The ‘Middle-out’ Approach to Climate Change
It’s fashionable today to push for bottom-up approaches for addressing all major problems. However, authors of a new book argue for a middle-out approach that takes advantages of learnings and experience of leadership from the top and blend it with ground
Given the scale and speed of global climate change and its attendant socio-ecological disruptions, there is an urgent need to begin identifying successful sustainable development strategies across multiple social, geog]raphical and temporal scales. In this scenario neither top-down nor do bottom-up approaches alone have the ability to produce the needed insight. One possible solution to this puzzle is “middle-out” approach.
The “middle-out” approach does not call for new institutions bridging these extremes. Middleout refers instead to a system of information flow wherein lessons learned in the previously isolated and closed-loop community-based experiments is aggregated and organized. With access to this information, top-down decision-makers can more effectively support strategies relevant to local contexts and community-based actors, who previously relied on ad hoc networks to learning anecdotally from one another, can more systematically learn directly from one another.
In short, the middle out approach relies on aggregation of case studies and other reports of community-based sustainability experiments to develop a knowledge base for community-based sustainability experimentation processes that can be leveraged by a wide range of decisionmakers and actors at multiple levels. The “middle-out” platform will create a space for both top- and bottom-level stakeholders to combine the power of the descriptive richness of qualitative case studies with the analytical power of natural language