At the beginning of the UN Decade for Ecosystems Restoration (2021–2030) and the dawn of the Century of Regeneration, maybe it is time to set ourselves a new North Star.
The current situation of so many of us in #lockdown as a viral pandemic is making it clear to many that there is no going back to the deeply dysfunctional “Normal” we left behind on March, 11th 2020. Many politicians, corporate leaders and billions who were trapped in the dehumanising hamster wheels of a dysfunctional economic system are now given time to reflect on what Joseph Campbell meant in suggesting: “There is perhaps nothing worse than reaching the top of the ladder and discovering that you’re on the wrong wall.”
Maybe we need a manifesto setting out what the ReGeneration — the generations called to regenerate the Earth and her people — is aiming to achieve by the end of this Century? We need a lighthouse to sail past and improve on as we leave the Anthropocene epoch and enter into Ecozoic era.
In time for the 50th anniversary of Earth Day (on April, 22nd, 2020), here is a first draft for a ‘Manifesto of the ReGeneration’. It is just that: a draft. I am actively inviting suggestions for improvements in the comments below, or simply add your name in support and share the link.
The Manifesto of the ReGeneration (Version 0.0)
We the undersigned — as conscious members of the human family and the wider community of life — commit to unite — in celebration of our diversity as a reservoir for evolutionary creativity — to co-create a future of diverse regenerative cultures cooperatively engaged in the healing of the Earth. In that process and on that ‘common ground’, we hope to engage in healing ourselves and much of the trauma that has divided humanity.
Such regenerative cultures will be elegant expressions of the bio-cultural uniquenees of the places they inhabit. We are capable of being a responsible keystone species humbly regenerating community, ecosystems and planetary health while building resilience, self-reliance and the capacity to transform at the bioregional scale.
We actively respond to the urgency to redesign the human impact on Earth from being predominantly destructive, exploitative and degenerative to being healing, restorative and regenerative. In all our diversity of life-style and beliefs we come together in glocal solidarity and the understanding that caring for the health and wellbeing of communities, ecosystems and the biosphere is in our enlightened self-interest.
In recognising the direct link between individual and population health and the health of soil, water, marine and terrestrial ecosystems and the biosphere, we commit to a salutogenic (health-generating) intention in the redesign of how we meet human needs within planetary limits while establishing solid socio-economic foundations for all — grounding regenerative “Doughnut Economies” in place and region, everywhere.
We recognise that global bio-productivity and the planetary life-support system are the primary source of all value creation. In service to current and future generations of humanity and life on Earth we set ourselves the following goals to be accomplished during the remaining decades of the 21st Century. This is ‘Cathedral Building Work’ which can only be started by the generations alive today, yet the future of life on Earth will be shaped by our successes and failures on this path.
Goals for Ecological Regeneration:
- to stabilise global climate patterns through significant reduction of ppm of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to below 300ppm (from the current levels of 414ppm) by the end of this century,
- to halt the haemorrhaging of planetary biodiversity and bring extinction levels down to ‘background level’ as opposed to the current rates that are more than 100 times as high, with a recent IPBES report (2019) suggesting that more than 1 million species are now facing extinction (see aslo video),
- to rapidly halt top-soil loss and reverse the process by actively increasing soil-carbon content through proven regenerative agriculture and agroforestry techniques, with the aim of significantly restoring soil fertility while addressing climate change through the biological and geological sequestration of carbon into the soil,
- to rapidly halt ocean-acidification and the collapse of marine ecosystems and restore ocean health glocally, through the regeneration of coral reefs, seagrass meadows, mangrove forests and salt-marshes around the world, along with the increase and improved reinforcement of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) to allow ocean health to recover and marine foodchains to regenerate,
- to rapidly halt continuing deforestation and steadily increase global forest cover by 350 million hectares of diverse forests by 2030 (accomplishing the Bonn Challenge) en route to regenerating 1500 million hectares by the end of the Century to restore the loss of the last 300 years and rebalance the global hydrological cycle, stop erosion and reverse global warming trends,
- to improve the health of rivers and freshwater ecosystems and create ‘living water cities’ around the world,
- to restore ecosystems health at landscape scale everywhere through a process of re-wilding in combination with a fundamental redesign of the food system and a shift to regenerative agriculture and agroforestry, valuing farmers not just as primary producers but also as guardians of ecosystems health,
- to fundamentally redesign our material culture in order to reduce the release of fossil fuel derived toxic substances and pollutants (including plastics) into terrestrial and marine ecosystems and the atmosphere,
… (what’s missing?)
Goals for Socio-Economic Regeneration
- to reduce the obscene levels of economic inequality which are a major contribution to ill health among the human population,
- to abolish the persistent discrimination of people on the basis of their gender, ethnicity, or sexual orientation,
- to re-regionalise production and consumption and initiate a cosmo-local transition to bioregionally regenerative economies with increased self-reliance and resilience in the face of disruptions,
- to fundamentally redesign our economic and monetary systems so they incentivise activities that create collaborative abundance rather than competitive scarcity through ecological and socio-economic regeneration,
- to fundamentally redesign our systems of governance in ways that enable active citizens participation through the implementation of subsidiarity, making national and international levels of governance subsidiary to and enabling of bioregional and local decision-making in glocal solidarity and responsibility,
- to fundamentally redesign education as a life-long learning process that builds the capacity of individuals and communities to co-create diverse regenerative cultures in co-evolving mutuality with all of humanity and the wider community of life,
- to enable glocal cooperation through peer-to-peer innovation and knowledge sharing by changing the laws on intellectual property rights,
- to transform the ‘Sustainable Development Goals’ of the United Nations into the ‘Regenerative Development Goals’ through local and bioregional implementation, a whole systems approach, and a reframing of SDG 8 to “Good Work and Qualitative Growth”,
- to establish a foundation of shared values and goals by endorsement of the Earth Charter as a common ground for all of humanity,
- to commit to a responsible use of technology that considers that not everything that is technologically feasible has to be implemented and evaluates the use of a given technology on the basis of its potential for regenerative impact on human communities and life as a whole — moving “from weaponry to livingry”,
- to once and for all abolish ecocide and genocide by acknowledging and enforcing the rights and wisdom of (more-than-human) nature and indigenous people everywhere as they offer vital contributions to achieving all of the above.
… (what’s missing?)
To be clear: I am not suggesting that this is a definitive list or that I have not omitted important points. I have simply made a start. May it serve! I look forward to your comments and contributions. Clearly a ‘Manifesto of the ReGeneration’ will have to be co-created by those of the generations alive today who are feeling called to contribute to the healing of the Earth and her people. ReGeneration Rising! Trimtabs Unite!
Daniel Christian Wahl — An author and an advisor to Systems Change Alliance, he is also constantly catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.
Photo by Shane Rounce
Click here to start the discussion of this article.