Tag Archives: regenerative

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

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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


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.

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 

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.

Construction: the next normal

As construction along with other sectors emerges from varying degrees of Corona lockdown we have an opportunity, a rare opportunity and the only one we may have in our life times to shape the next normal. Across the globe, the lockdown has provided many with benefits and appreciation of wellbeing, of deeper connections within family, friends, communities and of nature. Indeed nature, with clear skies, louder bird song and cleaner air has given us a preview of what our world, and our lives could be like. Lucy Jones writing in the Guardian sums this up in “Noticing nature is the greatest gift you can get from lockdown”

What then, for construction and the built environment. I was asked just this week to comment on a number of bullet points that have underpinned many construction training modules. It struck me they represented the old normal, the pre-covid normal, and one that we cannot, do not want to, return to, but one that we have to work, collaboratively to embed as the next business as usual. Whilst areas of the built environment have made impressive and huge advances on professionalism, business responsibility, sustainability, wellbeing and quality, there is much much more to be done.

Here then are my thoughts for the next normal, influenced by gems from the recent Living Futures 20 online conference and the wonderful insights from my guests on the Zoom Regenerative (ZR) series (See Footer Note)

The Old Normal: Understanding Clients NEEDS not Wants – What will Add Value to their Business – going Beyond Construction Go beyond understanding – anticipating customer needs before they articulate them    *   Your Differentiator?  – Why YOU – They know You can Build. So what?

The Next Normal: Be equipped with your unique and comprehensive tool box that everyone in the business can use – A tool box of soft and hard tools that are regenerative, not just focused on reducing impact, one that that can be opened up and offered to clients as appropriate. Successful organisations are skilled and flexible in all leading approaches Educate everybody quickly. We can all be regenerators, and collaboratively enable & cultivate living places, buildings and systems that thrive.

The Old Normal: Price is King – How are your solutions delver Value for Money – Cost, Time and Carbon Reduction – Meet Construction 2025 Targets

The Next Normal: Price is no longer king, but a balance and blend of many success indicators. Construction 2025 targets have been eclipsed by other targets – from the SDG’s to Paris 1.5DegC to IPCC and RIBA 2030 Challenge to name a few. What does this new landscape mean to construction targets. We need to reimagine a new construction Value for Money

Coming out of lockdown 80% public in a poll what health and wellbeing priority over GDP, so what will this mean for buildings, offices, homes, staff, construction sites?
We need to learn how to count in carbon, to become carbon literate, and to know what the carbon numbers mean for the construction economy, business profits and project success.

The Old Normal: Sustainability – Social, Economic, Environmental and Well Being- Going Beyond Accreditations !!

The Next Normal: We can no longer certify business as usual, we need to recognise and certify positive impact, and …
– Commit to climate action and decarbonise everything;
– Stop using anything single use , anything fossil fuel based, any red list material:
– Ask the What if questions – What if as in nature we generated no waste, what would construction look like with no disposable plastic?  
– Invite life (nature) back to projects, construction sites, understanding seasonal and ecological cycles, become ecology literate

The Old Normal: No Surprises – Predictability of Performance during Construction and in Whole Life

The Next Normal: Change the language in contracts, in offices and projects  – talk of love, compassion, collaboration, thriving and stop using competitive war words, talking of winning, beating, competitors and yes buts. Build relationships beyond transactions and profit. Act with urgency, passion and joy 

The question we now need to ask is, what light, fresh baggage will we take with us into the next normal (regenerative, collaborative, relationships, empathy, healthy) & what heavy, stale, baggage will we leave behind (conflict, pollution, waste, modern slavery, toxic) 

There’s a Buddhist teaching that says “What you think, you become. What you feel, you attract. What you imagine, you create.” Let’s move out of an obsession with the construction world we don’t want and start a revolution bringing into being the world we do want.

Zoom Regenerative (ZR)

ZR is a weekly zoom event celebrating regenerative buzz, thinking and activity from around the globe.

“Like a tree in a forest we will know that we are not alone, but part of a web, a network of life, healing, helping, nurturing each other, as it should always have been…” Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

ZR is emerging into a wonderfully engaged and growing community that covers regenerative themes from Cycling to Energy, from Regenerative Business to Landscaping, from Carbon to Biophilia, from Construction to Rewilding, from Art to Economics, from BIM to Social Thriving and beyond… 

[UPDATE] Please please do read this wonderful post from Michelle Holliday, a recent ZR guest

Each weekly show is promoted through linkedin and twitter, (#ZoomRegen) but if you would to be placed on a mailing list please do contact me

Carbon is not the enemy …

From my series of Specifi blog posts that pick up on discussions following my presentations there … 

At the Cardiff Design event, slides and comments on rethinking and reimagining carbon carbon prompted much conversation over the networking drinks. 

If we are to address climate change, avoid climate breakdown, cap global temperature increase to 1.5 and to face up to the IPCC 2018 Report warnings, then only reducing carbon from buildings and construction will not be enough, we need to think different think bigger, think regenerative.

Reimagining Carbon in the Built Environment

And, so, if we are to make sustainability really attractive we have to balance the challenge of reversing global warming and, simultaneously, deliver economic prosperity for our sector and those that use our buildings

We have the tools, thinking and approaches to create buildings that are regenerative, to function as trees, to function as energy generators, and as carbon sequesters. Buildings that are part of the solution not the problem.

Imagine our buildings self-generating heating and cooling, or create it using power from renewable sources that are connected to a smart grid to optimise energy use.

Our buildings themselves are constructed from materials that take carbon dioxide from the air and lock it up for decades, even centuries, (250 years in the case of the Bullitt Center that features in my presentations).

Within this new built environment are living, biodiverse ecosystems, used for food production, recreation, water filtration, temperature control, and importantly our health, which draw carbon from the atmosphere down into the soil, and living eco systems.

Reimagining our sectors Carbon Footprint

Following the specify Cardiff event, I flew out to Vilnius in Lithuania to present a keynote at the Lithuanian Green Build Council Conference. It is extremely encouraging that the same conversations are taking place across Europe with built environment architects, contractors, engineers, facilities managers, product manufacturers and investors

We are starting to rethink sustainability, moving from just ‘sustaining’ to ‘thriving’ and embracing the new normal.

Reference Source: Carbon is Not the Enemy. 2016. Nature