Regenerative communities

A path for a thriving present and future. 

“We cannot doubt that we have been given the intellectual vision, the spiritual insight, and even the physical resources we need for carrying out the transition that is demanded of these times, a transition from the period when humans were a disruptive force on the planet Earth to the period when humans become Present to Earth in a manner that is mutually enhancing.”- Thomas Berry

What is “regenerative?”

Put simply, regenerative means consciously aligning ourselves with the principles of nature and Source to bring forth ever more life, energy, and vitality. It is a rediscovery and remembrance of ways of living, thinking, and being that manifest increasingly more abundance and prosperity for all life on this planet—the perpetuation of wellbeing for all life. 

 

The Regenerative Community Development Framework© (see below) developed by our founder and director, Dr. Leah Gibbons, clearly details the principles and characteristics of regenerative living systems, as well as strategies and assessment criteria that can help us act regeneratively. The word “regenerative” is gaining popularity, but if an initiative or project does not align with regenerative development principles and characteristics, it is not truly regenerative. Dr. Gibbons created the RCD Framework© after decades of research and experience in sustainability, community development, design, planning, holistic health and wellness, ecology, psychology, coaching, anthropology, spirituality, quantum and unified field physics, energy medicine, and more. She has integrated and synthesized knowledge in a usable, effective, and transformational way that no one else has.

 

RCD is a holistic approach to transformation in living systems. It works with the principles and sub-principles of life to manifest highest potentials for all life to thrive. It addresses the inner and the outer dimensions of existence necessary for humans to live in conscious alignment with these principles. This is in contrast to sustainable development, which actually propagates degenerative, destructive systems that currently exist.

 

Keep reading to find out what regenerative principles and characteristics are.

Why Regenerative and not sustainable?

Living regeneratively is an ethical imperative as much as it is a practical one. Since the Industrial Revolution, humans have caused unparalleled damage to Earth and her life systems: biodiversity loss (a human-caused mass extinction), habitat fragmentation and destruction, species extinctions, pollution, decreased human health, loss of sense of community, loss of food and water security, excessive and toxic resource consumption, decreased access to healthful foods, climate change, and degradation or unsustainable use of the majority of Earth’s life-giving resources, processes, and functions. We have created conditions in which Earth is at or beyond tipping points of life-supporting processes. It is questionable how much longer Earth can support human and other life, and the speed at which we approach this unthinkable outcome is only increasing. We must change our ways NOW.

 

We have a choice. How do we want to live? How do we want to shape Earth for ourselves, our children, our grandchildren and great grandchildren?

 

We are at a point in the human journey on Earth in which we need to consciously align ourselves with life’s principles. Aiming for sustainability means doing less bad, less harm, mitigating damage, being more efficient. Sustainability propagates the systems that are destroying Earth, her life support systems, and the majority of life on Earth as well as inequity and injustice, only at a slower pace. Sustainability is just not good enough. We need to repair the damage done and work with nature to put into place mechanisms that enable Earth and her inhabitants to heal, bring forth new life, wellbeing, and abundance, and step into true equity and justice. We need to regenerate.

 

We are powerful agents of huge change on this planet. What do we want that change to be? We can do nothing different and default to the current destructive, degenerative ways, creating an Earth that is inhospitable to human life and able to support only a fraction of all other life. Or we can work with life’s principles, nurture Mother Earth as she nurtures us, nurture other people, and be agents of regeneration to bring forth thrivability for all life.

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Why focus on thinking in addition to behaviors?

Yes, our behaviors are destroying Earth and ourselves. Behaviors arise from thinking. And our thinking is a manifestation of deeply held beliefs, worldviews, and consciousness. These inner dimensions of existence, those we cannot “see,” support the outer dimensions of existence that we can “see”—e.g., the built environment, economic systems, governance systems, etc. To change anything in the outer realm, we must change the inner realm.

 

That is why, at its core, regenerative approaches work to develop a consciousness that understands that everything is connected, all is one, and what one does to the “other” one does to the “self.” This is more than a philosophical position. Many scientific fields—quantum physics, ecology, systems theory, psychology—are discovering the truth of the interbeing of all things.

 

Nature, non-human life, is aware and conscious. For example, scientists recognize that many non-human animals are conscious in the same way humans are, possessing the abilities to reason, strategize, learn, teach, remember, and feel emotions. Plants can see, smell, feel, mount a defense, warn their neighbors of danger, and even remember. Plants even “sing,” emitting ultrasonic vibrations in response to external stimuli, even human presence, touch, and communication. Trees, plants, fungi, and forest ecosystems sense impending change and communicate with one another, collaborating in a dance of life that supports the life of the whole system. And according to unified field physics and ancient spiritual traditions, even abiotic, or “not alive,” components of nature have awareness, consciousness, or spirit.

 

With a renewed understanding that all life, and all matter, is conscious, humans have a clear ethical imperative to act responsibly, in ways that support all life and spirit. The old adage, “Do unto others as you would have others do unto you” takes on an entirely new meaning in the nondual reality where there is no “self” or “other,” no “I” or “you,” only “we’ and “us” existing as one extended self.

 

While sustainability and sustainable development largely ignore the inner realm of consciousness, thinking, and beliefs as well as the ethical implications of interbeing, Regenerative Community Development (RCD) addresses both the inner and the outer realms of existence. RCD provides a framework to explore this truth of interbeing more deeply, develop our interbeing consciousness (also called transpersonal consciousness, unity consciousness, and spirituality), and translate that consciousness into behaviors. RCD develops humans’ awareness, experience, and embodiment of interbeing and provides a way to live that interbeing in our everyday lives.

What are Regenerative Communities?

All life exists in communities of human + more-than-human life. The relationships and flows of energy, materials, matter, and information amongst the living and non-living components of living systems co-create them. Nothing exists or can exist outside of these relationships. In communities, these relationships and flows are strong, their effects manifested relatively quickly. When we approach change within and beyond communities consciously and intentionally, transformational change can spread to other communities and larger scales of organization—e.g., cities, regions, the world—relatively quickly. We can catalyze regional and global transformation toward thrivability this way. Therefore, focusing our attention and actions at the community scale can be maximally impactful while also being deeply meaningful for our human experience.

 

In Regenerative Communities, humans understand that we are partners with the rest of life, in a co-creative dance. We act as conscious catalysts for all life to thrive. We understand the places we inhabit deeply and align ourselves with Nature’s and Source’s life-giving principles. We understand our community’s unique character and purpose in the larger communities we are part of, and act in ways that increase thrivability in those larger communities. 

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What do Regenerative Communities look like?

In Regenerative Communities, people live in ways that nurture more life. This includes many diverse strategies, within the guiding regenerative principles and characteristics, that are specific to each place and to the inhabitants that co-create the community. There are several key aspects, or flows, to consider in regenerative communities. These include:

  • Food

  • Water

  • Energy

  • Soil

  • Nutrients

  • Organisms

  • Finances

  • Infrastructure

  • Information

  • Worldviews/Consciousness

 

We seek ways that these aspects can flow together to mutually support more life expression. Some examples of how this might be done include:

  • Homes and other structures built out of local, renewable materials such as earth, hay, and timber.

  • Structures built by local inhabitants who develop skills in natural building, systems thinking, pattern language, compassionate communication, ecological knowledge, rituals to connect to the land and each other, and more. The community might support them in bringing these skills back to their own communities to help transform them.

  • Onsite rainwater capture, use, and reuse. When the water reaches the end of its use for humans, it is used to water food crops, or go back to nature to nurture other organisms and re-enter the water cycle.

  • Onsite farming using methods such as regenerative agriculture, Permaculture, and agroecology. Food production increases biodiversity, water quality, soil health, air quality, and human health and wellbeing. All community members are involved in food production, preparation, and consumption. Everyone knows how to grow food in a way that nourishes not just humans but the rest of life, as well.

  • Food production, harvesting, consumption is celebrated with rituals and ceremonies that deeply connect people to place, one another, Spirit. 

  • Energy capture from the sun and other primary sources. Structures built such that very little energy use is needed. Community members’ behaviors are also energy conserving.

  • Ecological restoration is actively and continuously underway.

  • Earth-based rituals and ceremonies are ongoing.

  • There is no waste—everything is nutrition for some form of life, some life-giving flow—so everything is designed to cycle and nurture life

  • A community economy that cycles financial flow through community members. Cottage industries that spread regenerative practices throughout the region.

  • Governance that is deeply participatory and in which everyone is involved. Everyone has power.

  • Community members are actively working on their own personal growth as well as community growth—the inner aspects of regenerative development. They support one another in developing interbeing consciousness.

  • Compassionate communication is the norm.

  • Life is everywhere—from human-dominated gardens, farms, landscapes to wild forests, fields, and streams.

 

Again, the specifics of each community will be different and will be co-created within the RCD Framework’s guiding principles and characteristics.

How does Regenerative Living Institute catalyze regenerative transformation?

ReLI utilizes the first and only framework in existence—the Regenerative Community Development (RCD) Framework—to guide communities across scales in moving toward regeneration and facilitating regenerative processes. Our collaborator, Koru Collaborative (www.korucollaborative.com) provides the professional expertise and trades necessary to manifest regenerative communities (e.g., design-build, general contractors, engineers, architects, ecologists, living systems experts, holistic health and life coaches, social and spiritual activism experts, and more). ReLI offers consulting, education, and research to support this aim. Our founder, Dr. Leah Gibbons, created the RCD Framework after decades of research and experience in sustainability, community development, design, planning, holistic health and wellness, ecology, psychology, coaching, anthropology, spirituality, quantum and unified field physics, energy medicine, and more. She has integrated and synthesized knowledge in a usable, effective, and transformational way that no one else has.

 

RCD is a holistic approach to transformation in living systems. It works with the principles and sub-principles of life to manifest highest potentials for all life to thrive. It addresses the inner and the outer dimensions of existence necessary for humans to live in conscious alignment with these principles. This is in contrast to sustainable development, which actually propagates degenerative, destructive systems that currently exist.

 

ReLI and Koru use the concepts synergized in the RCD Framework to support and empower individuals, communities, cities, regions, and beyond to transform to thrivability. We do this through educational programs such as workshops, certifications, immersion experiences, and degree programs; consulting in all aspects of regenerative development, design, and living; implementation/manifestation of regenerative community development, and research. We co-create networks of regenerative living-learning laboratories that act as hubs for regional and global transformation to regeneration and thrivability. We work with collaborators for maximum transformational leverage.

What are Ecospiritual Communities?

Ecospiritual communities are a specific manifestation of regenerative communities. In ecospiritual communities, the human inhabitants are actively developing themselves and one another spiritually. We define spirituality as the awareness and experience of belonging to the larger, interconnected community of life, the purpose and meaning of life within this context, and the development of personal and community values and actions that arise from this awareness and experience. Ecospiritual communities may take many forms and include many beliefs and practices, but they all share this core focus on and organizing aspect of spirituality as an experienced, embodied, relational foundation for living.

 

Regenerative development recognizes that spirituality is a necessary and usually missing element of sustainability and sustainable development initiatives. Human consciousness, worldviews, beliefs, and values—the “inner” aspects of human existence—are fundamentally what manifests all of the “outer” aspects of human existence: what we build, what food we eat, how we secure food, what we consider a “resource,” how we harness and use energy, how we use water, how we treat Earth, how we treat each other. . . . . the list goes on and on. If we are ever to live in a way that nurtures all life, we must shift our consciousness. We must come into Right Relationship with all of life. We must live a spiritual life in which we recognize that all is one, and what we do to the “other” we do to ourselves. When this truth is known deeply, individuals and societies are then ready to act and live in regenerative ways.

 

Even in regenerative communities that do not identify as Ecospiritual, mutually beneficial, reciprocal relationships between all life are nurtured within a consciousness of interbeing. However, some people are not comfortable with or ready to explore deeper realms of spirituality, or to use spiritual terminology. This is the distinction between explicitly Ecospiritual Communities and Regenerative Communities. Ecospiritual Communities are diving deep into the spiritual realms of existence and what they mean for life on Earth here and now, as well as in the future.

 

Often, people on a spiritual path find it difficult to live in a society that is not in alignment with their beliefs and values. By the very nature of their spirituality, they wish to live in a community of human + more-than-human beings that embodies and supports their spiritual expression and growth. Regenerative Ecospiritual Communities do just that.

What do Ecospiritual Communities look like?

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Each Ecospiritual Community has its own unique set of beliefs, practices, and forms. Generally, while Ecospiritual Communities look much like Regenerative Communities, they likely include daily, weekly, monthly, and seasonal individual and group practices such as meditation, yoga, spiritual rituals and ceremonies, shamanism, earth-based medicines and spiritual sacraments, energy-based practices, sacred geometry, etc. Spirituality also forms the lens through which these communities view the world and their place within it, shaping everything they do. It is the context for daily life.

How can I get involved?

Contact us! Reach out by email or phone if you feel moved to co-crate regenerative initiatives right now, collaborate, know more, or support our work.

 

We are in the process of co-creating several regenerative communities, and we are preparing to launch a suite of new educational offerings in Spring 2022. Support is always offered through both ReLI and Koru Collaborative with consultations in which we can facilitate and manifest regenerative processes in your community, project, city, or region. ReLI offers trainings, certifications, and soon a Master’s degree to teach others to use this framework. Currently planned programs for Spring 2022 include Regenerative Community Development and Design, Regenerative Agriculture (including Permaculture), Regenerative Food Systems, and Regenerative Leadership. Courses in Natural Building, Deep Connection to Self and Other, and Spiritual Activism, as well as many others, are coming soon.

 

We are also developing active, engaged, and service-oriented research programs with communities, scientists, practitioners, other non-profit organizations, and municipalities.

 

We are looking for collaborators, students, donors, benefactors, investors, and clients.

 

It is time to step into the abundance, prosperity, and wellbeing that is possible. We can choose to live regeneratively. We know how. We know why. And we know we have a very short window of time in which to do so to avoid a future that is unimaginably bleak.

 

We need people who understand the trajectory we are on currently and possess the will to learn and make transformational changes to lead the way. We need Regenerative Change Agents and Regenerative Leaders. It will take courage to break free from societal molds and expectations, degenerative programing, and the confines of limited perceptions. It will take grounding in ecological and spiritual truths, mutual support from others on a regenerative path, and a healthy curiosity and openness to learn continuously from Nature, Source, and each other.

Join Koru Collaborative and Regenerative Living Institute as we support Regenerative Change, Regenerative Change Agents, and Regenerative Leaders!

 

                                       to learn more about RDC framework

 

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