Animated explainer: What are Pathways to Sustainability?

pathways approach

How should people address problems like climate change, environmental destruction, poverty and injustice? With many possible ways to respond, whose voices and ideas will shape the pathways that are chosen?

This animation introduces the idea of pathways to sustainability – a way to think about challenging sustainability problems and their alternatives.

Watch the video

About the Pathways Approach

The STEPS Centre’s Pathways Approach recognises that sustainability problems are deep-rooted, complex and interconnected. There are countless different ways of seeing the same problems and responding to them, informed by people’s knowledge, cultures, histories, and values.

But powerful voices, expert views and simple solutions tend to dominate. Sometimes these solutions are presented as if there is no alternative, crowding out other ways of being and acting. There is a great deal of pressure is to predict, manage and control.

The Pathways Approach aims to show different ways forward, informed by the perspectives, ideas and knowledge of less powerful and marginalised people. It acknowledges the different uncertainties people face around the world, and the varied ways they respond to them. It also explores the methods that can open up debates and broaden out possibilities.

Methods and pathways


Our Methods portal includes examples, case studies and resources for anyone involved in research and decision-making on sustainability issues.

Browse the Methods theme