The multidisciplinary initiative “Multiplicity of time scales. Challenges in sciences and communication” originated from discussions about climate change hazards. We are not climate change modellers. However, we are convinced that transforming for sustainability and mitigating climate change will depend decisively on the broad support of an informed public. From our own research fields we know that the multiplicity of time-scales and the structural instability of many complex systems often is difficult to grasp scientifically and always difficult to communicate convincingly to the public.