March 28, 2017
By: Blair Wojcik
The reality is that our current economic model is almost entirely degenerative, with little regard for the environment and ecosystems around us. Unfortunately, we’ve been operating in this destructive paradigm for quite a long time. We extract the earth’s resources for financial gain with no concern for how they (or if they ever) regenerate for future generations. Oil, quarries, forests, soil, jungles, springs, rivers – we’ve degenerated most of our natural resources in this way.
Fossil fuels are currently powering the majority of our world as its energy source, while simultaneously creating an exorbitant amount of greenhouse gas emissions. Deforestation, factory farming and synthetic fertilizers also contribute to our declining environment, all for the sake of profit. This has truly created a global soil and climate epidemic. But is there a better way?
Imagine that we design agricultural, transportation and cultural systems that produce more and more abundance over time. This is the opposite of degeneration, and it leads to greater life. Imagine more efficient businesses, buildings, vehicles and equipment. Communities adopting renewable energy sources and practicing agriculture that is in alignment with nature’s principles.
Sustainability was born as a response to the horrors of the degenerative paradigm. The design is to create more conscious and sustainable methods for utilizing our resources. So, if we cut a tree, we plant a tree. If we extract a mineral, we see how we might recycle that mineral after it’s use (such as using a glass bottle and recycling or reusing it in some way, and avoiding plastic.) The problem, however, is that sustainability does not fully address the fact that we are trying to sustain an already degraded system and planet. If we want to have a vibrant future for generations to come, sustainability alone isn’t going to cut it.
Regenerative business incorporates the entire environment as an integral part of it’s economic model. This model infuses an ecological thinking into its approach and strives to replenish what has been taken from overconsumption. There are actually seven other forms of capital outside of financial capital that we are constantly overlooking, two of which are Living capital (like soil, water, animals and plants), and Social capital (our personal connections and communities). With the current mono-capital trajectory, we deplete resources from our seven other capital pools and create unsustainable systems for future generations.
Regenerative businesses is a way to implement reciprocity, and contribute to the health of our world in equal or greater proportion than how we take from it. Just as each component of an ecosystem symbiotically helps form a thriving habitat, all parts of a business can work together to build an abundant entity, community and planet. Shifting our focus to more holistic models, where we cultivate relationships with communities and landscapes, we can begin to rebuild and regenerate the system (literally) from the ground up. The ultimate benefit, then, is an enterprise that thrives long into the future.
To explore more about this topic, begin to observe the businesses you currently support. Have you researched their practices? Do they utilize a regenerative or degenerative model? How can you shift your attention and support to companies and artisans who are more in alignment with your personal values? Also, read Regenerative Enterprise by Ethan Roland & Gregory Landua. This text is incredible for all insights and information on a new paradigm for business building. Purchase or download it HERE. Living a regenerative lifestyle begins with us and the choices we make, each day.