“Regeneration” – A Buzzword or A Movement

Nov 15, 2023 | Blog

Author: Jason Thomas

Regeneration isn’t a trend; it’s an imperative!  


After my first podcasting season, I renamed the show ‘Regeneration Nation Costa Rica.’ 


Well, for one, the original name, ‘Sharing Insights Podcast,’ didn’t really say much. I chose it as a placeholder. It conveyed the altruistic intentions I had for the show, but the truth is, all podcasts are essentially “sharing insights.” 


When choosing a new name, I aimed for something more meaningful. When I first got started in this game a couple of decades ago, “sustainability” was the focus of many ecologically-minded projects. Well, it’s become clear that we’ve gone beyond that luxury, and bolder initiatives are called for.

Besides that, there’s the obvious – it’s good for SEO. Content creators need to think about these things these days. Our findability depends on it. This, of course, is only one of many reasons I chose to identify with a term that many consider overused. 


Permaculture is all about stacking functions, and we don’t do anything for only one reason.


Using a trending word like this to catch readers’ attention only becomes NOT okay when we use it in our brand and marketing without clarifying how it applies to our efforts. Even more important is that we’re walking our talk and applying the ethics & integrity needed to hold ourselves accountable in its use.


When a Word Becomes a Lifestyle

The latin root for regenerate simply means to “create again.” 

Dictionaries define “regeneration” as…

  • The act of something growing or being grown again
  • The process of applying what’s required to renew or restore something to its whole state, especially after it’s been damaged or lost
  • The act of improving a place or system, especially by making it more actively successful

The term “regenerative” is most commonly used in biology to describe the properties of organisms or environments capable of regrowth. Environments damaged or destroyed, like forests or grasslands damaged by fire, can also regenerate. Such things are said to have regenerative properties.


But the term isn’t restricted to biology. It’s applicable to our mindsets, cultures, communities, societies, business practices, and more. It’s not the use of the word that’s important but the intention behind it.


Regenerative actions are those that heal the future. Many aim to achieve this by going “back to the land,” creating food forests, wellness centers, and intentional communities. Regeneration also means infusing our towns and cities with nature to clean the air and rejuvenate our spirits. It’s our daily intention to make life better for those around us. By restoring Indigenous wisdom and giving our youth the power to shape their future, we create conditions for the living world to flourish once more.


How does the podcast consider itself regenerative?

One use of the term “regeneration” that finds its way into the permaculture design science and the greater focus of the podcast is in creating systems that continue to generate life-sustaining output with a sustainable amount of input. 


Regeneration is the outcome of designing systems that create a surplus while also feeding back into themselves. “Circularity” and “reciprocity” are two other concepts central to the regenerative movement that elaborate on this idea. 


Regeneration Nation Costa Rica, as a business, considers itself regenerative in the following ways:

  • We bring awareness, support, resources, and clients to ecologically and socially beneficial organizations.
  • We create free content that instructs and inspires others in the regenerative field to improve their chances of success and impact.
  • The events and services we provide are aimed at helping regenerative-minded organizations thrive.
  • We offer scholarships for local Costa Ricans to attend any of our in-person or online events.
  • We donate a portion of all proceeds from event sales to reforestation campaigns nationwide.
  • Cultural bridge building and a challenge to identify and remedy neocolonialistic tendencies are repeated themes that make their way into much of our content.


Storytelling is the key to creating a new belief system

By sharing the stories of our guests on the podcast and their efforts to establish and restore ecological and social well-being, we perpetuate the growth of the belief system necessary to fuel ongoing actions.

When we look at the number of people on the planet and consider the percentage of them who are unaware of the options available, let alone those who think that available alternatives are out of their reach, we find ourselves with a communication challenge. How do we reach enough people to take action? One way is by sharing as many stories and insights as we can in as many mediums possible.

By spreading these messages, more people are inspired to take regenerative action with greater confidence. Every choice we make gives us the chance to bring more life to the world. Human beings are a beautiful expression of planet Earth, and we need to reclaim that narrative if we’re going to motivate humans to change.

While it was once the norm of many indigenous cultures, commitment to taking personal responsibility for the far-reaching outcome of our choices is an emergent movement among today’s cultures. Our children’s children are going to look back on this one day. What are they going to say about the effort we’re making?


A new belief system is needed to Generate a new story

In the Regenerators.org documentary ‘What is Regeneration?’, the idea is proposed that “The climate crisis is a crisis of imagination.”  


Unfortunately, many people aren’t able to imagine what the solutions are, even though examples and case studies exist all around the world.  The mainstream media maintains a focus on doom and gloom. Don’t get me wrong, as a tool for awareness, it has its place. Still, it can leave us feeling powerless, as if there’s nothing we can do. It inhibits our community’s sense of empowerment. 


The good news is we each have the power to do our part on multiple small scales. 


For one, we each have the chance to change the world 3 times a day. Pay attention to your food. What’s it made of? How was it grown? How was it manufactured? Who grew it? How far away? What is it doing to your body? What does its production and transportation process do to the planet? How much waste was produced to bring it to your mouth?


While these are all questions for each of us to ask ourselves and resolve in our own ways, and I’ve come to the point in my life that I have no interest in debating dietary preferences, I agree with the documentary producers that industrialized meat production is one of the first practices that we need to bring a screeching halt if we want to see a healing of our planet and human species.


As we go about our work, retaining the perspective that the climate is perfect is essential.  It can never be anything but. Given all present conditions, it’s simply in its current state of homeostasis.


Moving those conditions in a direction favorable for future generations is our work. We can all take another step each day toward the future we want to build. Now is the time to become the kind of ancestor worth being grateful for!

Become a Solutionary!

None of us need to be an expert to make a difference. We do, however, need to become solutionaries! I’m not alone in the belief that entrepreneurs are some of the most influential change-makers among our human population. The most innovative products and services changing consumption and mindset paradigms among humanity come primarily from the valiant efforts of out-of-the-box thinking entrepreneurs. 


If you have a business and want to consider ways to make it more regenerative by design, you might find it challenging to do so in the vacuum of your own thoughts. That’s why listening to podcast stories like those we offer at RNCR can be so valuable. 


One way to evaluate and modify your program to improve its regenerative qualities is to assess it through the permaculture lens. Having an ally at your side to assist you in creating a robust business design is another way to fortify your efforts. Click here to learn more about getting the support you deserve.


The regenerative movement is a team sport

We’re all in this together!

Let’s keep the message positive. Each one of us has the potential to be a potent agent for positive change. In essence, we’re each powerful examples of regeneration in motion!


For further inspiration, consider watching this lovely short animation, “I Will Be a Hummingbird.” 


I also recommend reading Paul Hawkin’s beautiful book, ‘Regeneration – Ending the Climate Change in One Generation.’

As always, I hope my ponderings have been uplifting and inspiring.

Comment below and let us know how these concepts have moved you.

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