comfort zone and require letting go of territory.
• Learn from ourselves and others—a great deal of thinking and work has been done and has changed the positioning, importance, and funding in many other arenas.
• Recognize that it will be hard and will take a long-term commitment—this is not a simple or obvious task. The political challenges, economic constraints, competing interests, priority gaps, and complexities are all real and significant challenges.
And ultimately we must:
• Seize the moment—we are in a time of massive economic challenge, political, and generational change. Historically, the most significant reforms and investments in social capital and gamechanging approaches have been accomplished during similar periods of challenge and transformation. We are in a time when policymakers will have to address significant structural changes and where the body politic is in play with pendulum swings left and right that demonstrate a willingness to risk the status quo.
Thanks to organisations such as UK-based charity Tipping Point, which brings artists and eco experts together, there is now a belief within the scientific community that the arts have a major role to play when it comes to saving the planet. “We’re in the middle of a paradigm shift in how we see the world,” says Peter Gingold, who runs Tipping Point. “It comes out of a sense of unease, that we have to do something. One of my dreams is to inspire a work so powerful that it provides the impetus to action – without something horrible having to happen first, and millions of people losing their lives.” There is some precedent for this, the most obvious example being Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth, which helped transform public understanding of global warming.