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The Definition of Regeneration

· Social Change

Everybody asks... what is the definition of regeneration? That is not such an easy question to answer:


Regeneration represents a movement of people and a body of scholarly work drawing on how living systems work. In Latin, Regeneration means “to create again.” It can be applied to different scales (individual to a city), industries (agriculture, real estate, circular economy), and most importantly about the economy and society health as a whole. It even includes legal, finance, and philosophical discussions on how we hold power, wealth, and control in the management of ourselves and of planetary resources. Many say that regeneration is a way of being and we can already trace it’s principles and frameworks back to indigenous, religious, and scientific wisdom.

Regeneration is becoming the new term or meme gaining popularity as a rally cry for something more and different than sustainability. The best example I can give on the difference was a story I heard about creating the most sustainable hotel in Mexico (LEED certified and all the bells and whistles). But as the regenerative practitioners came on to the project, they realized that the building plans were overlaid on top of a precious natural resource important to that ecological system - a natural estuary. Also, the narrative emerged about the historical culture and economic boom and bust in that same area. So instead of a copy and paste model hotel, they were able to integrate the past to create the future; building off of the place’s own unique features culturally, economically, ecologically to create something that could only have been done exactly where they were.

Regeneration simply defined...

The universal patterns and principles the cosmos uses to build stable, healthy, and sustainable systems throughout the real world can and must be used as a model for economic-system design. Regenerative Economics is the application of nature's laws and patterns of systemic health, self-organization, self-renewal, and regenerative vitality to socio-economic systems (”

“A living, evolving and naturally functioning organization where abundance and resilience are recurring outcomes of its underlying health (”

Yes we regenerative folks love to create fancy terminology that may be hard to make sense of.

Fundamental to any regenerative conversation is the use of frameworks to better understand the content and process you are involved in (and how regenerative it is). For example, the three lines of work. Also, regenerative practitioners typically focus on their own place (neighborhood, city, bioregion) as a central focus.

Here are some basic references that might help bring you up to speed. What else should I add?

Papers & Books:


Community & Discussions:

Regenerative Agriculture:

Regenerative Agriculture is poised to go mainstream; with Congressman Tim Ryan speaking about it on the Presidential Debate stage, a new Netflix documentary Kiss the Ground narrated by Woody Harrelson, companies like General Mills, Patagonia, and Dr. Bronners joining forces to create a new Regenerative Organic certification, and Allan Savory’s Holistic Management TED talk now reaching more than 7 million people.