The Green Sprint
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The Green Sprint

What are societal tipping points? And how can they help tackle the climate crisis?

Environmental and Social Tipping Points explained

Positive Tipping Points

Okay, let’s recap first, “the idea behind tipping points is that drastic change happens after one particular point. It’s a threshold, a critical moment when a seemingly minor change makes all the difference.”

Tipping points in Society

The Law of the Few

The law of the few describes the social structures of our social network. Our social networks are driven by three main characters who make sure the word is spread; the connectors, mavens, and saleswomen.

The stickiness factor

The stickiness factor is Gladwell’s law focuses on not only the content but as well the packaging of a certain message. Not all messages are deemed worthy to stick around. With a strong emphasis on deemed, because from time to time we run into a message that doesn’t seem to stick but is definitely worthy. This was for a long time the issue with the climate change message which has been around for decades, but up until a couple of years ago, the message didn’t seem to stick in the mainstream narrative. Different reasons can influence the stickiness levels of a message. Either the content is not suitable; the climate change message is often set aside by many because; among many other reasons the avoidance of doom and gloom messages and humans difficulty with grasping the long term consequences of our behaviour.

  • The behaviours embedded in the climate action message aren’t yet established as social norms.
  • We avoid the message because any behaviour change associated with it is perceived as a loss.
  • Taking climate action results in very little direct feedback which doesn’t motivate us to consistently take action.

The law of context

The Law of context describes the importance of the environment and context in which a message is spreading. Changes within the context can influence if a message will reach a tipping point. Considering the law of context is especially important when you are trying to spread a message to people in various socio-economic situations.

Tipping points for large-scale social change

A study, published in science in 2018 shows that when 25% of a group adopts a new social norm, a tipping point is created and the rest of the group will follow. Dig deeper.

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Minou Schillings

Hi, I am Minou Schillings. I am an impact-driven entrepreneur specialized in sustainable innovation processes.