We all know that working towards a more sustainable lifestyle is critical right now, but… is it enough? Sustainability has historically been the goal of eco-friendly movements, but now there is a newfound effort on the need for regenerative efforts.
So… what is the difference?
Regenerative programs are more aggressive than sustainable programs. Why? Well, sustainability by definition means to maintain the current state of the environment, whereas regenerative programs aim to restore the environment to its former state.
Our natural spaces have lost an exponential amount of their biodiversity and water, and are facing mass amounts of pollution. This environmental stress has greatly damaged our ecosystem. So we will probably need to take a more aggressive approach.
The regenerative movement embraces the idea we’ve degraded the planet so much that even if we stopped everything and did no more harm that would not be enough for nature to recover.
Instead of doing less damage to the environment, we need to participate appropriately with the environment by using the health of ecological systems as a basis for design. Helping nature recover its self-regulation ability under which life creates conditions conducive to more life.
We’re talking about practices that increase biodiversity – usually, via crop diversity-, enrich soils and capture carbon… Many of these regenerative practices are inspired by permaculture design and include reduced tillage, crop rotation and design in time and space: different crops planted side by side which are harvested at different times and whose roots occupy different depths in the soil and therefore do not compete.
Cover cropping, composting, carefully analysing the inclination of land, using natural pesticides and herbicides, collecting rainwater, are some examples of restorative design practices.
Further than that, regeneration includes revisiting the way we look at humankind’s role: questioning our position of dominance and control from which we design and looking at us and our actions as part of a higher net of complex interconnections that must take place in harmony with nature.
What do you think about regeneration practices? Were you ever involved in one of them?