Listen to a wonderful dialogue about ‘regeneration’ and the Earth Charter sponsored by the Emerging Future Institute with 3 visionaries and friends of mine: Fritjof Capra (author of the Systems View of Life) Daniel Christian Wahl (author of Designing Regenerative Cultures), and Simon Robinson (co-author of Customer Experiences with Soul: A New Era in Design and Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter).
(Scroll down for the 2 videos)
I really quite enjoyed the dialogue as it brings up the Earth Charter at a time where some ecologist and environmentalists are a little dismayed by the US decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
Fritjof Capra is quite involved in the Earth Charter: It is a declaration of 16 values and principles to create a sustainable, just and peaceful world completed in 2000. Its a magnificent summary of the kind of values we need today. I love the opening paragraph which Simon Robinson read out:
“We stand at a critical moment in Earth’s history, a time when humanity must choose its future. As the world becomes increasingly interdependent and fragile, the future at once holds great peril and great promise. To move forward we must recognize that in the midst of a magnificent diversity of cultures and life forms we are one human family and one Earth community with a common destiny. We must join together to bring forth a sustainable global society founded on respect for nature, universal human rights, economic justice, and a culture of peace. Towards this end, it is imperative that we, the peoples of Earth, declare our responsibility to one another, to the greater community of life, and to future generations.”
Fritjof emphasises that they put life at the centre of the Charter.
Daniel Wahl recently wrote an excellent book about Regeneration, which was echoed by a recent Guardian article suggesting we move from ‘sustainability’ to ‘regeneration’. He speaks about why his favoured word now is “regeneration”.
Fritjof said that he isn’t against the word sustainable, saying that the problem was the terms sustainable and development were used together (i.e. sustainable development) but these were economists’ terms. Economists narrowed this down to just one facet, normally per capita GDP. The entire richness of life was reduced down to one quantitative measure. Therefore is you use the standard economists’ own definitions then sustainable development is not possible. Its not that we shouldn’t grow. Nature grows. But we should shift from quantitative to qualitative growth.
Personally I agree with the panelists that society needs to reclaim various terms from economists. In many cases we should go back to the biological or ecological definitions. This has been more argument for years, even when I was working in the heart of finance.
I am wondering to myself whether this Earth Charter is a much more beautiful approach that the narrow focus on carbon. This is the closing paragraph.
“Let ours be a time remembered for the awakening of a new reverence for life, the firm resolve to achieve sustainability, the quickening of the struggle for justice and peace, and the joyful celebration of life.”
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