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Regenerative - the new sustainable


From Gibbons, L.V. 2020.Regenerative – the new sustainable? Sustainability 12, 5483. doi:10.3390/su12135483


Over time, sustainability paradigms have evolved from meeting human needs throughout time to improving human wellbeing and the viability of ecological systems. Regenerative sustainability (RS), the next wave of sustainability, includes and transcends these goals, aiming for thriving living systems in which whole-system health and wellbeing increase continually. A key difference between sustainability paradigms is the thinking underlying them, with regenerative sustainability based on a holistic worldview and paradigm, integrating recent understandings from science and practice, different ways of knowing, and inner and outer dimensions of sustainability necessary for systemic transformation. RS, practiced through regenerative development and design for over 50 years, aligns human consciousness and actions with living systems principles. When this alignment occurs, sustainable development goals are elevated to become regenerative development goals, with living systems principles and characteristics guiding the development of regenerative indicators and strategies made specific to a place through transformational co-creative processes. We should aim for regenerative sustainability because it offers holistic approaches based on how thriving living systems function, addresses the root causes of (un)sustainability, and is inherently more inspiring and motivational. Advancing regenerative sustainability will require fundamental shifts supported by more awareness and education, theoretical and practical development, leadership, empowering communities, and integrating spirituality.


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