Some people are starting to talk about regenerative cultures as possible pathways towards a thriving future of people unfolding their unique potential within the context of the communities and regions they help to regenerate — cultures that are healthy, resilient and adaptable.
A regenerative economy goes beyond sustainability and requires local collaboration and solidarity among individuals as co-creative participants.
What Is a Regenerative Culture?
Regenerative cultures are unique expressions of the potential inherent in the people and places of a given bioregion. They add value and health to the nested wholeness from local, to regional, to global in the understanding that human thriving critically depends on healthy ecosystems and a life-supporting biosphere.
In strengthening regenerative economic activities, we need to learn to balance: efficiency and resilience; collaboration and competition; diversity and coherence; and small, medium, and large organizations and needs.
In other words, regenerative economics is an economic system that works to regenerate capital assets, which are assets that provide goods and/or services that are required for or contribute to our well being. We need to recognize the earth as the original capital asset without trying to reduce the intrinsic value of life to only utilitarian value to humanity, nor trying to make living capital convertible to financial capital as that would enable the most dangerous form of enclosure of the remaining ecological commons!
Regenerative leadership is a process [of personal development that aligns] one’s own way of being and actions with the wider pattern of life’s evolutionary journey within the communities, ecosystems, biosphere and Universe [we participate in].
As Janine Benyus has said so succinctly: “Life creates conditions conducive to life.” Regenerative Cultures aim to emulate this insight in how we relate to the human family and all life.
What Are the Challenges?
Our challenge is to free ourselves from the mindset of scarcity and competition and step into co-creating a future of shared collaborative abundance for all of humanity and the community of life.
One crucial aspect of this transition is to understand the limitations of the narrative of separation that has informed our understanding of who we are for too long and reconnect with our fundamental interbeing with the very fabric of life that our common future depends upon.
Regenerative leadership can no longer be about positioning your company as a market leader, celebrated for having some positive impact on society. It starts by leading our own lives regeneratively in service to our communities and to the wider community of life.
Can regenerative economics & mainstream business mix?
What Are the Principles?
Capital Institute, a non-partisan think-tank launched in 2010 by former JPMorgan Managing Director [until 2001], John Fullerton, is searching for a new narrative. The people working with the institute draw insights from modern science and are grounded in timeless wisdom traditions. Fullerton suggested 8 guiding principles:
1. In Right Relationship
2. Views Wealth Holistically
3. Innovative, Adaptive, Responsive
4. Empowered Participation
5. Honors Community and Place
6. Edge Effect Abundance
7. Robust Circulatory Flow
8. Seeks Balance
One of the core principles of a regenerative culture is to co-create shared meaning by supporting indidvdiual and collective capacity for shifting from competitive to collaborative systems. Regenerative cultures are about “co-evolving mutuality” (Regenesis Group) between people and within the community of life.
How Does One Get Started?
Take a look at the World Future Council’s and Herbert Girardet’s work on the transition from “petropolis” to “ecopolis” through the creation of regenerative cities nested within their bioregion.
Ecologically informed urban and regional planning
Regeneration International maps regenerative agriculture projects around the world and aims to support the transition towards regenerative land management practices and a regenerative food system.
There are events happening around the world such as Regeneration 2030 or The Regenerative Business Summit, where many of the global experts on regeneration will come together to explore how we can deliver well-being and shared prosperity on a healthy planet. You are invited to be part of it, in person or online.
What Questions are being Raised?
We have to admit that capitalism is broken and structurally degenerative, and understand that redesigning the human presence and impact on Earth will go hand in and with re-localization and re-regionalization supported by global collaboration and solidarity.
By daring to ask deeper questions we begin to see the world differently. As we engage in conversation about such questions, we collectively begin to contribute to the emergence of a new culture.
- How do we create an economy with its operations based on cooperative relationships?
- How would a regenerative economy nurture the entrepreneurial spirit and enable empowered participation?
- How can we ensure that the economy promotes robust circular flows?
Questions more than answers can guide us as we choose a wiser path into an uncertain future. That is why Daniel Wahl’s book ‘Designing Regenerative Cultures’ has more than 250 questions in it. Consider them a place to start!
This article is an edit of the original by Virginie Glaenzer, Daniel Christian Wahl, and Jonathan Cook.
Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.
Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures