December 4, 2012
New beginnings are such hopeful times, filled with the belief that somehow all those behaviors that defined the past have been transformed or, at minimum, will slink off into the shadows and leave space for the better self we promise to be. So, with all the requisite hopes, this post marks a new beginning for Edge::Regenerate. Our first run lasted 12 months, and we came away with a healthy respect for the discipline required to post fresh new thinking week after week.
Why the new beginning now? Edge::Regenerate is taking on new purpose with the new initiative we’ve just launched at Regenesis. We’re stepping into the distance-learning world–our first offering an invitational series titled The Regenerative PractitionerTM, with the ultimate aim of growing a regenerative learning community. We’ll be writing more about that soon. In the meantime, our original welcome seems still relevant so we’ve re-posted it below.
Welcome to Edge : : Regenerate. Who are we? More details can be found on the Authors page, but basically we are professionals from business, community and economic development, education, architecture, Permaculture, and land development. We share a passionate belief that learning how to regenerate living systems—all living systems, human and otherwise—is the core imperative for the 21st Century. This imperative threads through, and gives direction to, the collaborations and dialogue that nourish our work within and across our individual disciplines.
Edge is “the outer or farthest point of something”; it’s to “have an advantage,” but it’s also “the point or moment just before a marked change or event.” For Ilya Prigogine, it was the place from which whole-system change was sourced. In ecology, it’s the area where different ecosystems or communities meet. This is where the “edge effect” takes place—a much greater abundance, diversity and fecundity of life than in any of the flanking communities.
Edge : : Regenerate is a dialogue in that edge where human and natural living systems meet. Questions and ideas we’ll be exploring there include: regeneration—what it really means, what it looks like in communities, business, development, etc., and why it’s essential. Living systems—what kind of mind is required to understand how they work and to design ways to partner with them in co-evolution? The role of humans on the planet, and the role of Place in helping us live it out. And many more.
Edge : : Regenerate is also an invitation to join our growing band of regenerates in this dialogue, deepening understanding and designing more intelligent manifestations of that understanding.
December 9, 2009
More than half a century ago Aldo Leopold wrote of learning to think like a mountain. He claimed that this was essential to behaving ecologically. But how does a mountain think? Leopold provides one significant clue. He relates the story of seeing the dying “green fire” in the eyes of a wolf mother he shot. He tells us that a mountain must live in fear of its deer herd, for without predators the deer will eat her bare and the rains will strip her of soil.
Let’s follow Leopold’s trail and see where it takes us. His wolf story reminds me of another my friend tells about Yellowstone National Park: when wolves were reintroduced, they lowered the temperature of the water in many of the streams and rivers. How could this be? More
December 2, 2009
While we are hearing more and more about regenerative design, less attention has been paid to how community planning must shift. Traditionally, community planning efforts have been organized around managing different societal functions—job creation, transportation, housing, habitat protection, etc. as a way of creating economic development, environmental protection or community revitalization. They have largely been conducted as if these facets of life were unrelated to each other. Where more than one facet has been considered, the goals that were not the primary driver have normally been treated as background constraints, e.g., to advance economic development with minimum harm to the environment. The push to create “sustainable cities” has added goals around carbon emissions and energy efficiency without changing this pattern–a pattern that presents serious barriers to community sustainability, let alone regeneration. More
September 8, 2009
Carol Sanford and Joel Glanzberg on Chautauqua, KVNF, Public Radio. We explore the meaning of Story of Place® in creating Developmental Economies® and regenerating communities.
“Developmental Economies®” (DE) involve the Business community in a different and more effective way. DE is a way of improving the vitality and viability of existing business and creating and incubator for new businesses that extend the uniqueness of the region and its “vocation”. Every PLACE has a uniqueness and out of that comes an opportunity to create unique value-adding (rather than value-added) offerings that cannot be copied and as a result become valued in the region and beyond for their uniqueness and distinctiveness that mirrors the PLACE itself. The cities where this has happened, for examples Portland OR, Curitiba, Brazil, have increased greatly the wealth and prosperity of a place and overcome the hazards that traditional economic development causes. It also makes a more cohesive community within its diversity of creativity. You can stream it or download it for listening to later.
August 6, 2009
“Essence” is the standard English translation of Aristotle’s curious phrase “to ti ên einai,” literally “the what it was to be” for a thing. This idea of essence is central to regenerative work. In the context of Regenerative Education essence is active or unfolding. It is the divine aspect, unfolding from within, that sources a person.
Photo Credit: Joe Tordiff
Quantum physicist David Bohm discussed the importance of the unfolding of “essence,” which he believed moved physics away from its focus on Cartesian coordinates. Instead, Bohm proposed that physics needed to understand the workings of the implicate order (the underlying patterns from which the manifest or explicate world arises.) More
June 7, 2009
While working at the Rodale Institute several years ago ,we were surprised to learn that Robert Rodale, former Institute director and editor of Organic Gardening magazine was an Olympic skeet shooter. On further thought this made sense. In skeet shooting, one needs to trace the trajectory of the clay pigeon, imagine its future path, and aim leading it to impact it at some future as yet unrealized point. Rodale was expert at seeing the potential of existing trends. It was only natural that he would excel at doing this visually as well.
To many, the idea of tracing trajectory to imagine future potential may seem abstract and even unprofessional. Most marketing and planning is done looking to the past to guide it. This has been compared to driving by looking in the rear-view mirror. While it is essential to look at the past to imagine the future, it is the as yet unrealised future where we are headed. We will aim much better if we focus on that unrealised potential point. More
May 5, 2009
How to grow the wealth of a town, city or region without undermining its vitality and heritage: it’s an on-going challenge because we tend to see economic development and cultural and ecological stewardship as being at odds. But any viable future is going to require us to reconcile this apparent dichotomy.
I’m heartened by an integrated approach that emanates from a shared sense of uniqueness of a bioregion—a shared sense carried by its Story of Place. The story of a place is as old as its land and waterways. It is told and stewarded by native peoples and recent residents alike. Those who are drawn to a place represent it in their metaphors, prose and historical accounts. Story of place is made from the patterns that are apparent only on close observations—patterns that underlie all that is there. A place’s story guides what can and will be possible, whether or not we are aware of it. And, if we bring this story into our awareness, it can guide economic prosperity, community vitality and human learning processes that bring together stakeholder groups for the benefit of all. More
April 25, 2009
Trends in education come and go. There is motivation, hype, and even money to institute certain practices because a “they” believe it is the best way to educate our youth.
Photo Credit: NASA
Sustainable education is getting the same rap–it is being seen as a trend. “Going green” and “stimulus package” are the current buzz phrases in education circles. What concerns me is that many people don’t understand the depth of sustainable education, and as a result sustainability might go out of fashion like other trends.
This “trend” is too important to let pass by. “Sustainable” is not a way to educate–it is a way to live. In the early 1900’s the industrial revolution began changing the way we lived and educated. This sustainability revolution needs to have the same impact.
I propose at least three different levels of sustainable education. I believe that if we do not work at all three levels, the sustainable education movement will be just another passing fad.
April 15, 2009
Recently, Ashley Nielsen at Living Education was asked by George Otero, a friend and colleague, to do some thinking about the connection between rural schools and their communities. George talked to her about Australia’s Schools First program, which created government incentives for schools to work in close collaboration with their surrounding communities. He is now working with a group of people in New Mexico demonstrating an interest in using American Recovery and Reinvestment Act funding to revitalize rural schools right here in the state.
Photo credit: Tina Steele
In answer to this request, we (Ashley along with a group of us from Regenesis) spent a couple of hours one morning talking about the connection between rural schools and rural economies. It is fairly well recognized, by the proponents of Schools First and by others, that education improves dramatically when schools work to build supportive connections with their surrounding community. Less widely considered, though, is the contribution that schools themselves make to their community as a whole. This is particularly important in rural areas, where public schools often function as a community asset above and beyond their primary purpose as centers of education. More
April 8, 2009
I had a recent conversation with an author who was writing about going “beyond sustainability.” He couldn’t decide between restoration and regeneration to describe “beyond”, but was tending toward restoration. Regeneration, he said, seems rather squishy. And he is right…at least insofar as the word is being used, or rather misused, these days.
In our business and in the courses we teach, we talk a lot about the distinction—and the complementarities—between these two processes. So of course I jumped on the opportunity to talk more. Reflecting on our conversation later, however, I realize I responded to the wrong question. And undoubtedly contributed to my friend’s continuing confusion. The real question is, “Why the growing interest in going beyond sustainability in the first place?” More