Regenerative Notes 6

Regen Notes,  a fortnightly newsletter is released through substack, as an update of regenerative news, stories and more with a sideways focus on the built environment, curated by me, Martin Brown. These newsletters will be also shared here for Patreon subscribers.

Here is Regen Notes 6, the most recent – previous newsletters can be read here.

Restore, Restory, Restord,

On a dreary wet Brussels day in 2017, I walked from the city hotel over to the COST offices for the inaugural meeting of our COST RESTORE ‘action’. Some 40 attendees shaped the work programme, collaborations and friendships for the next four years. (RESTORE – Rethinking Sustainability for a Regenerative Future)

RESTORE may now be concluding but will leave a canon legacy of publications, papers and more that will spring further regenerative projects and development. We are currently embarking on a series of RESTORE READY events across Europe – Paris, Madrid, Belgrade, Malmo and Sabden are still open for registration. 

Writing and editing of the first drafts of RESTORY – the telling the project management of our four-year research network, and of RESTORDa guide for educators, students and partitioners, are now complete and the publication process begins.

RESTORD is based on asking what will good look like through imagining a city in the future that applied all the thinking from RESTORE, not as isolated technical or sustainability aspects, but at a system thinking, holistic level, where the synergy of the parts leads to something wonderful and beautiful, embracing complexity, at the edge of chaos. RESTORD also picks up on a long-held belief that that one of the most vital aspects of sustainability is to inspire the next generation to reach higher, to be bolder, more courageous and more disruptive from business as usual than our generation has been.

In writing RESTORD it is hard not to reflect that so much of our built environment process persists in degenerative practice, we have a long way to go in a short time to fully embrace regenerative, do more good, not only less bad, approaches. We may have the technologies but now need the mindsets. A section within RESTORD, Mind the Regenerative Future was a journey of discovery on the necessity for higher awareness and consciousness, from mindfulness to self-organising systems, from symbiotic building to Transcendental Meditation and Vastu Architecture. 

Sustainability is not possible without engaging in the process of Regeneration or Conscious Evolution …Jason Mclellan, founder of Living Building Challenge (From living Buildings to Building life) 


RESTORD also carries an exploration of Eco Literacy and our need for standing on the shoulders of giants. Writing with Giulia Sonetti “At the heart of most eco-literature, if not all, is our relationship with nature, with land, either directly as individuals or through our industrial and societal progress, through energy, transport, communications and our built environment”

Many of the suggested eco-literacy genre authors noted in RESTORD are to be (re)published in a Penguin Green Ideas paperback series, including authors such as Aldo Leopold (Think Like a Mountain), EO Wilson (Every Species is a Masterpiece), Robin Wall Kimmerer (The Democracy of Species), Rachel Carson (Man’s War Against Nature), Naomi Klein (Hot Money) Wendell Berry (What I Stand for is What I Stand On) and Bill McKibben (An Idea Can Go Extinct) 

Also noted in respect of new books is “Design Studio Vol. 1: Everything Needs to Change: Architecture and the Climate Emergency”  published by RIBA, “‘Exploring architecture and the climate emergency, editors Sofie Pelsmakers (sustainable architect, educator and author of The Environmental Design Pocketbook) and Nick Newman (climate activist and Director of award-winning practice Studio Bark) are channelling the message of Greta Thunberg to inspire, enthuse and inform the next generation of architects. 


Most of the UK’s environmental protections stem from EU law and so could be changed as a result of Brexit. Greener UK has produced a Risk Tracker to show which policy areas are more secure, and which are most at risk. ‘Encouraging the UK government will go further than simply safeguarding protections, to take advantage of the great opportunity of restoring nature and our natural resources within a generation, as set out in the Greener UK vision’

Continuing the Regen-Notes nature and health theme, the BBC reported on the German trend of waldeinsamkeit, an archaic German term for the feeling of “forest loneliness”. Or more appropriately, the enlightened, sublime feeling that can come from being alone in the woods, seeking calm, fresh air and hermit-like solitude with the country’s restriction-free spruce, conifer, beech, oak and birch forests busier than ever. 

Over this spring and summer, Plantlife has four different Hunts with over 70 flowers to get to know. Starting with spring favourites, from first yellows of celandines and primroses, through to bluebells and cuckooflower 

Partners at the UP STRAW project have created a library of more than 400 publications dedicated to building with straw. The library, a free reference management tool that allows the user to manage bibliographical data and documents such as websites, videos, scientific articles, books and PDFs. 

Earthhour occurs on the 27th of March. No matter where you are in the world, you can make an impact and join for the Hour to speak up for nature! 


The Risk of Letting Big Finance Write Its Own Climate Rules – Bloomberg article explores the risk in how big finance interprets zero carbon – and it looks very different from stabilising and reducing CO2 to address and mitigate the climate and ecological crisis. 

Carbon offsets offer a fantasy of capitalism without crises from Robert Watt in The Conversation explores the far fetched world of carbon credit trading, where “actors all have conflicts of interest – developers want to sell more credits, while standards agencies and auditors want to gain market share. The resulting credits they certify are offered as a cheap means to appear green” 

Just Is

Georgia Elliott Smith launched a new campaign video for her legal challenge of the UK Government over incineration pollution and carbon emissions.Georgia Elliott-Smith @georgiaesHelp me fight the UK govt in the High Court on 14th & 15th April 2021, demanding #climatejustice and an end to incinerator pollution. Find out more at #somethingintheairImage

March 9th 202124 Retweets34 Likes

Zoom Regenerative 

Zoom Regenerative 28 featured Louise Hamot exploring carbon in MEP based on her work, recently published in CIBSE Technical Memorandum 65: Embodied Carbon in building services, and insights from Slovakia with Marián Ontkóc on low or negative carbon building materials, crafts and tutoring.

Delighted that Zoom Regenerative 29, on the 23rd March will feature Eden Brukman sharing insights from her regenerative work with the City of San Fransisco and beyond. Equally delighted that ZR29 will also feature Freddie Catlow in Stockholm, sharing his journey in bamboo, “from one to boo”, that led to his business venture Planboo. Registration here.

The Zoom Regenerative Earthday special, a hybrid event in Sabden Lancashire, hosted by the wonderful Class of Your Own, in conjunction with RESTORE and Living Future Europe will be held on the 20th April. The full-day (2 pm-9 pm) session will feature RESTORE Ready presentations and discussions, local regenerative presentations with an educational theme and a series of peach kuchas on regenerative practice in NW England to create a Living Future Collaborative hub. Wow 

And finally, excited to announce the ZR Pollinator Tutorials are shaping up for the week of 3 May. Tutorials will explore the foundations and basics of leading-edge regenerative themes, including Mind the Regenerative Future; Regenerative Economics; Regenerative Collaborations and The Living Building Challenge that features so much in the ZR sessions.

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