If people are seen as major contributors to the problems of climate change and loss of biodiversity, then people’s behaviour and attitudes must be a major part of the solutions. That view makes both the problem and the solution more fuzzy and less susceptible to standardization, but it perhaps also makes the problem more realistic and the solution more practicable.

Discussion of values, stakeholders, community partners and engagement — the language of the social sciences — can make some traditional scientists uncomfortable. So what does this approach mean in practical terms for the IPBES? On one level, as the Comment authors suggest, the answer could be as simple as broadening the criteria of what counts as admissible material — learning to value local knowledge and expertise. The challenge of protecting biodiversity from a cumulative death by thousands and thousands of cuts is surely a good place to test this approach. One size cannot fit all. And it does not need to.