IART Statement (2020)

IART  Ingrid Katrine Amundsen /

Originality creates the world, knowledge runs it! 

IART Statement (2020)

A Letter for the Future to Look Back On


By Ingrid Katrine Amundsen

Methodological Introduction: On How To Approach Impossible Challenges

The concept of this web portal is quite simple. I give myself impossible intellectual challenges to solve. To approach such a difficult quest, the author puts together piece by piece of arguments into a theoretical whole. Or, at times, the other way around, or a combinatory. Altogether, the result is one way closer to a synthesis, or the other; closer to a decomposition, but in either way a system criticism. The synthesis of the system account consists of putting elements together into a theoretical whole. This, to improve a bird's-eye perspective on an urgent matter. The decomposition part of the system analysis does the opposite of the synthesis. It belongs to thought processes, that breaks concepts or wholeness, into parts. All these elements analysed apart, creates a greater understanding of the system itself. The synthesis and the decomposition combined, is a two-way procedure, that makes the entrance or gateway into a system understanding seam more effortless. Because, it is easier to understand a system by scrutinizing all elements separately or to build a system understanding element by element, than to grasp a whole system at once. Examples of such systems are natural ecosystems, capitalism, the Nordic model, energy systems, the fashion industry, food security or the institutionalized art world. To encounter these comprehensive systems, a system criticism must include both; a synthesis and a decomposition, to make a system account of these complex systems doable. System criticism: at this web portal, is therefore, an act of combining these two thought processes. Both procedures aim at understanding the system(s) addressed more thoroughly. The joint task of these two cognitive styles, is to create an inherent coherence in the essays constructed. This coherence must clarify and support a holistic perspective on the urgent matters discussed. The strategic choice of either option; a synthesis or a decomposition, is to understand and relate to core research questions methodologically. Such questions stated are: what feels most natural in identifying the characteristics of the problem(s) addressed? What brings the most original twist? Or, what unfolds the concerns of the system analysis? And finally: what kinds of arguments supports the coherence of the system inquiry most thoughtfully? Superior to the author's methodological questions and intellectual thinking styles, is to achieve a system change. To face such a superior and impossible challenge, we must collaborate and connect. You cannot change a system by yourself, nor can I. But a web of us can and must. It is our utter responsibility as human beings to save the planet. We must secure the continuance of societal life on earth. We must restore the planet's natural ecosystems. We must keep on expressing ourselves and connecting. The most radical, progressive, and experimental expressions, utterances, behaviours, and connections of our global society keeps on challenging our culture! The final cultural achievements must be to create a more diverse and fairer, open, and tolerant, just and inclusive approach, to human and environmental challenges! Unearth social, and economic equality! Unearth democratic opportunities for marginalized voices. Unearth human compassion! We are all on the same team. It is time for a straight talk, a hard talk. The climate catastrophe is upon us. There is no way to hide from these environmental challenges. We are all responsible. Let us face these comprehensive challenges together, as equally responsible partakers. Let us make a deal. Let us make this one for the team, for the planet, for humanity and nature! 

In Situ Introduction: Rivalry, and the Corona Crisis as a Reinforcement of Pre-Existing Gaps, Clashes, Turmoil, and Conflicts: What is the Solution?

Yet, we have suddenly found ourselves in deep water. We are in the midst of a pandemic outbreak we must combat. A time-limited global war against humanity. We must confront and deal with the societal stressors and brooding in our global society, that the global virus outbreak is causing, in order to fix it, and reach the surface again. And then we must head on to approaching solutions to our present and future environmental challenges. We must learn to adapt and become more resilient, in order to survive. Indeed, this strenuous situation, has thought us a rough and valuable lesson about humanity. About human selflessness and about our solidarity, and about egoism, and national isolation. But these, at first sight opposites, are not always that clear cut or easy to understand. The truth is neither black nor white, it is most certainly, more messy, and unpredictable. However, when the borders in e.g. Europe are closed, this puts a pressure on global solidarity and may even hinder it, but it also helps us in the battle against the coronavirus (NRK 2020b). Closed borders are both an example of an absence of global solidarity, and global cooperation, at once. It is an example of absence of global solidarity, in the shape of national protectionism and isolation. But closed borders globally are also an example of global solidarity, since it is a collective effort done globally to decrease the spread of the coronavirus. Nevertheless, the absence of global solidarity is exemplified in Trump's (2020) revival of the 'America first' policy, that originated from the interwar period (1918-1939) in the US. It may turn out to be a contra global solidarity message. Because, the message supports American nationalism, protectionism, isolation, and unilateralism, that might evolve at expense of global solidarity and global cooperation. However, Lowell (in Stewart 2019) argue: "Embracing international cooperation does not sacrifice national sovereignty but rather embodies and expresses it". In the long run we need open borders and collaboration to make global projects work, such as e.g. solving our environmental problems, combating economic and social inequality, and secure global food distribution. This goes for a small country like Norway too. In order to be successful nationally and locally we need global solidarity, because we do not exist in a vacuum. Global matters influence national and local Norwegian matters, and local and national matters in Norway may have an effect on global trends, such as e.g. decisions to drill for oil and gas or not. We must prepare for current and future environmental and economic challenges now, to face the challenges and problems of a post-corona time. However, during the corona outbreak, the Norwegian government's decision to send critical health personal to northern Italy was two folded. It was an act of solidarity, but the Norwegian crew of health workers, also gained experience from the frontline of the coronavirus outbreak in Italy, so that they could bring valuable knowledge and insights back home to Norway. An exchange of knowledge, support and information through collaboration took place, between Italy and Norway. This, most certainly, contributed to saving lives in both countries. It also exemplifies the benefits of global cooperation, sharing information and knowledge, as well as global solidarity. There is more than one winner, if we decide to collaborate and co-work globally, such as e.g. in showing global solidarity. Nevertheless, the partially absence of global solidarity during the corona outbreak due to closed borders, as well as the glimmer of hope globally, has proved to us how lifesaving and valuable global solidarity can be. Furthermore, the corona crisis has, therefore, shown us the strengths of future collaboration across the globe. The world is a miserable place without global solidarity, global exchange of information and knowledge, as well as global cooperation. But the corona crisis also puts the future of citizen empowerment on the agenda. This, due to home isolation, national isolation, and protectionism. We need to build solid and healthy local democracies and communities, and support marginalized and local voices too, to make our liberal democracies work. Global democracies need a strong foundation of trusting citizens through citizens empowerment, to function optimally. Nonetheless, the corona crisis also tells us something about human empathy, we care. But most fundamentally, the corona crisis is about impossible choices, based on cut to the core ethics: lives are lost, and lives are saved. We cannot be more thankful and express more gratitude, to the fact that the most of us will survive. And, we cannot be more at unease, than when it hits us and we unwillingly must face the fact, that many of us have had to let go of their loved ones. This crisis simply tells us something about mankind and the finest human compassion, altruism, and benevolence. While, in some cases, 'human compassion, altruism and benevolence' is greatly embedded in human selflessness and global solidarity, trust and care, in other cases, these finest human abilities have a clear geopolitical message, which favours global competition over global collaboration. Because Brende (in WEF 2020) argue:

“The more powers compete and pursue strategic advantage at the expense of addressing shared technological, environmental and economic challenges, the more likely it will be that a broader sense of friction will develop across the global system. A rivalrous global system will in turn make it more unlikely that shared priorities are fulfilled” (Brende in WEF 2020).

A global technological competition, nurtured by geopolitical tugs of war, power competitions and strategies, interfere with the most precious human abilities to co-work and show solidarity, and it may evolve at the expense of future prospects of global cooperation (Brende in WEF 2020). In line with this argument, a potential global system change of geopolitical arrangements and power relations and geopolitical positions, are re-evaluated and critically tested. These power relationships, may thereby, have a substantial potential to be reconfigured and reorganized globally, because of the global corona crisis, for better or for worse. The key is balance according to Blair (2020). He further argues: we need to balance strategies with cooperation, such as e.g. with China. We must the find the right strategies towards and right matters to cooperate with China on: "[y]ou've got to keep that space for cooperation [open]", Blair (2020) claims. But the corona crisis is also a humanitarian crisis and an economic crisis, such as when food supply and necessary health equipment is absent or inadequate, or when people have lost their jobs, and their livelihood, due to lockdowns. We do not know how to handle this harshly difficult, demanding and strenuous situation, with a highly contagious virus swiping up and down our globe. The coronavirus has, most certainly, impacted the world disproportionately. This is problematic. However, we do not know the coronavirus well enough yet, to battle against it. And then coordinate the measures of opening our global societies again step by step. This will, most likely, result in a new normal. We need a new normal of practising what is right and what is wrong. In addition, we need to deal with and curb up for global differences, rather than to head back to start (BBC 2020a). Social and economic inequality, that has nurtured structural racism, is throughout history as devastating globally as the coronavirus. We must learn from past mistakes, in order to improve ourselves, and believe that "we can be better" (Obama 2020). In continuance of his argument: we must make space for a better future. This future is still uncertain: will we have to face a new surge, or will we accomplish to limit or to combat the coronavirus, and decrease its current negative and destructive societal impacts? (BBC 2020a). And, will we manage to decipher and prevent a surge of inequality, discrimination, and structural racism, due to the corona crisis? We do not know what the aftermaths of the corona crisis; a post-pandemic world, will bring (BBC 2020a). What are we up against, and what kinds of societal system risks, stressors, and opportunities, are we facing? It is all uncertain. We have to make an assessment of the total impact that the corona crisis will have on our global society. Social and economic inequality and the corona crisis are reinforcing pre-existing gaps in our global society, and it causes clashes, competition, and conflicts. There is a global gap between rich and poor, black and white, and there is a link between being poor and being black, which makes the global impact of the coronavirus geographically uneven, and inequal socially and economically as well (Gruver 2019, BBC 2020b). Of course, you must keep this in mind: such pronounced binary statistical classifications, does not always embody a fair perspective on human mixedness. It does not favour a humane approach to societal conflicts, clashes, and unrest. It does not address humanity as one collective. It simply creates problematic divisions among us. The statistics, nonetheless makes me question: will we manage to find solutions on how to encounter and deal with the existing clashes, gaps, and conflicts in our global society? We must fight against injustice for black people, and every groups of people that experience discrimination in our global society, such marginalized voices and minorities are e.g. indigenous people, people in the LGBT community, cultural minorities, mentally exposed and vulnerable people, blind or deaf people, disabled people, or religious minorities, among many other disregarded voices. Everyone must have equal opportunities to face our human and environmental challenges, and to engage in different social and environmental movements, to fight for social and environmental justice. Nevertheless, for e.g. US to face the challenges of discrimination and racism, they need to be wise, and close the gaps, that are causing clashes, turmoil, and conflicts, and deal with systemic racism and discrimination, in order to make a real system change for all marginalized voices, for all minorities of people that experience injustice. However, the fact that white people are marching with black people in the streets of US, and elsewhere is promising (TV2 Nyheter 2020b). Nevertheless, instead of being hypocritical, it is time for a watershed in the US, and elsewhere. We need to fight against injustice. It is call for everyone to listen and do what we can to facilitate a system change, and make a turn towards a more equal system economically and socially, in which everyone are taken into account. We are in a pandemic state, we all have to do some rethinking on our own existential matters, and on existential societal matters of our global society, and ask ourselves: what kind of a global society do we want for our future, for humanity, and for nature? We must face the darkness and the lightness of our global society, and everything in between, in order to improve ourselves, and step into the future with pride, not prejudices (Dicken 1859). We all got some work to do. If we can accomplish to face and deal with these urgent societal matters in a more constructive manner, we are all winners. For the sake of humanity, we cannot allow ourselves to lose this fight! We must fight against injustice, open our eyes and see, listen, and create more awareness on discrimination and racism. We must deal with global differences, learn to curb up for economic and social inequality, and do some rethinking on how we treat other people!  


The Societal Attributes and Foundation for a Sustainable, and More Equal World

However, we are in a pandemic state, we are under attack, and we are hit hard this time. The troubled times we are experiencing are overwhelmingly uncertain. These challenging times has simply shown us, that when we are in need, our economic system has failed us. Capitalism has proven to us that it does not work in times of global virus outbreaks or other profound crisis, such as e.g. the environmental crisis we are encountering, social and economic inequality, or the future of food security. The food security crisis has hit countries like e.g. Venezuela, South Sudan, Yemen, Afghananistan, and The Democratic Republic of Congo hard. They have had to battle against widespread hunger in addition to the coronavirus, which adds to the notion of the corona crisis as an economic and humanitarian crisis too. It is not just a matter of physical and mental health. This makes economist Rajan (2020), among many others, question: how can we make our national and global economic system(s) more sustainable? Is it time to rethink our economic system? (Rajan 2020). Or, ultimately: Do we need a new economic system? These are fundamental and urgent issues, in a world where social and economic inequality is increasing, and household debts and national debts are increasing too (Rajan 2020). This, due to the corona crisis according to economist Rajan (2020). But these troubled times, has also proved to us that nature has a powerful ability, to recover. This is promising! Nevertheless, if we can encounter a global virus outbreak by supporting each other. If we realize that to collaborate, governments and citizens, governments and governments, citizens, and citizens, is a favourable option. We can tackle the complexity of the economic, social and environmental crisis we are up against too. Let us find a cure to our economic and environmental problems! The corona crisis has shown us that when the world bleeds, humanity shines! Time will tell whether we will seize our moment and learn to act collectively, or neglect our collaborative opportunities, to succeed. Can we fight social and economic inequality? The answer might be simple and intricate at once: the key to our environmental and economic problems is comprehensive planetary collaboration, based on trust and care, exchange of information and knowledge, global solidarity and cooperation on all geographical scales, from the local to the global. We must coordinate our efforts and measures globally, nationally, regionally, and locally. This global collaboration must be represented by – one unifying global political will, rooted in solidarity and trust, across multiple geographical levels.

"Cooperation, [...] will ultimately prove more beneficial to individual states – and to the world at large" (Brende in WEF 2020): “At a time when power dynamics are in flux, there is an opportunity for stakeholders to make the decision to shape geopolitics in a cooperative, rather than competitive, manner” (Brende in WEF 2020).

However, if we should be ambitious, this one political will must be founded on trust, exchange of information and knowledge, solidarity, empowerment, and care between citizens. Additionally, It must be rooted in trust, exchange of information and knowledge, collaboration and mutual cooperation between citizens and governments. And finally, it must be embedded on trust, cooperation, information and knowledge, collaboration, and solidarity between governments globally, enabled by a foundation of trusting and caring citizens, citizen empowerment. In short, it must shape a dynamic and adaptive local-global democracy. Altogether, the multiple levels have to co-work, co-create, and co-evolve institutionally, socially, culturally, economically, and politically, to have a positive or optimal impact, on improving the prospects for the environment, and humanity globally. Local systems and global systems simply co-exist, that is why these systems have to co-work too. We must learn to strengthen the favourable components of our societal systems, such as trust and care, solidarity and cooperation, knowledge, and information, across all geographical scales. This, to create a resilient, just, and fair societal system at the earth, for humanity and nature. To fulfil these ambitious goals, we must, most preferably, base our societal systems, on the ideals of a liberal democracy, such as e.g. the Nordic model. Doksheim (2018) argue: "[t]he Nordic model is the economic, political and institutional system that is most clearly expressed in Norway, Sweden and Denmark, and which with certain modifications also characterizes Finland and Iceland". Engelstad, Larsen and Rogstad (2017) adds: the Nordic model is e.g. characterized by having a strong liberal democratic culture, emphasising on welfare, they are reform friendly, encourages social inclusion, and they are characterized by having less social and economic inequality  (pp. 46-48). Doksheim (2018) states:

"All the Nordic countries have a welfare state model that differs somewhat from the model in other countries, in the Nordic countries emphasizing the state that solves problems rather than the market or the family. The welfare schemes are largely tax-financed and redistributive, and some of the most important schemes are universal, ie the schemes are not needs-tested, but are given to everyone within the relevant group. The services are also largely public-run and managed, which means that the public sector is relatively large, and taxes are relatively high. The public sector is therefore also important both as an employer and a service provider. However, the differences between the different welfare models are not large. For example, the vast majority of rich countries have relatively high levels of taxation and extensive social arrangements" (translated from Norwegian by the author, Doksheim 2018).

The favourable liberal, institutional, political, and economic characteristics of the Nordic Model, is what makes the American dream, more likely, to happen in Europe and more specifically in these Scandinavian countries, rather than in the US according to journalists Weller (2015) and Wood (2020). The liberal values and attributes of the Nordic model, are what we need to base our societal models on in the coming decade, to create the most optimal democracy locally and globally, and to battle social and economic inequality (Harari 2020a). For the time being, liberal democracies may be our best way to face future human, environmental and economic problems, because it has democratic checks and routines, that limits unjustly and unfair governmental behaviour (Harari 2020a). They are inclusive and open, as well as socially and economically more equal, compared to other political systems, such as e.g. totalitarian or authoritarian regimes. Democratic checks are not present in authoritarian or totalitarian regimes, that makes them prone to make fatal errors, which they cannot correct (Harari 2020a). Liberal democracies' checks make us sure, that fatal errors do not occur, because these will be corrected, since its checks are embodied in its governmental structure, democratic routines, and constitutional rights (Harari 2020a). It supports citizen empowerment. And, it simply protects our freedoms and the environment, at the same time. This through the liberal democracies' constitutions, and by the fact that its people are practicing the use of and testing their constitutional rights. Most importantly, their politicians are representing them in places of power, because we have voted for them. But politicians also have to take into account the human rights that every citizen, including the politicians have been granted. However, the pros and cons of democracy and authoritarian regimes, as a simplified dichotomy, does not do justice to the two governing systems: it is, most certaintly more complicated, than this brief statement text allows for (Meldal Eia 2020). Nevertheless, we must stand up, listen, and speak against injustice. Furthermore, liberal democracy is not a warranty for justice to unfold. Even in liberal democracies, justice may be overrun and constitutional rights, and human rights may be violated. To prevent injustices to happen is 'a work in progress' project for politicians, and citizens, the rule af law and the press, among other societal institutions, and powers. We must all take part in or participate in these democratic tugs of war. An example of such democratic tugs of war is: the Norwegian government, are involved in legal proceedings for the lack of compliance of human rights and constitutional rights in environmental matters. These legal proceedings may be discussed in the light of human rights, that started out with the Magna Carta charter from 1215, and the Constitution of Norway signed in 1814, and revised in 1992 to include the Environmental Section 112 (United for Human Rights 2020, Jacobsen 2020).

The Spur of Human Rights, Our Rights to a Future, and Towards a State of Environmental Justice?

Let us start out with the origin of human rights, that are highly relevant to the legal proceedings in Norway:

"Magna Carta, or “Great Charter,” signed by the King of England in 1215, was a turning point in human rights"[...]."The Magna Carta, or “Great Charter,” was arguably the most significant early influence on the extensive historical process that led to the rule of constitutional law today in the English-speaking world"[...]. "In 1215, after King John of England violated a number of ancient laws and customs by which England had been governed, his subjects forced him to sign the Magna Carta, which enumerates what later came to be thought of as human rights" (United for Human Rights 2020).

The document simply prevent injustice and works as a security valve for justice. It simply stated: “all members of the general court proposing bills and resolutions addressing individual rights or liberties shall include a direct quote from the Magna Carta which sets forth the article from which the individual right or liberty is derived” (see: 'The Magna Carta Myth' in Lepore 2015). The Constitution of Norway, which is the second oldest written constitution globally, was founded on the ideas of human rights, the sovereignty of the people, and the separation of powers (Stortinget 2020). The Constitution of Norway (1814 in Stortinget 2020), was one of the most liberal and democratic constitutions when signed. However, the Norwegian governments practising of and compliance of human rights, and constitutional rights can, in short be unravelled as following: they are involved in legal proceedings, that calls attention to our environmental justice, to our human rights, to our constitution, or simply to the future prosperity of all human beings at the earth. However, it must become a universal understanding that the environmental benefits, measures, and burdens of the environment, must be equally partitioned globally and locally. This lawful judgement originated from environmental movements in North Carolina, USA, in the early 1980s (Lehtinen 2009 in ScienceDirect 2020): "Environmental justice is defined as the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people regardless of race, colour, national origin, or income, with respect to the development, implementation and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies" (USEPA 2017 in ScienceDirect 2020). In addition: "Environmental justice demands that public policy be based on mutual respect and justice for all peoples, free from any form of discrimination or bias" (Ramirez-Andreotta 2019 in ScienceDirect 2020). To fix the  geographically uneven state of the burdens of environmental problems, to meet the requirements of allocation of responsibilities, to create the science and reforms needed, as well as to fight for fairness and justice for all, is lacking and acutely needed. This, to equally support humanity, and nature globally and locally. Now, let us turn our attention to the scrutiny of the Norwegian government in matters of the environment: they are about to take a toll for humanity, and nature. Are they about to risk it all? The strong emphasis on oil and gas exploration, drilling and extraction, in Norway, is an example on how a liberal democracy based on the Nordic model, can fail to support nature and basic human rights, even though it has democratic checks, and supports the freedom of its people. However, by supporting nature, we support humanity too, such as e.g. the basic human rights to a future (UN 1948, UN 1987, UNICEF 1959/UN 1989, Constitution of Norway 1814/1992). In the Brundtland report (UN 1987), human rights are also interpreted to include human rights to a future. They defined the human rights to sustainable development as: "[h]umanity has the ability to make development sustainable to ensure that it meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (UN 1987, p. 16). This definition is still the common standard for sustainability measures. Therefore, in Our Common Future conducted by the Brundtland Commission, they argue that coming generations, also have the rights to a future (UN 1987, Constitution of Norway 1814/1992). But what kind of future these legally embedded human rights and constitutional rights guarantees us, is still uncertain. With such an impact on the society and the environment, legislation has to be interpreted, and then tested and settled in court by the rule of law, in order for these legal proceedings and results to be fair, just, rightful, and democratic. It is vital for the process of any well-functioning democratic legal system, that its legally embedded decisions are carefully and thoughtfully scrutinized. However, it is overly complex to foresee, forecast, and interpret something that has not yet come into being, such as the future. That is why these legal processes are so complicated. It makes us question: what constitutes the future? What is ahead of us? Such forecasting belongs to and is embodied in theories on system changes such as e.g. international sustainability transitions, green shift to sustainability or transition towns (see: e.g. 'international sustainability transitions'  in Grin et al 2010 in DRIFT 2020, 'green shifts to sustainability' in EU 2020, or 'transition towns' in Transition Network 2020). Nevertheless, to state their disagreements with the Norwegian state on oil and gas exploration, drilling, and exploration, the environmental organizations Greenpeace and Natur og Ungdom (Nature and Youth) in Norway, have taken the Norwegian government to court, in the so-called Climate court case against the state (UN 1948, UN 1987, NRK 2020a, Klimasøksmål, Arktis 2020). But in the core of their statement, they argue that the Norwegian government is violating Section 112 of the Norwegian Constitution, when the government is opening up for oil and gas exploration and drilling in the Barents Sea (Constitution of Norway 1814/1992, Klimasøksmål, Arktis 2020, NRK 2020a). Section 112 in the Norwegian Constitution is the so-called Environment Section, that protects our environment (Klimasøksmål, Arktis 2020, Jacobsen 2020).

"Section 112 of the Constitution states that everyone is entitled to an environment that ensures health. It says that everyone has a right to a nature where production ability and diversity are preserved. The provision also protects future generations by managing natural resources in a versatile and long-term way" (translated from Norwegian by the author, Jacobsen 2020). 

The Environment Section in the Constitution of Norway is classified within the field of human rights (Constitution of Norway 1814/1992, Jacobsen 2020). However, the Norwegian government also fails to consider the ocean as a common, presented as the core concept of the tragedy of the commons. "The tragedy of the commons states that individuals [or governments] acting independently and rationally according to each's self-interest behave contrary to the best interests of the whole group by depleting some common resource", such as e.g. depleting the Barents Sea as a common (Anukwonke 2015). In short, governments globally are unwilling to recognize the oceans intrinsic and inherent value (Daniels, Bradshaw, Shaw and Sidaway 2012, p. 141). Governments, such as e.g. the Norwegian state, rather recognize the ocean for its instrumental value; "as a resource, or as of use to us for a specific end", according to Daniels (et al 2012, p. 141) such as e.g. for oil and gas drilling and extraction in Norway. In short, the Norwegian government supports oil and gas drilling, extraction and exploration for profits, that degrades our future. Furthermore, Greta Thunberg, and 15 other children, have written a letter to Erna Solberg, the prime minister of Norway (E24 2020). They stated that, by increasing oil and gas exploration, drilling, and extraction, the Norwegian government is violating children's rights (UN 1987, UNICEF 1959/UN 1989, E24 2020). Because, there is an unavoidable relationship between oil and gas exploration, drilling, and extraction, emissions of Greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, and the escalation of natural disasters, such as e.g. floods, wildfires, and tropical storms, as well as droughts. This may harm the prospects of prosperity for present, and future generations. To not consider other countries environmental burdens, such as natural disasters, caused by oil and gas exploration, drilling and extraction, must be unlawful and it is not in compliance with the principles of environmental justice. However, there is also great technological expertise and knowledge in the oil industry (Moene 2020). It represents a valuable innovative workforce (Moene 2020). This innovative workforce can transform their technological skills and innovative potentials, to support an exploration into renewable energy sources instead (Moene 2020). They can, with their key technological competence, guide us towards a green shift of our energy system (Moene 2020). Nevertheless, the energy sectors total emissions in e.g. CO2, were approximately 1/3 of the total CO2 emissions, in the world (IEA 2019). This amount must decrease to a more environmentally friendly level, to change the energy sector's part of the total global amount of Greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, from a system change perspective, the history of Norwegian industries, has proved to us that it has been able to transform before (Moene 2020), so why not now? If the oil industry is willing to transform itself, we might look upon this environmental problem in the energy sector quite differently in the future, in Norway and elsewhere. The corona crisis is, therefore, a grand opportunity for industries, not just in Norway, but across the globe, to transform their industries to meet the supply and demands of the general markets, of an environmentally just future. Let us dare the oil industry to take on this challenge, on the behalf of humanity and nature. Will they answer to this daring challenge? Note this: we must protect nature, humanity, and our future, simultaneously. Nevertheless, we must be optimistic, realistic, and critical, at the same time: will they deceive us our future, or will they support and fight with us? We must put our trust, and hope that our democratic checks will kick in, and support nature. If the Norwegian government refuse to respond to the overt environmental responsibilities they have, for the sake of justice and for the sake of the environment, it must be considered a crime against humanity, and it is, most certainly, a crime against nature. Nonetheless, we must believe that the Norwegian government will be wise, and finally consider going for renewable energies, instead of oil and gas exploration, drilling, and extraction. In this context, it is a legitimate and fair question to ask: will the Norwegian government accomplish to meet the requirements of a sustainable future for humanity, and nature, or will they fail to meet their global responsibilities for environmental justice? Will they continue to abuse nature, and the prosperity of future generations for profits? Will they recklessly continue to exploit nature, or will they consider nature's intrinsic and inherent value in the future? Nevertheless, we must put our trust in humanity's ability to change and be responsible. And, we have to encourage the oil industry's ability to take on daring challenges, such as showing us their innovative capacity to be brave and bold technologically, and rethink their business purposes, intentions, and markets. There is no other reasonable option, currently available to us. The politicians of Norway must do their moves soon and start their preparations for a sustainable future. They must create new environmental standards, such as e.g. supporting a future state of sustainablity globally, regionally, nationally, and locally, rather than an exploitation of nature. We simply must support nature's capacity and ability to recover, in order for humanity to thrive. And finally, we must believe that the future will look brighter, and that the Norwegian government will come to their senses at least, or at last. But there are uncertainties about the time frame: can we change fast enough to avoid a climate emergency? And finally: how much Greenhouse gases can the atmosphere take?

To Create a Better Future, We Must We Deliver: International Sustainability Transitions (IST)

There are reasons to be sceptical about our capacity to change. However, we must try to act as one unity, one collective, one world, and defend our freedoms, that we have fought so hard for. In a world of social and economic inequality, prejudices, and geographical unevenness technologically, politically, and historically, culturally, and institutionally, we must unite. We must collaborate and gather strength and insightful information and knowledge from each other, to make our human and environmental projects successful, and fight against social and economic inequality, and suppressive surveillance. This we must do, even though we are vastly different from each other. These differences can create voids, clashes, and conflicts between us. But most of all different mindsets equals valuable, diverse, and insightful information and knowledge. Insights embedded in diversity, is a unique and optimal situation for original and creative thinking, because studies show that innovation thrive in diverse and tolerant, inclusive, and respectful milieus (Nelson 2013). We must be respectful of differences and uniqueness, as compassionate, and innovative human beings (Nelson 2013). In addition, Schumpeter (in Tylecote 1992), argues that crises boost innovation, based on originality and creativity, abundance does not. Abundance creates entrepreneurial laziness and lack of originality. Emergencies creates innovative greatness, based on striking originality and forceful creativity. Therefore, if we can come together despite our differences and conflicts, the potentials for innovation and future prosperity is promising, according to Schumpeter (in Tylecote 1992). The corona crisis is, therefore, an opportunity for all countries around the globe, to accelerate and apply advanced technological solutions by improving their technological access and infrastructure (BBC 2020). Acceleration of innovations is the natural result of a crisis. The geographical spread of such technologies does, however, differ from each crisis (Tylecote 1992). The spread of advanced technologies after a crisis, is as usual, geographically uneven globally, regionally, nationally, and locally (Dicken 2011, Daniels et al 2012). However, it is the mix of differences, diversity, openness, respect, creativity, originality, and a profound emergency, that creates clusters of innovations locally, nationally, regionally, and globally according to Schumpeter (in Tylecote 1992, in Fagerberg 2003). These clusters will have a major impact and say on the global society's total direction (see: 'directionality' in Schot and Kanger 2018, p. 1045). In short, our emergency innovative capabilities; due to time-constricted inspiration, pressure, and transdisciplinary knowledge, may ignite a holistic perspective and a creative boost (Tylecote 1992). Technology such as clusters of innovations, co-work, co-evolve and co-create with broader societal frameworks. The global society simply transforms fundamentally through a long-term, contested, complex, contextual, multi-dimentional, and open-ended process according to Kern and Markard (in Bilali 2019, p. 1). In technology and innovation studies, these changes in our global society are so-called international sustainability transitions (IST). In short, the interactions between societal frameworks and technology simply transforms the global society, through societal and technological stability and changes, which may create a radical system change: a transition from a previous societal and technological state into a more sustainable system of production and consumption, by the means of more advanced technologies and societal changes, such as e.g. reforms (Geels 2018 in Bilali 2019, p. 1).

"Transitions are long-term process of radical and structural change at the level of societal systems (e.g. sector, city, region)" (DRIFT 2020). A sustainability transition is defined as a “radical transformation towards a sustainable society, as a response to a number of persistent problems confronting contemporary modern societies” (Grin et al 2010 in DRIFT 2020).

Clusters of innovations, at the end of this societal crisis might be created, and a new longwave may unfold (see: debates on the 'longwaves' in Tylecote 1992). The restricted time frame and pressure of the emergencies of a crisis, creates uncertainties, as well as the holistic openness and technological creativity, such as e.g. being in a pandemic state. This may drive clusters of innovations towards a new peak, eventually. Ahead of us is, therefore, a post-pandemic age of substantial societal challenges and opportunities; for humanity and nature to thrive again if we deliver! But there are also reasons to be sceptical about technological fixes and the power of innovations too. Technology may assist us in a global system change, but socio-technical system changes is not an all-inclusive explanation of global system changes towards a potential future of system changes towards sustainability. We are sociable human beings, and for social matters other explanations may add further information to instances where theories on IST explanations based on e.g. the multi level perspective (MLP) may fall short. To understand the interaction between interpersonal matters, social learning processes and ecosystem resources and physical surroundings, as well as social-ecological leadership, it is equally as important to take these social and ecological issues into a system change account, in order to comprehend the complexities of global system changes towards sustainability. An example of such an approach is the social-ecological system of adaptive governance. It is an approach to complex system changes towards sustainability, that may curb up for widespread scepticism on our abilities and capacity to change. It might ensure us that we continue to deliver on social and ecological matters too, and it might ignite a search for the one unifying and collective political will, that we need so badly globally, in order to face the human, technological, political, social, economic, and environmental challenges of tomorrow.

It is Call for Global Leadership: Adaptive, Resilient, and Inclusive Governance

To deliver, we must curb up for and face scepticism in our global society. To do so, we must create societal institutions, such as political, cultural, law and order, economic, technological, and social institutions, that are adaptive and democratic according to Hylland Eriksen (2019). He argues: while "institutions and practices to survive in the long term […], must be functional (in the sense of being adaptive), […] institutional arrangement comes about, stabilizes and evolves through trial and error", such as e.g. through democratic tugs of war (Hylland Eriksen 2019, p. 3). In short, this is what we need to rise to the occasion: we need interwoven global and local institutions, that are reform friendly, they must co-work, co-evolve and co-create, be collaborative and support a democratic culture, and they must strive to be diverse, inclusive and tolerant, open and bold, just and fair. This, to make the changes of our societal systems doable (see: 'endogenous (open) institutions', in Brousseau, Garrouste and Raynaud 2011, p. 4). And finally, we need to put our trust in humanity and nature, in order to be resilient. And, create forceful solutions and measures, that will amount into insightful information and knowledge, as well as technologies, on how to deal with and encounter present and future human, and environmental challenges. In order to face human and environmental challenges we, more specifically, need adaptive governances and social-ecological leadership.

"Adaptive governance refers to flexible and learning-based collaborations and decision-making processes involving both state and nonstate actors, often at multiple levels, with the aim to adaptively negotiate and coordinate management of social–ecological systems and ecosystem services across landscapes and seascapes" (Schultz, Folke, Österblom, and Olsson 2015).

Altogether, the notion adaptive governance, derives from the study of social-ecological systems, such as the complementary interaction, within humanity, within nature, as well as between humanity and nature. These entities interact with our physical surroundings, hence we must strive to create systems at the cross sections of social interaction and ecology at multiple levels, in which technology, such as clusters of innovations, interferes. The change is thereby two folded. It is a socio-technical transition and it is a social-ecological transition, the author claims. While the first mentioned transition dwells on technology and societal matters, the last-mentioned transition pays more attention on interpersonal and social interactions within humanity and with the ecology, and their physical surroundings. Both transition explanations towards sustainability are based on theories of system change and needs to be embedded in social-ecological and socio-technical policies that works. These two understandings of system changes may function well together, because, technology, humanity, and nature co-work in societal frameworks, to shape system change mechanisms in transitions, towards a more environmentally friendly world, the author further argues. This, from the most intimate local level to a more global state, the author continues to claim. However, for a social-ecological system, such as adaptive governance, to work to its optimal it has to work on all geographical scales, and tie together global leadership and citizens empowerment to ecological systems, in order to be worthy of being classified as a social-ecological system. We need a global leadership that connects the environment, such as ecology with people, and which makes connections between citizens through social interaction at the individual or group level, and social leadership locally, nationally, regionally, and globally. Altogether, this may pave the way for a sustainable future. In short, to encounter the future we must create a widespread understanding of the rescources and learnings embedded in adaptive institutions, such as adaptive governance, at different geographical scales. We must re-establish our contact with nature, and strengthen the social relationships or connectivity within humanity, which must address the voices of those exposed to injustices and the marginalized voices, and the voices of minorities too. To approach a democratic future, we must coordinate collaboration, co-working, co-creating, and co-evolving of social learning processes, physical surroundings, natural ecosystem rescourses, and assets at all geographical scales.

A New Geopolitical Situation: Surveillance and/or Freedoms?

Indeed, this decade will show whether we will fail to reach our human and environmental goals, or triumph in cohesion! We are entering a potentially new social and economic situation, a new geopolitical arrangement, and a new societal order, a potential renaissance. Nature got our back, mankind will through this crisis have a potential to learn two valuable lessons: on how to co-work at a planetary scale and show solidarity, and how to care for each other and trust each other at the most intimate local scale, simultaneously. Now, it is time to act urgently! We got no more time to waste, no lives to lose! We are at a historical milestone of the 21st Century. This is the moment, the historical incidence of the 21st Century, by which humanity decides to fall as individuals, or learn to rise collectively! In addition, we are entering a potential decade of surveillance (Harari 2020a). "Surveillance can do good things, and surveillance can do bad things" according to Harari (2020a). This, depending on the intentions of the human being(s) and the political structure(s), that makes it flourish. It can be applied carefully and thoughtfully or be recklessly abused. This is a new geopolitical situation globally, Harari further argues (Harari 2020a). Hopefully, surveillance and other technologies will be rooted in solidarity, care and trust (health issues), rather than taken by the hands of abusive, authoritarian, totalitarian or criminal forces. Surveillance from the outside, or surveillance from the inside of human beings, must be embodied in trusting, caring, collaborative and liberal democracies, that respects our freedoms (Harari 2020a). Example of such freedoms are as e.g. freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom of the press, the right to assembly and the right to petition the government, among other freedoms. Furthermore, to support our freedoms, strong institutional collaboration, and empowerment, on all levels from trust and care between citizens at the local scale, to interaction with trust and care between governments and citizens, as well as to solidarity and trust between governments at the global scale, must be strengthened. This is possible and encouraging. A seed of hope is unfolding. However, if we fail, some of us must face a looming future of suppressing surveillance, totalitarianism, national isolation, egoism, discrimination, and racism (Harari 2020a). Additionally, what we all must face if we fail: a continued destruction of the environment, increased social and economic inequality, and a potential restriction to our freedoms, and increased levels of conflicts and competition globally. However, it is of importance to note that national isolation does not necessarily equal discrimination and racism, nor does necessarily egoism (Harari 2020a). National isolation is a tool to decrease the spread of the coronavirus, conducted globally, and egoism is a very human reaction to the difficulty of coping with being in a global pandemic state. However, history of pandemics and epidemics globally, has proved to us that such crisis may strengthen prejudices towards specific groups of people, and simultaneously create discriminating conflicts in our global society, according to a professor in history, Ohman Nielsen, at Agder University, in southern Norway (NRK 2020b). Such as e.g. when Trump named the coronavirus, the 'China Virus', when he realized that American lives were to be hit hard (Viala-Gaudefroy and Lindamann 2020). This expression, did, most certainly, not support global solidarity, nor does it strenghten US's geopolitical position globally. However, China has yet to prove that they can manage the coronavirus and other potential viruses. But Trump's utterance may threaten global stability, and it may even weaken US' geopolitical position globally. The Machiavellian 'divide and rule' strategy that Trump acts on belongs to war times, and it is unfit for the future (Machiavelli 1521).

Conclusion: Six Key Balances and to Reimagine and Reinvent Our Relationships

For US to face the future, they must take their global responsibilities more seriously. They will figure out that it is in the interest of their own country to take on the role of global leadership (Lowell in Steward 2019, Blair 2020). USA must become more active on the world stage (Blair 2020). However, they must change their current strategy, which may harm the anchoring of a peaceful, and sustainable system globally, nationally, regionally, and locally, that supports our freedoms, and creates a global balance of powers, with a more equal access to advanced technologies. This is what is at stake! However, to accept the fact that we have made mistakes in the past is to seize the moment, and to make space for the practise of new global standards to a geopolitical future of collaboration, diplomacy and solidarity, in which peace prevails. We need trust, solidarity, collaboration, and justice for peace to prevail. Altogether, for the joint human and environmental project globally to be successful, we must support sustainability and peace, at the expense of conflicts and over consumption, and favour a better future and closing gaps, over a harmful future of rivalry and competition, discrimination and racism, wars and clashes, as well as widespread turmoil, due to the corona crisis (Obama 2020). In short, peace must become the universal standard globally. This, to battle against current and future environmental destruction, and to cheer forward environmental justice. In this global environmental system change challenge, we must stand together and become more united, because we are in this together: it is our world! We must reform ourselves, to face future technological, economic, social, and environmental challenges, as equal partakers. If we can accomplish most of the pressing societal challenges mentioned above, we got a real system change rolling. Note this: we must learn to act collaboratively and collectively, and strategically simultaneously. We must find the global, adaptive, and democratic leadeship, which may unite all mankind. And finally, in the western countries we must emphasise on the co-working, co-evolving and co-creating on the right matters, such as e.g. sustainability, healthcare and education, technology and development, and equally as important; defence and security (Blair 2020), in order to create a healthy power dynamic globally. Also, we need to stimulate global sustainability in development countries, and balance it with the gains of western countries, due to past industrialisation, as well as the past, and the presently evolving technological revolution (UN 1987, Dickens 2011, Blair 2020). Given this, we need a balance between strategies and cooperation, and how we manage technology in favour of us all, fairness. But, where should we put our priorities? In short, if we can manage to alternate our efforts between six key balances; health issues and the economy, sustainability and development, surveillance or order versus freedom, strategies and cooperation, technology and fairness, USA, and China, we might have a pretty good shot on handeling the challenges of tomorrow. But right now, we are in trouble! We are a vessel without a captain to ship us into the future! We must strive to find common grounds, such as e.g. sustainability and the fight for social and economic equality, to build the future on: our common future (UN 1987). We must reinvent and reimagine how we relate to each other, how we relate to our governments, and how governments relate to other governments globally, among several other societal powers. I call upon all; state and nonstate, leaders of the world; business leaders and institutional leaders and organizational leaders and social leaders, and politicians, among other vital leaders. You simply must build healthy and solid leadership connections, relationships, and social interactions, step by step, founded on tolerance and openness, on justness and fairness, on trust and care, on cooperation and solidarity, as well as on inclusiveness and diversity. This, to help shaping a solid and healthy foundation for a democratic, adaptive, and technologically advanced governance globally. We must think of today, as if it were tomorrow. We must create a global governance with policies and strategies, that are more than adaptive and resilient today, and which will prove to be even more adaptive and resilient in the future. It is call for an adaptive, democratic, and resilient global leadership, it is time to unite, and it is call for governance transparency! Let us show everyone what a liberal democracy really can accomplish, and how adaptive, innovative, and resilient we are. That said, these are social relationships and democratic 'work in progress' tugs of war, which everyone can adapt to, if they are resilient, brave and bold enough, if they are willing to make a real contribution to a healthy and solid global society in balance. And finally, if they so generously will take on the challenge of a courageous and real system challenge. Altogether, this act of solidarity and cooperation among us, locally, nationally, regionally, and globally, might accel the recovery and resilience of humanity and nature, assisted by advanced technologies, in which we all may thrive! Because: we must build today's leadership and our ultimate human, technological, economic, and environmental goals, and visions, on the knowledge of the future! Or, to be more outspoken, cut to the core, and uncomplicatedly pronounced: we must build today, on the knowledge of the future! 

Epilogue: Last Minute Pep Talk for a World in Fear Look to the Science for an Opening!

Gaps, clashes and turmoil, social and economic inequality, environmental destruction, pollution and over consumption, wars, uneven spread of technological progress geographically, among other urgent problems we are currently facing: let us endure these societal and environmental challenges together! Be informed. Stay courageous! Connect with others. Get organized! Collaborate. Act in social cohesion! We are changeable! A system change is doable! All is possible when it comes down to radical system changes of our global society! It is time to unravel the societal challenges and opportunities of a future for humanity and nature. It is up to us, human beings, in the age of the Antrophocene (see: Crutzen 2000). Let us start by inviting nature into the spotlight with us. Do not underestimate the will, power, and spirit of human beings, on a collective mission, to save mankind, our freedoms, and nature, at the planet. Do not hindsight humanity or nature. Keep in mind, we share the same sky, we share the same land, and we share the same ocean. I dare everyone to rethink their intended purpose! I must take ownership to these human and environmental challenges. You must take ownership to this joint challenge. Humanity must take ownership to the human and environmental challenges we are encountering! We must fight for a better future – our common future (UN 1987, Obama 2020). Let us make this a global dugnad for the future, in which we all share our thoughts, and in which we all put in some extra work together (see: 'dugnad' in Simeou 2015). This, to reach our common human, and environmental visions for a sustainable future (see: 'cathedral thinking' in Cathedral Thinking 2020). Even though we do not know what the odds are. We must act cohesively as one human power, one human spirit, one human will, and one nature, at one planet – simply one free world! If we rise to the occasion. If we let humanity, economic challenges, technology, geopolitical powers, and nature play on the same team. If we continue to search for solutions. Complex technological or simply original solutions will support us in our strive to endeavor our human and environmental goals, whether these are tied to political or technological, social or cultural, economic or institutional challenges. We do not know the future human, technological, geopolitical, economic, and environmental consequences, or responses yet. We do not know what the rocky road towards a post-pandemic age will bring forth. But we are, nevertheless, resilient, and we must learn to become more adaptive, to face future obstacles!  Furthermore, nature and humanity may bounce back, and we may regain our strengths! Let us make these collaborative, cooperative and cohesive, global, regional, national, and local, individual and collective system changes empowering, and environmentally epic! Let us take on these joint societal and environmental challenges together! We are not defeated yet. Let us own the future! We must step into the future in cohesion, to achieve a real system change! However, the author among many others, have probably asked themselves a couple of existential questions, such as: what is the future of humanity? What is the end to all this? Let us listen to the scientists, and their objective and rational prognosis and scenarios for the future, in order to make sense of the world. Because we are in the midst of a historical and groundbreaking shock: we can argue until the cows come home, but: who should make the first step? Who will guide us out of this foggy landscape and into the future? Note this: cards are being played and our common future is at stake! From the universe to the earth: let us open our mindsets and turn our curiosity to the cascade of benefits and opportunities embedded in the frontiers of the future; the frontline of science: "anything else would be a complete disaster" (Sullivan 2020). Burn down your prejudices, scepticism and preassumptions about mankind, science, nature and our world, and what we can accomplish when we act unitedly. Because we can change, and we must change! If you are bewildered, if you want more clarity, knowledge and information, and finally: if you need to regain your strengths in order manage. Remember, we are all in the same state, the pandemic state. I deeply encourage and utterly advice everyone to:

Look to the science for an opening!


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