Royal Roads University

Grant description:

Best estimates indicate that we have about ten years in which to avert disaster on a planetary scale. While dire warnings alert us to the need for action, generalities like “consume less” or “shut down the tar sands” do not take account of the social context in which such changes are enacted or resisted by people and the politicians they elect.

It is through careful attention to three factors together – worldviews, institutions and technologies (WITs) – that an emerging group of scientists, policy makers and activists seeks answers to questions like, “Where is it essential to intervene to prevent irreversible, cascading change?” and “What are the opportunities to tip systems in positive directions?”.

Royal Roads will use this grant to establish the Cascade institute, which will use advanced methods for mapping complex global systems; understanding and shifting worldviews; and designing interventions, Institute networks, staff and students will identify key places for action, and where feasible, help to implement changes that could rapidly shift humanity’s course towards equitable and sustainable prosperity.

In the first year, the Cascade Institute will develop three projects that demonstrate how the WIT approach can influence large-scale change.

In Project 1, the Institute will work with a few post-graduate studies institution to develop curricula for teaching the application of complex-systems thinking to social, economic, and environmental challenges.

Project 2 will focus on interventions pathways for shifting the beliefs and emotions of business leaders about climate change.

Project 3 will develop strategies for expanding the commitment to climate action among ideologically diverse groups.


Background of the organization:

Royal Roads University was founded in 1995 after existing for almost 55 years as a military college. Royal Roads University has since graduated over 20,000 students in the fields of leadership, business, environment, communication, tourism, hospitality and social justice who are working in over 60 countries around the world. They are leaders in training working professionals to apply creative solutions to entrenched problems. Their planned Cascade institute will be among the world’s premier research centres addressing the full range of today’s converging environmental, economic, political and technological crises.


  • 2019-2020
  • $ 300,000
  • Funding Type: Past Initiatives
  • Initiatives: Net-Zero Carbon Economy