Category Archives: Regenerative Sustainability

Earthday 2022

“What, I wondered would the world look like if industrialised civilisation had been designed in concert with the fundamental principles of ecology“

The latest edition of Regen/ Notes features Denis Hayes as coordinator and cofounder of the Earthday movement back in 1970. The theme for 2022 is Invest in Our Planet.

Read, like and subscribe to the Regen/ Notes here.

“The earth laughs with flowers” Ralph Waldo Emerson, (Wildflower meadow at Cuerden Valley Park April 2022)

The Regenerative Playbook Reviews

Lets dare to do things differently 

The following was originally posted to the Regen/ Notes newsletter. You can follow, like and subscribe here.

The Regenerative Playbook landed at the World Book Day Zoom Regenerative special event on the 1st of March. Below we present a collection of comments, observations and reviews from the launch, and on the playbook.

Joanna Watchman: Last night, we had the great pleasure of launching The Regenerative Playbook – a collaboration with (and for) two incredible changemakers, Anna Williamson MSc, FRSA, LFA & Martin Brown. It was inspired by the Content Coms Little Books series which have been such a force for good. Both Anna and Martin (kick-starters of Zoom Regenerative) give far more than they ever receive or ask for in return. I urge anyone who is looking to “go beyond sustainability with aspirational and transformational ideas” to download it. Also, a huge thank you to Josie Warden at the RSA for her inspirational foreword. 

The Regenerative Playbook is all about taking things to the next level with sustainability. A journey that all of you – and your customers – find yourself upon. 

Joanna Watchman

We need to be regenerative. But what does this mean? 

As this playbook shows, it means asking different and better questions, ones which can help us to recognise and work with the true interdependencies of our living world; it means nurturing the potential that all people and communities already have to be sources of health for all life on earth and giving that potential space to grow and be realised; and it means working not only to change ‘out there’ but also to change ‘in here’, our own mindsets and behaviours, and those of our organisations. 

Josie Warden

Martin Brown: “Against the backdrop of Monday’s IPCC report that triggered headlines of the earth hurtling to destruction, the Regenerative Playbook provides a framework for moving sustainability beyond business as usual through asking better and different questions. By seeing ourselves as part of rather than apart from the living systems that sustain us. As Robin Wall Kimmerer has often said “had we respected the earth, learned from our elders, taken only what was needed and used what we had taken, then today we wouldn’t fear our own atmosphere”. 

Regenerative Playbook

The Regenerative Playbook is in many ways a milestone, the cumulative effort of two years of Zoom Regenerative’s, journey and opens a new chapter. In addition to our nourishing Tuesday regen gatherings, the playbook adds deeper and wider advocacy, nursing and support for those embarking on regenerative journeys. I am honoured and humbled to be part of such a vibrant regenerative collaborative of awesome friends from around the world”

Martin Brown

Josie’s words regarding ‘those communities who have stewarded traditional knowledge about how to live in good relationship with our world’ resonates with Anna, and she asks:

Anna Williamson: Are technical solutions the answer? “I used to think that the top global environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem col­lapse, and climate change. I thought that with thirty years of good science we could address these problems, but I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed, and apathy, and to deal with these we need a spiritual and cultural transformation. And we scientists don’t know how to do that.”— Gus Speth, American environmental attorney and past dean of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Foundational wisdom can guide and teach: “(to) our brothers and sisters out there, get to know where you live, because it’s place-based. The land is alive, the rivers are alive, the living systems are alive, the birds and the fish – everything communicates. Don’t see yourself as a human being as elitist and above other living systems.” – Dr. Anne Poelina, Indigenous community leader, human and earth rights advocate.

The Regenerative Playbook seeks to help businesses and organisations translate foundational wisdom into their own culture, to deliver regenerative practice that sticks.

Anna Williamson

Subscribe now

For more information on the Regenerative Playbook see Regen/ Notes 32

And the reviews are in … 

I’m up to my eyeballs with Zoom which I love but the most nourishing has been your zRegen series – really fantastic to meet such a broad selection of people with such wonderful ideas. This sense of accessibility and advocacy to wider networks is really very core.  John Ennis

A jewel of a book, a guide for the future, a blueprint for change…however you describe it, this is a publication that anyone that cares about where we go from here should own and read! What a great collaboration! I’ll share the Regenerative Playbook far and wide. Terry John

On the zoom regen (Playbook) meeting with some amazing collaborations and working at going about things a different way. Excellent meeting of the mind and spirit of regeneration. A very fulfilling engagement indeed.  Walter Lourie

Thank you for both hosting such an energising evening yesterday, and for forwarding a link to join as well … the uplift was exactly what I needed. Look forward to seeing what comes next – all the very best. Scott McAulay

I am part of a postgraduate (Building Beyond Borders)and we will have an exhibition in Belgium together with the studio BC architects soon in april. Its about experimenting with regenerative / circular/ biodiversity positive/ waste materials within the postgraduate studio of Building Beyond Borders. One part of the exhibition is a library of books that works inspiring for the visitor. Maybe this regenerative playbook can be presented as well. Jasper Goris

I love that point about mindful connection being the start. Emphasises that it’s a daily mindset habit and not something you do as a wellbeing modality. Great conversation everyone. An antidote to the bleakness of events in the last few days. It’s so good to be part of a network of hopeful, positive, heartful and mindful people. I was thinking this morning how the playbook looks like the wisdom cards I use with my students when I teach meditation. It has that spirit of ‘invitations to reflect’. Beautiful. Sophie Lacey

100 copies for Belgium! Alexander Mijts

I’ve just seen the playbook. Congratulations – it’s excellent. Chloe Bullock

Definitely will work as a conversation starter in class! Congrats on your achievements with this book. Giovanna Di Monte-Milner

Just what I needed today after the devastation of floods pushing the war down the front pages of the news today… sigh. There is a better world out there – lets help concrete it 🙂 Caroline Pidcock

Thank you so much for this inspiring and hopeful book launch! I look forward to the hard copy book (and will start reading the soft copy) 😉 Britt Puhlmann

It was a lovely event last night. Thought provoking conversations in the company of good and supportive humans was just what we needed after the last few days. Well done for launching the playbook. Ordered it and will review soon!  Oliver Riley

Wonderful conversations and observations as ever! Well done to Martin Brown and Anna Williamson & congratulations on the Regenerative PlaybookAnn Vanner

Great publication Martin. Well done. Inspiring as ever! Vassos Chrysostomou.

Would be great to share it in The Ecosystem Incubator, as we are bridging a lot there – and good to give to clients too. Rachel Sheila Kan

Downloaded and have to agree it is a great read. A thought provoking read too. Michael McGowan

Share


If all this sounds good you can access your copy of The Regenerative Playbook here. (And no, you won’t be bombarded with emails if you complete the contact form)

If you’d like a hard copy, or to order multiple copies for company libraries and reception areas, please get in touch and we can quote you – and we are only looking to cover printing, postage and admin costs.

Regenerative Playbook

We are thrilled to share news of the launch of our Regenerative Playbook on the 1st of March. The Playbook is aimed at those not yet initiated into the ways of regenerative thinking. It is designed as a first step in introducing regenerative thinking, bringing sustainability and environmental approaches alive with questions and challenges to shift thinking. In a good way.

With all its tactile richness across 28 pages, The Regenerative Playbook will be a mighty regenerative conversation starter in any organisation looking to do sustainability differently.

The Regenerative Playbook is brought to you by Martin Brown FRSA Fairsnape, Anna Williamson FRSA, Limewood Group and Joanna Watchman FRSA, Content Comms.

Further, we are honoured and delighted that the playbook includes a foreword from Josie Warden Head of Regenerative Design at the RSA which is doing so much good (and positive) work in this space.

We will launch the playbook at a Zoom Regenerative World Book Day special on Tuesday 1st March where you will find out how to read and get your copy. And, if you are interested in obtaining a copy please do let us know now in advance so that we can determine our first print run. 

Why not buy two copies and give one away as an act of reciprocity.

If you have seen the beautiful Anti-Greenwash Playbook that Content Commslaunched at COP26 then you will be aware of the ability that these small books have to open conversations. 

As our launch coincides with World Book Day – so please do check out the fantastic live reading events being held to encourage young readers

More information: Regen/ Notes 32 – read, like and subscribe

Regen/ Notes … Regenerative Newsletter.

Snowdrops – Loud Bells to Welcome in the Year

The Regen/ Notes newsletter continues to be published on a fortnightly basis through Substack.

You can read and subscribe to the current and all previous newsletters here

The latest edition (01 Feb 20) explores … Connectivity with nature and natural cycles. Walking, Carbon and Regenerative Futures.

Working Towards a New Sustainability

Sharing this FutuREstorative review from the Urban Design Group

This book aims to provoke a new way of thinking among those involved in design and development. FutuREstorative is about our relationship with nature and how this translates into our understanding and ‘sustainable design’.

Brown has brought together thinkers and practitioners linked to the Living Building Challenge, and they advocate not just sustainable development or limiting our environmental impact, but a restorative approach, working with nature and making a positive contribution. It is a well argued, hard-hitting and ambitious philosophy.

The book is accessible and thought-provoking, avoiding the trap of previous ‘deep green’ texts, and whilst some points are repeated, their importance warrants this. Each section is well balanced between prose, diagrams, case studies and quotes.

One of the most useful sections sets out the principles of the restorative approach alongside checklists of existing standards such as BREAM and the Well Standard. It is here that the value of its holistic approach to designers becomes clear. It offers principles which value place-making and beauty alongside environmental aspects, making the links crystal clear. If its themes, and the thinking behind them, were adopted by planners and designers, it could mark an important shift in how sustainability informs planning and design.

Whilst this book will not give you all the answers, it will change how you think about the problem. In putting forward the restorative approach, Martin Brown draws together all the buzz words and current strands of thinking into a robust framework, from the future of zero-carbon, Passivhaus, well-being and the circular economy, right through to building information modelling or BIM, social media and the fourth industrial revolution. In doing so, he has created a onestop- shop for ambitious policy makers.

Brown and his contributors’ aim is to ‘inform and change the conversation, reframe the debate, and advocate for a radical change in direction for built environment sustainability’.

This book marks an important milestone in doing that.

Photo by Erik Karits on Unsplash

Working Towards a New Sustainability continues

Much has changed since the idea for FutureRestorative was conceived back in 2015. What have we achieved in 6 years? We have new regenerative agendas, we are leaving a pandemic portal, we had Code Red for Humanity reports and we prepare for COP26. FutuREstorative pointed out we have the technology and tools, yet we are missing and desperately need the ‘regenerative self’

The self that can make informed and conscious decisions. Decisions not only at a project level but for human and non-human communities through time. Decisions where reciprocity actions do not expect a personal or immediate return but heals the future for generations way down the line. A regenerative self recognises all is connected and nested, understands carbon ecology, how nature works and the interplay and importance of biodiversity. Interbeing.

Watch out for a follow up to FutuREstorative … FutuREgenerative Self maybe

Regen Notes

Welcome to the Fairsnape blog and webpages.
You will find information and background to myself Martin Brown and Fairsnape here.

Regen Notes is a Fairsnape fortnightly newsletter of regenerative news, stories and more, with a sideways focus on the built environment.

“Everything we need to avoid the exponential impacts of climate change is doable. But it depends on solutions moving exponentially faster than impacts.” ⁠

Christina Figueres

Regen Notes is a companion to Zoom Regenerative, where we join regenerative dots, share themes and work that invigorates, inspires and feeds our curiosity.

Regen Notes 16, the latest newsletter off the press covers Pollinator Loss, Consulting, Biodiversity Net Gain, Carbon Peak, Peatbog Super Heroes, Mushrooms, Zoom Regenerative, Locus, LFE Masterclass, Folk on Foot, Spell Songs.

Somehow, whilst we had all been busy, while had been doing all the small things that add up to life … the future had slipped into the present. 

Jessie Greengrass, The High House

Although published fortnightly, there are important Regen Notes specials – such as exploring the recently published IPCC Report

To Fairsnape blog followers and subscribers: Firstly thank you for your support. Posts here, on the fairsnape blog, will continue. However the newsletter format of substack gives a longform, newsletter based approach, joining the dots of regenerative thinking and practice with the built environment.

I do hope you enjoy and find useful in your work.

Check Regen Notes out and please consider subscribing

We all live on planet earth, locally.

Martin Brown

A Regenerative Body Of Knowledge for the Built Environment

Welcome to the Fairsnape blog and webpages.
You will find information and background to myself Martin Brown and Fairsnape here.

“We are on the cusp of something regeneratively wonderful

regenerative or something irreversibly disastrous”

Along with the increased use of the term ‘regenerative’ we have a changing narrative. And this is important, as it is narratives that define us and contribute, in turn, to how we define and shape our future. The future is not something that just happens to us, but it is something that we create. As Arundhati Roy noted in April 2020, we need ‘to imagine the future we want and be prepared to fight for it’. Yet, unless we urgently address the level of ecological and climate literacy, and levels of climate awareness within all areas of education, we will not have the narratives, insights and knowledge to imagine our future, to recognize goodness and what it looks like and to be able to fight for it.

Martin Brown RESTORD 2030

Over the past four years, the RESTORE Cost Action has created an important and significant Regenerative Body of Knowledge, (rBOK), for the built environment, A collection that includes many thought-leading publications, videos, presentations and more, covering the built environment spectrum from changing mindsets and system thinking, to design, construction, operations and internal environments.

Free downloads are listed at end of this post and watch out for forthcoming of workshops, courses and other dissemination events based on the wide scope of the rBOK Regenerative Body of Knowledge.

KEY rBOK PUBLICATONS

RESTORD a regenerative guide for educators, students and practitioners. Editors Martin Brown and Carlo Battisti

RESTORY. FAD_Restory The main results and insight into the project management strategies for RESTORE. Editors Carlo Battisti and Martin Brown

RESTORE Final Book: Rethinking Sustainability Towards a Regenerative Economy 22 Chapters, 45 Authors, 22 Countries, Free open access ebook Editors: Andreucci, M.B., Marvuglia, A., Baltov, M., Hansen, P.

SUSTAINABILITY, RESTORATIVE TO REGENERATIVE  An exploration in progressing a paradigm shift in built environment thinking, from sustainability to restorative sustainability and on to regenerative sustainability. Editors Martin Brown and Edeltraud Haselsteiner

REGENERATIVE DESIGN IN DIGITAL PRACTICE A Handbook for the Built Environment. Editors: Emanuele Naboni and Lisanne Havinga 

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. Editors: Giulia Peretti, Carsten K. Druhmann.

REGENERATIVE TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE INDOOR ENVIRONMENT Inspirational guidelines for practitioners. Editors: Roberto Lollini, Wilmer Pasut 

SCALE JUMPING Regenerative Systems Thinking within the Built Environment Editors: András Reith, Jelena Brajković.

DOWNLOADS

Other publications, papers and videos are available through the RESTORE webpages

RESTORD 2030 A Regenerative Guide

RESTORD 2030 A Regenerative Guide for Educators, Students and Practitioners.

A primer for the (re)imagination of a city ten years into the future. The City of RESTORD.

We are on the cusp of something regeneratively wonderful or something irreversibly disastrous. Use of the word ‘regenerative’ has seen a welcome resurgence, applied to everything, from farming to leadership, fashion, culture, economics and the built environment.

Its current use reflects the urgency we now face as climate change and ecological breakdown become increasingly palpable. It represents a desire and a focused switch in mindset, away from the mechanistic, away from being only less bad, the common and dominant discourse, to one that is living and sees ourselves and the built environment as interactive parts of the beautiful and complex ecosystem web.

RESTORE: {verb} to bring back to a state of health, soundness, and vigour.

RESTORD: {noun} a city that is socially just, ecologically robust and culturally rich.

RESTORD2030, a guide for educators, students and practitioners, will be of interest to teachers in primary and secondary education, to lecturers and teachers in university education and those delivering sustainability courses, and workshops, including continuous professional development for (planning, design, construction, facilities management) practitioners. It is available for free download below.

RESTORD 2030 aims to inspire users to create new and enhance existing sustainability modules with a regenerative climate and ecological focus.

It is pinned on the need for us to understand what good looks like and to imagine a regenerative future, and then to identify the steps that will move us towards that goal.

It is not that regenerative thinking is new. It has been at the core of ecological thinking for decades, traced back to acclaimed and influential writers on nature and ecology such as Aldo Leopold, Rachel Carson and many others. Importantly, it has likewise been the foundation of many indigenous cultures since time immemorial.

Along with the increased use of the term ‘regenerative’ we have a changing narrative. And this is important, as it is narratives that define us and contribute, in turn, to how we define and shape our future. The future is not something that just happens to us, but it is something that we create. As Arundhati Roy noted in April 2020, we need ‘to imagine the future we want and be prepared to fight for it’.

Yet, unless we urgently address the level of ecological and climate literacy, and levels of climate awareness within all areas of education, we will not have the narratives, insights and knowledge to imagine our future, to recognize goodness and what it looks like and to be able to fight for it.

“to all who work in the built environment – the explicit purpose of your work must be to craft and cultivate the fertile conditions for life to thrive.”

Michelle Holliday preface to RESTORD2030 ‘‘Love Letter to Those Who Shape our World’.
Amanda Gorman The Hill We Climb. Image Unsplash/Yannick Pulver

Part One contains a selection of new thoughtful articles on education and awareness interventions based on, and enhancing the work from RESTORE publications, relating to the need for a new mindset and a nar-rative for a regenerative future.

Part Two provides insights into what modules are available through RESTORE members and the wider regenerative fraternity.

Part Three provides a reference portal into the myriad publications, presentations, articles, papers, videos and more from the four years of the RESTORE action.

Part Four provides a listing with details of the authors and contributors who can be contacted to facilitate elements of regenerative focused education and to give relevant advice on those themes.

The most important aspect of regenerative business today is to inspire future generations, future projects and future ideas to reach higher, to be bolder and to be far, far, more disruptive. 

Martin Brown. Author
Image Unsplash/Paweł Czerwiński

EDITORS
Martin Brown, Carlo Battisti.

CONTRIBUTORS
Ann Vanner, Alison Watson, Blerta Vula, Giulia Sonetti, Ivan Šulc,
Jelena Brajković, Zvi Weinstein
, with Michelle Holliday (Guest Preface) Anna Williamson (TM and Vastu Architecture). Scott McAulay (Climate Literacy) Francesco Gonella (Systems Thinking) and Lydia Singh (RegenVast)


Zoom Regenerative Tutorials

What is Possible?

The Zoom Regenerative Pollinator series Pollinator Series – a series of three one hour sessions, commences on May 4th with Regenerative Minds.

We invite you to participate in three collaborative modules, hosted online by Martin Brown and the ZR team with guest contributors. The three modules will provide an immersion into regenerative topics, trends and thinking – to refresh existing knowledge and skills and/or begin to understand regenerative principles from the ground up and to view them holistically.

Registration and more details here 

Regenerative Minds. 4th May A deeper understanding of what regenerative is and means within our built environment context. Perhaps all too often we use the Einstein quote that “we cannot solve problems with the same mindset that created them”. Yet we may not fully appreciate the mindset now needed to move forward with the regenerative, do more good, not just reduce impact, approach. This session will explore, using design and living systems thinking, how we can acknowledge that we inhabit a biosphere that is interconnected and interdependent.

Reciprocity. 6th May An understanding of a reciprocity based connectivity with nature and each other, through, and beyond biophilia. This module examines and goes beyond biophilia (love of life) to explore an understanding of what reciprocity can mean for us in the built environment. There are no transactional relationships in nature where living systems are based on reciprocity.

Regenerative Practice.11 May Exploration of project management approaches for regenerative projects. Moving from ‘systems thinking to ‘living systems thinking’ to provide a new form of symbiotic collaboration. Where we have power with, not over. Like the roots of a tree, or a complex web of mycelium, our collaborative strength is dependant on the strength of others, and vice-versa.

Registration and more details here 

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 …