Regenerating our capabilities
for relating with ourselves,
each other and our world.
Given the state in which our beautiful blue home planet, our societies, communities and individuals as well as other species find ourselves, it seems timely to reflect on our situation which, according to many, is worsening. We believe a regenerative approach to community development, is needed. More urgently now than ever before.
As Albert Einstein wisely suggested:
“Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”
Community is frequently invoked as if it were some kind of magical talisman – a sort of cocoon which will shield us from the hard realities of life in the 21st century and beyond. Community is not immune from the fantastical delusions of which we seem increasingly capable. Community is a way of being deeply rooted in our indigenous origins - it is gritty, real, both nurturing & challenging and involves every aspect of life on earth. An exploration of the evolution of community is necessary for us to begin to grope our way back, as Freya Mathews’ urges, to ‘re-inhabit reality.’ And if we think this sounds like hard work Clarissa Pinkola Estes tells us, “We were made for these times.”
We now live as though there are no limits – products zoom around the world at dizzying speeds and with a quick wipe or flash of a plastic card they are ours! Moving to localisation is essential but we must never lose sight of the fact that this exquisitely beautiful blue planet is home to us all – human and all others. What we do in our homes and neighbourhoods has ramifications and implications for others, especially when we strip resources in order to feed our insatiable appetite for growth. Our local neighbourhoods must be bound with the global.
A regenerative approach calls for us to do things differently. It is now clear that we live in perilous times and that a ‘business as usual' approach could lead to devastating consequences. Ecological design, where nature and its natural, relational processes are applied, can and does transform a range of vital activities: farming, building, manufacturing, neighbourhoods, consumption and more.
Regenerative design and practice draw on old and new knowledges from multiple cultures, places and time periods. Its focus is for us to live, work and play as part of what Fritjof Capra calls the ‘web of life.’ It invites us to think in whole systems, to consider that what is done, in one sphere of activity, inevitably spreads and impacts on others. Regenerative practice also asks us to consider the long-term repercussions of our acts in the world. A focus on short-term gain will have consequences in the long-term and the pain may well fall to others, including those who we profess to love. The practice is congruent with traditional insights that we should live in a manner that enables us to become ‘good ancestors’, leaving a legacy worth inheriting for those who come after us. As David Orr states (in his foreword to Daniel Wahl’s book, Designing Regenerative Cultures) ‘…the rules of decent behaviour prescribed in each of the Axial religions bear more than a co-incidental similarity to the rules of enlightened design. We are our brother’s keeper and also that of the bears, whales, birds, trees, lands and waters; and they are ours.’
Again, from Albert Einstein we hear: ‘Imagination is more important than knowledge.’ John Raulston Saul (On Equilibrium) adds that imagination allows us to live with ‘the swirl of uncertainty‘ and to dream of and ‘enfold ourselves’ into futures which are markedly different from that we seem predestined to follow. To our way of thinking, this is possibly our best hope for something other than the dystopian future currently being foretold.
Regenerative practice leads us to restoring our capabilities for relating with our selves, with each other and with our world. It is work that is both wholistic and integrated.
We try to develop awareness and appreciation of the interdependencies that exist between humans and the world, finding ways in which we can work collaboratively while leaving a minimal ecological footprint.
Significantly, a regenerative approach suggests a win-win-win approach. The planet to have the first win and then ourselves and others – both human and other than human. This recognises that if we care for and protect our home planet, we and our descendants may find our way to a future worth having. There is no longer any point in maintaining the status quo. We need a new approach.
Daniel Christain Wahl (Designing Regenerative Cultures) urges us to ask deeper questions and to keep on asking until we work our way through to a worthwhile future.
We hope you will join us in asking questions and exploring creative and imaginative ways to regenerate our world, ourselves and our communities which are so much more than human. We look forward to learning from our past/s and appreciating that every generation should have the opportunity to respond to the needs of their time and place. We invite you to stay in touch as we walk together, one step at a time into uncertain futures. .
We will continue to add resources and reflections to this site and we look forward to working and walking with you.