Transforming public participation and catalysing change

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Moriarty, Róisín
Daly, Hannah
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Key messages: System change is necessary so that individuals can lead low-carbon and resilient lives, as opposed to individuals taking responsibility for changing their behaviour. However, individuals participating in collective action play a role in changing systems. Policies and measures need to be perceived as fair and work to reduce inequalities if the public are to engage with and support the disparate change required to act on climate change and biodiversity loss. Inclusive public participation in policymaking is a key enabler of climate action and can increase social trust. Empowered communities can drive change at a local level, which can drive and reinforce broader societal shifts. Change is not happening fast enough. Catalysts can augment the speed, scale and depth of change and overcome inertia within the system. Catalysts include leadership, social movements, litigation and culture. Children and young people have been instrumental in catalysing change and keeping climate action on the political agenda. Through social movements and litigation, they have reframed climate action, or the lack thereof, as a social justice and intergenerational human rights issue.
System change , Climate change , Biodiversity loss , Social trust , Social justice , Intergenerational human rights
Moriarty, R. and Daly, H. (2023) 'Transforming public participation and catalysing change', in Moriarty, R., O’Mahony, T., Stefaniec, A. and Boucher, J. L. (2023) Ireland's Climate Change Assessment Volume 4: Realising the benefits of transition and transformation. Johnstown Castle, Co. Wexford, Ireland: Environmental Protection Agency, pp. 184-200. Available at: (Accessed: 13 March 2024)
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