I remember fondly snuggling up to David Attenborough’s Natural History series documenting the marvels of life on our planet. The wrinkles of subterranean rodents, the curious twists of a narwals tooth, from the great barrier reef to simple tide pools, he filled me with wonder and hope.
Then on February 23, 2021, Sir David Attenborough spoke to the United Nations Security Council and said to the 15 members, “There is no going back. No matter what we do now, it’s too late to avoid climate change, and the poorest, the most vulnerable, those with the least security are now certain to suffer.”
Then and there, I decided to write a strongly worded letter to myself and ask, what is the world doing to mitigate this impending disaster?
How do we regenerate our thinking, our economies and our lifestyles to pass this mortal test?
I was grateful when President Biden proclaimed in his inaugural address, “A cry for survival comes from the planet itself, a cry that can’t be any more desperate or any clearer than now.”
The US finally rejoined the Paris Climate Accord after four years of inaction. But the first assessment of countries’ performance to cut their greenhouse gas emissions have fallen quite short of what’s needed to avoid complete climate breakdown.
Patricia Espinosa, Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), warned, “We are very far away from a pathway that will meet the Paris agreement goal. We are collectively walking into a minefield blindfolded. The next step could be disaster.”
What’s the difference between Sustainable and Regenerative?
Sustainable practices seek to maintain current systems without degrading them for future generations.
Regenerative aims to restore the whole systems we live in, to become resilient and dynamic, beneficial for humans and the entire planet.
The definition of Regeneration itself means to EVOLVE capacity – not to do better or follow certain rules.
Author of The Regenerative Life, Carol Sanford, believes in thinking broader than cause and effect. Today’s challenges require a different kind of thinking – one that isn’t focused on one single point to fix – but on how to reshape and heal whole systems – the ones we live in. To build capacity and understanding in the people around us so that they can do the same.
Regeneration, as a mindset, is focused on developing the capacity and capability for systems evolution. Evolving our spaces and places, our companies, and communities, so they have the capacity to evolve toward increasing states of health and vitality over time.
Regenerating our energy sources can regenerate our economies.
A recent report authored by GE boldly states that “Addressing climate change must be an urgent global priority. To change course, the world must act quickly to decarbonize every aspect of modern life, from transportation to power. This requires a global effort built on cooperation and coordination from every major institution, government, and company to face and meet the challenge.”
Their three-part miniseries explores the future of energy in places like Ethiopia, Pakistan and the Middle East. These are some inspiring people and innovative technologies in the energy industry today.
Imagine regenerative cities as whole ecological and economic systems.
The World Future Council imagines creating restorative relationships between cities, the local environment and the world beyond.
Regenerative cities can be a blueprint to harness new opportunities in financial, technology, policy and business practices. To develop real strategies for an environmentally enhancing, restorative relationship between cities and the ecosystems from which they draw resources for their sustenance.
Regenerative Design Strategies in Buildings
Regenerative design is all about thinking ahead, designing with the future in mind every step of the way. As opposed to sustainably designed buildings, which are based on the concept of only using the minimum resources you need, regenerative buildings are designed and operated to reverse the damage and have a net-positive impact on the environment.
Green roofs are fairly common in today’s building design industry, but we now have the ability to design buildings with skins that actually clean the ambient air and sequester carbon and capturing rainwater.
We must collaborate in the creation of diverse regenerative ideas adapted to the unique biocultural planet.
The Housing and Development Board in Singapore has executed a variety of green eco-friendly strategies to help think about regenerating our world and mitigating the effects of global climate change.
As Sir David Attenborough said in his film A Life on Our Planet, “This is not about saving our planet, it’s about saving ourselves. The truth is, with or without us, the natural world will rebuild.”
Let’s build a regenerative future!
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