Climate change, the COVID pandemic, and the financial crash of 2018 all highlight the importance of recognising the interconnected, networked nature of the landscape that we operate in. The systemic impact of these phenomena accentuates the urgency of attending to the social, economic, geopolitical and physical dimensions of sustainable development at all scales across national and geographic boundaries.

The chapter sets out some of the most pressing issues that confront us as we address the challenge of halting, and perhaps reversing the deleterious anthropogenic impact on our planet. It articulates the knowledge that has been developed across disciplines about complex ecosystems, outlining what makes them resilient and sustainable, and the extent to which their stability is threatened by climate change and human activity. It draws on the science of Complex Adaptive Systems to focus on figuring out how we break of the current modus operandi, resetting cognitive constructs and using a model of network-based organisation to move to more ecocentric ways of being.