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

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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

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