Writing for the Great Transition Initiative


GTI maintains a cosmopolitan outlook that is attuned to critical questions of scale and the ways nested systems operate across global, regional, and local levels. It gives voice to contributors from varied disciplines and regions, seeking pieces motivated by both ethical and pragmatic concerns about the need for revised ways of thinking, learning, acting, and being. Our goal is to deepen understanding of all dimensions of a Great Transition: values, culture, social organization, economics, politics, and science.

GTI’s content is literate and engaging, erudite but not arcane, aimed broadly at thoughtful readers worldwide. The writing style should be free of technical or specialized jargon, forgoing exhaustive literature reviews and extensive citation. We encourage writers working from their own perspectives, disciplines, or traditions to reframe and interpret their work in relation to the evolving Great Transition framework, while challenging us all to grapple with its weaknesses and gaps. (See What is the Great Transition? for a summary of key concepts.)

Key Themes

Submissions should address one or more of four broad thematic areas:

  • Global System: the historic moment, social and ecological co-evolution, visions and scenarios, analytic methods, and theoretical perspectives
  • Agency and Action: theories of transition, social actors and change agents, movement formation, strategic and policy directions, and lessons from issue campaigns and local experience that inform a larger praxis
  • Cultural Perspectives: human values, well-being, global citizenship and cosmopolitanism, the arts, and ideas and ideology
  • Critical Dimensions: political economy, natural resources and the environment, geopolitics and global governance, economic and social equity, education, technology and innovation, and sustainable production and consumption

Forms of Contribution

GTI content falls into three categories: 

  • Essays: long-form essays, research articles, analysis (4,000 to 6,000 words in length).
  • Viewpoints: commentaries, opinions, exchanges, interviews (1,500 to 2,500 words).
  • Reviews: books, the arts, significant online content (1,000 to 2,000 words).

Word counts are intended as guidelines, not rigid limits.

Highlights drawn from the GT Network dialogue are edited and, once approved by the author of the comment, published on the public site as a Roundtable. Authors are expected to review and eventually respond to such commentary.


GTI aims to reach a diverse group of thinkers and doers engaged in the effort to advance sustainable, equitable, and liberatory forms of development, as well as the much larger circle apprehensive about the future and seeking a comprehensive framework for understanding and action. The intended audience includes the following groups:

  • Scholars, scientists, policy experts, and civil-society professionals
  • Social movement activists
  • Concerned citizens, writers, and intellectuals

Submission Process

For invited submissions, an editorial team, usually consisting of a member of the GTI Editorial Committee (EC) and the GTI Managing Editor, will work with authors to shape proposals and initial drafts. A formal proposal of no more than two pages, consisting of a summary paragraph and an annotated section outline of the proposed piece, must be submitted to the EC, which may request revisions before approval. Upon receipt of the initial draft, the editorial team will work with the author to develop a polished draft for review by the full Editorial Committee. The EC will provide feedback to the author, who will then submit a revised draft for final review and approval by the EC. The draft will then undergo final copy editing and proofreading. Authors will be given the opportunity to review the final text before publication.

GTI also welcomes unsolicited submissions, but encourages authors to first submit a brief proposal, including a description of the article’s significance in relation to GTI’s conceptual framework and the author’s background. All submissions should be emailed to manuscripts@greattransition.org as a Word file attachment.

Unless otherwise stated, it will be assumed that submissions are offered exclusively and that no piece accepted for publication will be published elsewhere without GTI’s consent. Content should not have been formally published elsewhere.

Jonathan Cohn, GTI’s Managing Editor, guides the editorial and production process. He can be reached at jcohn@tellus.org.

Manuscript Guidelines

GTI follows the Chicago Manual of Style “notes and bibliography” format. Please use endnotes rather than footnotes. No separate bibliography is required. Please collect essential notes and references in a limited number of endnotes (fewer than 20).


The Great Transition Initiative website has adopted a BY-NC-ND Creative Commons copyright. You may freely republish our content, without alteration, for non-commercial purposes as long as you include an explicit attribution to Great Transition Initiative and a link to the GTI homepage.

Electronic Dialogue

Selected GTI essays and viewpoints are made the subject of bimonthly discussions among members of the Great Transition Network. The internal GT Network dialogue is moderated to ensure that interventions are appropriate and on point. Authors are expected to review and respond to the discussion. Selected comments drawn from this discussion and the author’s response, suitably edited and approved by commenters and authors, respectively, are published on the public site as Commentary.


Authors of invited submissions are offered honoraria in recognition of their contributions.