We must choose our future by design.
Designing for the future requires us to act and think in a transdisciplinary way in order to integrate diverse ways of knowing. The future necessitates that we re-imagine a new way to organize ourselves, one that embraces all voices and all living systems. A holistic systems approach that embraces multiple perspectives will be the learning pathway for all of us in order for humans and the planet to thrive.
If we are intentional in co-creating an integrated view, then we will enhance the capacity for social cohesiveness in our communities. To be co-collaborators – developing new possibilities for innovation and economic prosperity to benefit people and the planet – will be the next significant advancement of our own evolutionary process.
Humans are unique on this planet in that only we can make the choice to co-evolve with the natural world or destroy it. We are in serious peril, given the trajectory that we are on currently, which could result in destroying ourselves as well as our earth.
As a consequence, making the right choices at this pivotal point in our evolutionary history is critical to our future. It has taken a convergence of crises to wake us up to the human activity that has caused social disruption, biodiversity loss, and runaway climate change. The pandemic is a warning sign that exposes us to our vulnerability, as well as highlights widespread inequality and the ravages of human greed. In other words, today’s ecological crises makes vividly known our human flaws and what it means to be human.
Given these insights, we are capable of making the right choices which can evoke an understanding of our own capacity to care more for others’ wellbeing than simply our own.
I believe this is where we can create what we value. If we align our internal values with how we walk and talk in the world, then those same values become the external values that impact not just our own behaviour but also the behaviour of others.
Mark Carney’s recent book Value[s] embraces shared values as the basis for enabling shared prosperity.
“We need to combine values of compassion, responsibility and solidarity with a new dynamism to achieve prosperity for all.”
David Orr, Professor of Environmental Studies at Oberlin College in Ohio
“….a fundamental re-design of the human presence in the world, based on reverence of and love for life in all its manifestations can help us to create a sane civilization that loves more fully and more intelligently”
Someone who has earned international recognition for her transdisciplinary work in cross-cultural leadership, living systems science and ancient spiritual traditions is Margaret Wheatley – who believes that everything comes into form because of relationships.
“Even reality is created through our participation in relationships”
She continues by pointing out that through these chosen relationships we co-create our world. What is also key to her teachings and most relevant today is her comment,
“If we are interested in affecting change, it is crucial to remember that we are working with webs of relationships.”
We all know, and have probably experienced, that not all relationships are healthy and much healing is required to advance our society. Dr. Dean Ornish, a cardiologist in the U.S. believes that anything that promotes a sense of love and intimacy, connection and community, is healing.
Restoring the health of the planet, whether it involves rivers, oceans, forests, air pollution, depleted soil health or loss of bio-diversity, also requires caring for and loving our natural surroundings by actively participating in its healing and regeneration. There is a reciprocal relationship between communities and the region they occupy as they are mutually dependent on each other for a healthy co-existence.
The regenerative design and development of communities and their surrounding region offer an invitation for all of us to collaborate, rebuild, to co-create a future that works for all. This represents the maturity of humans to shift toward a new way of thinking, relating and doing in the places we live. Then we can create a new narrative that seeks a common purpose for individuals and communities to live in more cohesive, inclusive and harmonious relationships with each other and with our natural surroundings.
According to Wikipedia, regenerative design is a process-oriented whole systems approach to creating resilient and equitable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
The development of regenerative design has been influenced by approaches found in biomimicry, ecological economics and in particular circular economics. The process of designing systems such as restorative justice, rewilding, and regenerative agriculture are also examples of regenerative design.
Once we understand the principles of regenerative practices and explore innovative ways to generate opportunities for new job creation, we can also align ourselves with companies that contribute to broader social and economic progress. Referring to Mark Carney again, who has a broader global vision that Canada has much to offer in this respect.
Mark Carney -“Shared-value strategies tie social impact directly to competitive advantage and economic performance.”
Companies will have to build social impact into their strategic planning with their business models. This will create a framework for companies to share and communicate their purpose, and illustrate how these social initiatives have contributed to value creation.
The ripple effect of integrating social values with environmental initiatives and long-term economic growth means that by revitalizing our cities and regions in this manner we can catalyze further co-developments. This effect provides increased networks of communication and cooperation that builds resilience, cohesion, and solidarity in communities that will become more diverse and inclusive than they were before. A pattern of circular flows and networks helps to create an economic model for the region that can constantly renew itself and add further initiatives to join in a much larger process that benefits an entire ecosystem for people and the planet.
I have developed an economic model that integrates human, social and natural eco-systems in a regenerative framework, building on circular flows of communication, networks and development. This is a holistic approach that is best described as the:
Convergence of Capacities: Human; Social and Nature’s Eco-systems. [link to model]
We are currently gathering stories from individuals and local businesses, including farmers in the region, who are already initiating regenerative practices in the work they do. These stories will be put on our website and will showcase the positive trajectory that is contributing to the health and regeneration of our city and communities in the region and beyond.
We invite all citizens to join us in learning and actively participating in our journey toward designing our future.