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Christine Wamsler. Photo

Christine Wamsler

Professor, Docent, appointed Excellent Teaching Practitioner (ETP)

Christine Wamsler. Photo

Linking internal and external transformation for sustainability and climate action : Towards a new research and policy agenda


  • Christine Wamsler
  • Gustav Osberg
  • Walter Osika
  • Heidi Herndersson
  • Luis Mundaca

Summary, in English

Climate change is an increasing threat to sustainable development worldwide. However, the dominant incremental policy approaches have not generated action at anywhere near the rate, scale or depth that is needed. This is largely due to the fact that climate change has historically been framed as a purely external, technical challenge. There is an urgent need for a more integral understanding that links internal and external (collective and systems) approaches to support transformation. However, related knowledge is scarce and fragmented across disciplines. This study addresses this gap. Through a systematic literature review, we analyse how the linkages between internal and external change are portrayed and understood in current research. We assess the scope, perspectives and approaches used to understand why, and how, internal change relates to climate action and sustainability. Our results highlight patterns and gaps regarding foci, conceptualisation, methods, epistemology, ontology and ethics that hamper emergent solutions and progress. Starting from the status quo, we propose an integrated model of change as an agenda and roadmap for future research, policy and practice.


  • LUCSUS (Lund University Centre for Sustainability Studies)
  • The International Institute for Industrial Environmental Economics

Publishing year





Global Environmental Change



Document type

Journal article review




  • Climate Research
  • Social Sciences Interdisciplinary


  • Climate change adaptation
  • Climate change mitigation
  • Environmental change
  • Inner transformation
  • Interiority
  • Paradigms
  • Relationality
  • Subjectivity
  • Values
  • Worldviews




  • ISSN: 0959-3780