Category Archives: Regenerative Sustainability

Ego Eco Seva – Revisited

Reading Zoe Cohen’s recent linkedin share of a 2016 Ego-Eco article from Art Tawanghar lead me to revisit my my framing of regenerative sustainability work and consultancy support within Ego-Eco-Seva thinking …

Ego-Eco is a great way to frame our past and current approach to the environment, sustainability and the climate crisis, but does it go far or deep enough? We tend to think of ‘Ego and Eco’ as being distinct periods, Ego illustrating our thinking post-industrial revolution when we took what we wanted to satisfy egos, and dumped what we didn’t without thought to the consequences.

We perhaps see the current ‘Eco’ period starting in the 1970s with the first Earth Day, or with the Club of Rome, or as I like to frame it, with the 1987 Brundtland Common Purpose definition. But of course, ‘Ego and Eco’ are running concurrently. Even in the era of ‘Eco’ focus we see Ego’s surface and suppress Eco thinking, for example, in the auctioning of the Arctic wildlife area for oil drilling, in the UK HS2 project and architects pulling out of Architects Declare to continue working on projects that are seen by many as vanity projects.

But the Eco phase, if taken as the Brundtland ‘do nothing today to compromise tomorrows generation’ is failing us. Over the last 30 or so years since Brundtland most if not all climate indicators, (CO2, temperatures, waste et al) continue heading in the wrong direction.

Yet, against this backdrop, connectivity with nature has become a keystone for the emerging regenerative sustainability agenda. Manifest through the ‘woke’ application of biomimicry, biophilia and sustainable building accreditations such as the Living Building Challenge that see buildings and us as inhabitants as part of the natural eco-systems. But these are the exemptions and in many ways still passive, with a dominant focus on reducing impact.

We need something more, a new mindset to eclipse ‘Eco’. Many like myself (Daniel Wahl, Cost Restore and others) are using the Sanskrit expression of Seva. It translates as ‘being in service’ which I have used as ‘doing the right thing’ because we are a part of, not apart from nature, it is very much reciprocity, we are in service to nature as nature is in services to us.

Remaking Cities – Milan 2019

The earliest illustration of ‘Ego Eco Seva’ was in a GlanceSideways blog, Oct 2012 adjusting the Ego Eco graphic to show ‘the path to a perfect relationship within the ecosystem” As a graphic, it triggers a powerful and necessary reframing of Ego-Eco as the attitude needed to create a sustainable culture, ‘one that nourishes and cares for the earth we live on. Seva is a role that can only be performed with a relationship of love and humility to all entities in the environment’

Ed Gillispie in a lovely early 2020 Medium The End of ‘Saving the World’? article describes the Seva mindset … ‘The planet does not want to be saved. Or rescued. Or even changed. Our planet wants to be loved. Love is not a game of numbers and spreadsheets, checks and balances, debts and contracts. It is an exalted dance of joy, respect and gleeful, mutual appreciation and true partnership’.

In the wonderful Braiding Sweetgrass, Robin Kimmerer Wall addresses Seva and reciprocity from an indigenous angle, learning from plants, learning from nature. For example through the harmonious harvest of only taking what we need and using everything we take. RKW writing recently in Emergence Magazine, The Serviceberry takes this further as a basis for a new bio-economy … an economy of abundance

Arundhati Roy writing in the Financial Times at the start of the lockdown in the UK describes the pandemic as a portal through which we will pass. (This was one of the articles that triggered my founding the successful Zoom Regenerative series) And now with vaccines, we can start to see the other side of the portal, and focus on her question of what good will we take through, and what bad will we leave behind.

A sustainability Seva approach based on reciprocity, in service to others and nature, would be a fine thing to take through the pandemic portal as the new normal for 2021 and beyond. We have technological and digital solutions, we have nature-based solutions, we now need the new normal, free from the restraints of the ego-eco old normal, to apply and scale-up.

Read Zoe Cohen’s Linkedin Post sharing a 2016 article from Art Tawanghar that lead me to revisit my my framing of regenerative sustainability work within Ego-Eco-Seva thinking …

Zoom Regenerative 24: Celebration + Reciprocity

Edition 24 of #ZoomRegenerative closed 2020 by celebrating guests who shared regenerative insights over the year, and the sharing and gifting what has inspired us on regenerative themes in 2020. And wow, was there a lot …

2020 has been an extraordinary year, one of grief and sadness for many but also one of time for reflection and exploration of ideas. Starting in April, Zoom Regenerative’s impressive guest list covered the globe and spectrum of regenerative sustainability. As did the scope of the what has been inspiring us over the year. Here is a recap that should keep us busy and inspired way into 2021 and also makes for a wonderful ideas list for Christmas gifts.

BOOKS

Not surprisingly there were many books mentioned, including:
Braiding Sweetgrass – Robin Wall Kimmerer (link)
Underland A deep Time Journey – Robert Macfarlane (link)
From What is to What if – Rob Hopkins (link)
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures – Merlin Sheldrake (link)
Chasing the Sun: The New Science of Sunlight, How it Shapes Our Bodies and Minds – Linda Geddes (link)
Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist – Kate Raworth (link)
Burn – Using Fire to Cool the Earth. (link)
My Name is Chellis I’m in Recovery from Western Civilization – Chellis Glendinning (link)
Imaginal Cells: Visions of Transformation (link)
The Power of Now – Echart Tolle (link)

“There is so much information out there, don’t be overwhelmed by it all. All we can do is live in the highest state of consciousness and we will naturally gravitate to the right information and decision making” (JP)

PEOPLE

Thich Naht Hanh (link)
Kate Raworth (link)
Johan Rockstrom (link)
Joe Biden (link)

“The greatest gift we can give is our presence” (MB)

PROGRAMMES / FILMS

The Story of Plastic (link)
BBC Planet North (link)
2040 (link)
Kissing the Ground (link)
Fantastic Fungi (link)
The Biggest Little Farm (link)

“To give of ourselves, through food, is such an act of generosity and reciprocity” (AW)

COLLABORATIONS

ACAN (Youth) (link)
Zoom Regenerative (link) (We need a website!)
Connecting Fashion and Built Environment
RESTORE Final Conference (link)
Rocky Mountain Institute (link)
LETI (link)
Architects for Future – (link)
Supply Chain Sustainability School (link)

Happiness is within us all. The pot of gold we are trying to find is deep down inside all of us. Accessing your sub conscious through mediation we can simply transcend to find that inner peace :). Then we bring it all back up into our conscious state 🙂 (JP)

PODCASTS / BLOGS / WEBSITES

Brain Pickings – Maria Popova (link)
Reboot the Future (link)
The Regenerative Podcast (Neal Collins) (link)
Carbon Literacy Programme (link)
Resilience (link)
What If (podcast) – Rob Hopkins (link)
As You Sow (link)
Merlin Sheldrake BBC Book of the Month audio (link) https://www.bbc.co.uk/sounds/series/m000pm13
Bamboo – (link) https://www.lenzing.com/
Cradle to Cradle – (link)
Miyawaki Forests – (link)
Bio Ladies – (link)

“To me creativity is prayer, creativity is meditation, creativity is life. So don’t be afraid of life and don’t close yourself in indifference” (N)

PLACES

A Costa Rican Sunrise
Earth – Sustainability Conferences within a (Bristol) Planetarium
Home

“I want to thank you so very much for the opportunity you open to be part of these formidable webinars and gatherings. Feels like a family” (VM)

Well, I guess that concludes 2020 ZR reflections, and as we approach the winter solstice on December 21st we turn to welcome in a new spring, new growth and new light for a truly regenerative 2021.

This post originally appeared on Regenerators Patreon

Now’s the time to share ideas about the future for people and nature

Having finally completed our HUMAN. NATURE. BUILT ENVIRONMENT Scale Jumping chapter together for the RESTORE WG5 publication yesterday , and then hosted a wonderful #ZoomRegenerative session last night that explored the regenerative mindful human-nature connection, this very relevant and timely article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Nature is under pressure. Ecosystems are being degraded rapidly and a billion species are at risk of extinction. This is the shocking picture set out by an independent intergovernmental body, the Inter-governmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). The platform was established to make stronger connections between science and policy. Its view is that the only solution to the crisis is radical change in the way humans live.

Humans are deeply implicated in the crisis underpinned by the notion of the anthropocene, which is the time that humans have become the dominant impact on earth. This is highlighted in the current crises of a global pandemic, racial tensions and growing inequalities.

There is a lot of research on the impacts that human actions will have on the future of the planet. These range from carbon emissions leading to climate change through to plastic waste devastating ocean life. But there’s little research on what sort of future people want. This is even more true for understanding what a better future could look like for different people and in different contexts. Such stories of the future are important tools for decision-makers whose choices will bring about change.

The IPBES expert group on scenarios and models responded to this gap in positive stories of nature. We worked on creating visions that reflect the diverse values that nature holds for people. We also wanted these visions to be applicable in different contexts.

We started with a workshop in New Zealand in 2017, with 73 participants from 31 countries, representing all UN regions. Using a method developed from the Seeds of Good Anthropocenes project in South Africa, the participants identified “seeds” of change that they believed would be the start of a better future. These seeds were as diverse as displacing GDP growth as a metric and giving rivers legal standing, and as distinct as centres of distinction on indigenous and local knowledge and gene editing technologies.

Visions of the future

Seven radical visions of desirable nature futures emerged from this.

How the 7 desirable visions generated in the 2017 workshop in New Zealand formed the basis of the Nature Futures Framework that sets out three core values of nature: nature for nature, nature for society and nature as culture. These value perspectives build on the IPBES guidance on multiple values for nature. Authors’ own and images from Mary Brake, Reflection Graphics; Dave Leigh, Emphasise Ltd.; Pepper Lindgren-Streicher, Pepper Curry Design

Building from the visions, the expert group then developed the Nature Futures Framework. This is a simple way to show and talk about the ways in which nature has value for people:

● Nature for nature, in which nature has value in and of itself;

● Nature for society, in which nature is primarily valued for the benefits or uses people derive from it;

● Nature as culture, in which humans are perceived as an integral part of nature.

The framework aims to illustrate all the ways nature is appreciated. It’s intended to allow multiple voices to debate what a more desirable future for people and the planet could look like. A recent application of the framework with youth from around the world illustrated some common features of desirable futures. These included an emphasis on diverse community solutions, a reconnection with nature and a reconfiguration of the economic system to showcase what really is valuable for well-being.

Differences include how technology is employed in the future. This looks into whether it’s a central solution like energy and transport for example, in a hyper-connected world where everyone is educated about diverse cultures and places. It could also be a more locally diverse future that emphasises being in place and where innovation is based on indigenous and local knowledge. What these diverse futures show is not a “better or worse” future, but alternatives that can help inform decisions in the present. People have a diversity of relationships with nature. Only when this is appreciated can the world find its way to a better future.

A call to arms for participation

Reaching this global understanding requires buy-in and input from as many people around the world as possible. The newly constituted IPBES Task Force on Scenarios and Models is, therefore, calling on researchers and practitioners to contribute. They can take part in scenario processes or use the framework in their own exercises.

It is especially important to get participation from the African continent. The region is often marginalised in global environmental scenarios, despite its bio-cultural diversity. To reach as wide an audience as possible, the Nature Futures Framework’s paper on creating desirable futures has been translated into a range of languages under-represented in global research. These include AfrikaansArabicBembaisiZuluSetswanaShonaTwiWolof, and Yoruba.

Before the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2020 was to be a “super year” for nature. Various global decisions that will shape the planet’s future were to be taken, including the Convention on Biological Diversity’s renegotiation of biodiversity targets. As these events have been postponed, and as the world seeks to recover from the pandemic, it is even more essential that decisions about the future consider humans’ diverse relationships with nature.

Such decisions can be supported by visions, scenarios and pathways that are collectively developed and made accessible to all interested stakeholders. New types of globally relevant scenarios are urgently needed to show what could be achieved and catalyse the interventions needed to move towards these more desirable futures.

A starting point can be registering as a stakeholder on the IPBES portal: https://ipbes.net/. Building a better future requires everyone’s buy-in. The scientific community is starting to realise how important it is to listen to voices from the ground. Without these voices, targets for the planet will remain out of reach.

Mindful Regenerative

#Mindful Regenerative. Vitality. Transparency. Reciprocity. Human Nature Connectivity … in business and in design.

Key words that sum up yesterdays awesome #ZoomRegenerative discussions prompted by inspiring talks from Joey 🌱 Pringle + Sonja Bochart

The next Zoom Regenerative is scheduled for 20th October 2020.

Learning and Sharing in the Time of Corona

In these tough days of Covid-19, social distancing and isolation we can also look for the light of opportunity to share and to learn. We are hearing it is possible that physical, face to face events will not be happening for months, until the UK is clear enough for travel for home events, and until the EU is clear for EU events.

Not surprisingly then, we are seeing many events, workshops, exhibitions, film festivals, from book clubs to concerts to design shows, move into the online space.

We have a range of communication platforms to help us do that, from basic to more elaborate and feature rich platforms. It is good to see the virtual world of Second Life being used for Billions of Us – “an (emerging) creative community and collective devoted to using virtual technologies to improve the real world in this time of vast systemic change.” (Thanks to Pam Broviak for sharing this through her Public Works blog. Pam and I met in Second life back in mid 2000’s and then with Paul Wilkinson and Jodie Miners formed Be2Camp – now dormant but Paul has an archive of posts on his ExtranetEvolution blog)

Indeed there is nothing new to online exhibitions and fairs – back in 2014 we used Hyperfair for a number of events, complete with in-world talks, exhibitors and social events a few years ago with (Construction21 and Others) see Sustainability made Cool? Day one at #EXPOC21

A New Normal Built Environment

For us in the built environment, we are starting see that the world of design, construction, supply chains and communications will not be the same post Covid19. We will cannot return to the normal we knew, for that normal is in too many ways responsible for the problems we have now.

Preparing for a new post Covid19 normal must be part of a ‘never waste this crisis’ approach that practices and companies need to take. And now is the time to take that development, when employees are home based, with more time to learn, develop and help shape a future business.

We cannot waste this crisis and we must emerge stronger, ready to address a different environment, when addressing the climate and ecological breakdown will be very high, if not top of the agenda. We have see, through remarkable images of how air quality dramatically improved as activity stopped in Wuhan and Italy. We have seen, after only a short time of ‘shut down’ how nature can thrive, here in the UK (shut down of modern life allows nature to thrive), in the canals of Venice and beyond.

To this end I am running in-house, online inter-active CPD style sessions through Zoom or Teams for a number of my clients, both here in the UK and overseas. (If you are interested in this for your organisation please get in touch)

Zoom Regenerative

A weekly 45 minute Zoom meet up for those interested in learning more or are practising regenerative approaches, in sustainability, in the built environment, in business etc. Each session will feature an introduction or presentation from a regenerative colleague from around the world, followed by a lightly facilitated discussion. Starting on April 7th, I plan Zoom Regenerative to be held Tuesdays at 8pm UK (but possibly shifting an hour or two to allow participation from Australia at a sensible hour)

Link for the Zoom session will be on my twitter feed under hashtags #ZoomRegen

RESTORE COST Newsletter

An extract from my Contribution the the RESTORE Cost Action ..

It is possible that every sustainability practitioner, academic and student globally is now home working. Through communication technologies we can share and discuss the work of RESTORE and regenerative sustainability. There are many working groups discussions taking place through Zoom, but we can do more. For example

LFE (Living Future Europe) has started a weekly Resilience Lounge hosted by Carlo Battisti. (Wednesdays 5pm UK Details)

Martin will be starting a weekly Zoom Regenerative series starting on the 7th April with guest from around the world sharing their regenerative voices, actions and approaches. (Tuesdays 8pm UK Details and #ZoomRegen)

There is a global Transition Town discussion group on Monday 30th hosted by founder Rob Hopkins

There are also many on line book clubs which have caught my eye, for example The Living Mountain as a twitter based book club – search #CoReadingVirus and a Nature Writing Course hosted by Emergence Magazine starting on 5th April 12.00 PST

Connectivity with Nature, its importance to mental and physical health is a key theme that runs through the work and outcomes of RESTORE. It is a sad consequence of housing design and construction over recent decades that many many families are now isolated in homes with no views, no access to nature, and in some cases in city centres with no windows. We will undoubtedly see a rise in mental health, anxiety and domestic violence. You may have noticed an increase in the sharing of nature based images, videos, art and music across social media. This in a small way, may give a little comfort to those without access or views.

Lets use our collective and individual social media accounts to share, and lets use the hashtags #NoticeNature and #CostRestore

Suggested reading In Times of Uncertainty, let nature be your refuge Lucy Jones – author Losing Eden: Why Our Minds Need the Wild.

Monarch Butterfly (see Why is there a Monarch Butterfly on the cover of FutuREstorative …)

Love the Reason to Celebrate EarthDay 2020

The Ego Eco Seva thinking that many will have heard me talk & present on was developed from FutuREstorative and through COSTRestore. The Ego Eco phases are somewhat self explanatory, and Seva, taken from Sanskrit ‘serving others without reward’ is used as ‘doing the right thing because we are part of nature, not apart from’

This week I came across a brilliant Medium post from Ed GillespieThe End of ‘Saving the World’?” that far more eloquently describes what I have in mind when talking about Seva in this context …

Love: the reason to celebrate Earthday 2020

“The planet does not want to be saved. Or rescued. Or even changed. Our planet wants to be loved. Love is not a game of numbers and spreadsheets, checks and balances, debts and contracts. It is an exalted dance of joy, respect and gleeful, mutual appreciation and true partnership.

We should all be dancing. But right now the music’s stopped. And I sense it won’t authentically restart until we properly reconnect with what really matters, our deeper selves, each other and our home”

Lets restart the music … #EarthRise

Image result for earthrise

APRIL 22, 2020 MARKS 50 YEARS OF EARTH DAY ... YOU HAVE THE POWER TO CHANGE THE WORLD

A PQQ for Regenerative Construction

Originating in FutuREstorative and further developed in conjunction with COST RESTORE, this PQQ for Assessing Regenerative Sustainability Capability template details areas of regenerative sustainability that a client, the design team (or design and build contractor) should be considering, and seeking evidence of understanding, approach and experience from the potential supply chain in written responses and in interview

REGENERATIVE SUSTAINABLE PROCUREMENT

From COST Restore publication: Regenerative Construction and Operation
Bridging the gap between design and construction, following a Life Cycle Approach consisting of practical approaches for procurement, construction, operation and future life.

Regenerative Sustainable procurement is the transition between the sustainable design vision and the realisation of that vision. Within the regenerative sustainability paradigm, it is vital that the construction process of the project along with the facilities management of the project is undertaken in a manner that is not only socially just and ecologically sound but is regenerative in enabling human and ecosystems to thrive.

The template should be tailored to meet project specifics.

Request a customisable copy of the Regenerative Sustainability PQQ

Healing the Future

At the start of each year there is a searching for new, we feel we need something new, a new tool, a new message, a new tagline to recharge our sustainability approaches.

Over recent years I have loosely used hashtags to define my approaches, consulting, keynotes and thinking, for example #ImagineBetter and #EgoEcoSeva in 2018, 2019.

For 2020, I return to, and incorporate a tagline I first used way back in 2009 through keynotes and work associated with Green Vision at Leeds Beckett and then incorporated into FutuREstorative in 2016 … #HealingTheFuture

“Recharging nature recharges the human spirit. In 2020, we could all do with some of that” @GeorgeMonbiot

Through climate & ecology emergency declarations and increased climate justice awareness we now have a sense for the urgency in not only reducing our impact, (being less bad) in being regenerative (doing more good) but also in repairing damage done, on our watch over the last 30 years or so. I feel Healing the Future sums this well, whether it be carbon, climate justice or ecological healing.

My 2019 twitter profile image took the warming stripes from Ed Hawkins and reversed them, showing the journey we have in front of us to reduce carbon back to 350ppm, to keep global temp increases below 1.5 … and maintain climate justice. My 2020 profile image is from a slide used in 2011, for a Green Vision presentation, entitled Time to Heal the Future.

Biophilia and Beauty

“Everybody needs beauty as well as bread, places to play in and pray in, where Nature may heal and cheer and give strength to body and soul alike.” John Muir, The Yosemite, 1912

“Beauty is an experience – it is not the property of an object. It is not a permanent state, but the response a person will have to something, another person or action, a feeling or object.”

Over the weekend I sat down to read and review Wellbeing In Interiors, Philosophy, Design & Value in Practice by Elina Grigoriou, recently published by RIBA. A book that is indeed a welcomed and fresh contribution to wellbeing within the built environment. I was struck on the alignment of my thinking with that of Elina in particular regarding ‘beauty’.

The latest edition of Living Building Challenge, 4.0, has moved biophilic design from the Health and Happiness ‘petal’ to Beauty. This takes a little understanding of the philosophy of beauty and nature, something Elina describes within Part 1 ‘Philosophy: prerequisites and outputs of wellbeing’

There is a caveat here., in that we should strive to be far less human-centric when considering biophilia and create buildings and spaces that are both regenerative and beneficial to nature and to humans. Seeing ourselves as part of nature not apart from, and nature as something that happens around us. In this thinking Biophilia would have found a better home in the Place petal, celebrating and recognising our inclusion within Ecology of Place.

Elina refers to the Living Building Challenge, noting the requirement towards creating aesthetically beautiful buildings and spaces, where beauty is a key requirement for a sustainable outcome.

a requirement that neatly explains LBC’s vision in nurturing designs that do not just elevate but celebrate peoples spirit and inspire everyone to be and to do better.”

The conclusion follows that if we design and incorporate biophilic principles within our buildings, we are creating beautiful buildings.

Wellbeing in Interiors also sheds light on another issue I am currently exploring, that of measuring biophilic interventions. Our COST Restore working group looking at KPI’s for interior comfort has identified biophilia as a key performance driver, and exploring indicators that observe successful biophilic designs.

Wellbeing in Interiors addresses this issue in the chapter defining project KPIs and UPA’s (User Profile Activities) within in the ‘Value in Practice: Measuring Wellbeing” section, and again, I am inspired with alignment on my thinking regarding the use of Maslow’s hierarchy (a commonly talked about but underused model) as the basis for inhabitant wellbeing when conducting POE assessments.

Indeed Wellbeing In Interiors provides much fresh thinking for moving the increasingly stale POE and ‘user’ evaluations into a modern, regenerative approach to measuring and monitoring the value of wellbeing interventions.

I look forward to exploring more of Wellbeing In Interiors in future review and insight articles.

Image: Google Earth

A Promise of Declarations

What is the collective noun for declarations? An argument, (used to describe architects and wizards) sounds a good fit. But I like a Promise of Declarations.

Coupled with recent findings from the IPCC, the UK’s CCC Net Zero Report and inspiration from Greta Thunberg and school strikers, over 100 local authorities, have declared a climate emergency and / or committed to net zero carbon by 2030 or 2050. And within the built environment we have declarations from Architects (now over 500 practice signatures), Landscape Architects, Structural Engineers, Service Engineers, Creative Communicators and even Construction Supply Chains. Check them out:

And this is not just a UK initiative, there is also an Australian Architects Declaration at https://au.architectsdeclare.com.

And, if anyone is setting up, or knows of a construction sector emergency declaration, I would be more than keen to assist/support

Tell the Truth: The first objective of call of extinction rebellion is to recognise that a climate emergency exists and to tell the truth. The second is to Act Now. Now that these groups, institutes, practices and individuals have recognised a climate emergency problem exists, we can act, and now is the time to turn these commitments into actions.

Act Now – All of these declarations have similar, reassuring, commitments for faster change in our industry towards regenerative approaches. And in doing so recognising that business as usual sustainability (BAUS) has not moved the needle on carbon, global climate temperatures or biodiversity.

“faster change in our industry towards regenerative design practices”

Reducing Impact no longer cuts it
We need to move positive good of Regenerative Sustainability

Act NowReimagine carbon – the greatest contribution we can make in the built environment, given that we emit 40% of emissions, is to design, deliver buildings that store carbon.

Reimagine Carbon, Carbon is not the Enemy

Act NowDeclare: Only with greater transparency in respect of the products we use, can we address impacts our buildings have on human, biodiversity and planetary health. Declare is focused on taking toxic materials out of the Built Environment through fostering a transparent materials economy free of toxins and harmful chemicals.

3 Collaborate and going beyond silos, we cannot do this alone and will need the might of all good collaborative working approaches from the last 30 years. One powerful benefit of Living Building Challenge accreditation, in not awarding certification until design intent is proven over a 12 months continuous period, is the way in which design, construction, facilities managers and those using the building have to collaborate for sustainable success

RE:Sources