The nature of the sustainability crisis is characterized by high levels of complexity, thus it is not amenable to be approached from the linearity or reductionist paradigm. Emergence is a multilevel phenomenon that is characterized by qualitative novelty and is recognized as an important attribute of complex systems produced by self-organized processes, unveiled from a holistic stance. This conceptual-analytical article explores the emergence phenomenon and questions whether it can be a way of enhancing the solution process to meet the sustainability challenges. Emergent properties or behaviors emerge only when the system parts interact in a wider whole. Moreover, a systemic approach is proposed as an intermediary component in the process of emergence of creative and wise solutions to the wicked problems of unsustainability. This requires observation and entails analyzing open systems as a whole and recognizing the impact of traversing macro- and micro- scales on causal and creative emergence. The study also emphasizes synergies between emergence and creativity aimed at sustainability. Sustainable development requires leapfrogging past conventional practices, in an accelerated way, and the emergence phenomenon at play between systems levels, coupled with purposefully structured creative processes, holds the potential for catalyzing sustainable development efforts.
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