"We, the Nature"

Daniel Christian Wahl: Designing Regenerative Cultures: Living the Questions Together Triarchy Press. UK

Designing Regenerative Cultures: Living the Questions Together
Forfatter: Daniel Christian Wahl
Forlag: Triarchy Press (UK)
The narrative of man as distinct from nature must yield to the narrative of interbeing.


With the combination of global warming and urbanization, humanity is forced to ask – and to live with – questions on a deeper level. The reflection has been developing for some centuries, in response to the inherent nature of anthropocentrism mindset.

Now, humans are forced to relate to life as a planetary process, sooner or later. Not only have we moved beyond the planetary boundaries on a number of parameters of our lives, but with "the great acceleration" in the form of exponential growth, we are now trapped in the traditional solution platforms and must develop a systemic thinking. Here is the holistic answer, according to Daniel Christian Wahl, "designing regenerative cultures". «Sustainability is not enough; we need regenerative cultures ».

Daniel Wahl developed the regenerative mindset based on studies in holistic science at Schumacher College. His PhD thesis dealt Design for Human and Planetary Health, explaining how – faced with the complexity and necessity of introducing sustainability – new ways of development can be recommended through increased citizen participation.

"We, the People" should have been called "We, the Nature".

Stranded on a path of development and with a narrative that does not offer humanity any future we can connect with, we as pilgrims are forced to choose the transformative rather than the usual further-evolving innovation.

With his book, Wahl equips the seeking pilgrim with a series of questions that can guide transformative innovation and resilience. For example: Why is it that we need to think and act more systemically? Why does resilience and holistic thinking support health?

Designing holistically. Design-the concept has gained a prominent place in the social debate in recent decades. From a focus on industrial products and interior design of human housing, the concept is increasingly used, for example, in the design of residential neighborhoods. With life as a planetary process now also as a culture where the necessity of the regenerative has a special place.

If a new historical period began after World War II with the UN purpose clause and "We, the People", then the system analysis with the design of regenerative cultures suggests that a formulation should instead probably have been "We, the Nature".

The book adds – with the guidance it offers – its reader an appetite for new insight. All the time necessarily in a dialogue and in a showdown with learned performances. A narrative about separation (human-nature) must give way to the narrative interbeing, as an expression of everything's interdependence, as process and relationship.

When reading the book, a gigantic public information task tones forward on the horizon. Transformative innovation necessitates a comprehensive ecological and social formation process, in education and research, in community institutions and in the establishment of new entities that can act as drivers of transformation. «To care for the Earth and to care for others is to care for ourselves ».

With the design of a way of life focused on transformative innovation, interest in developing and refining a concept universe that matches the challenges is sharpened. The content of the law on the uneven and combined development, the precautionary principle, the different development horizons of the transition process, etc., are further unfolded for the pilgrim seeker, for reflection and verification in reality where the "issues must be lived".

Character of the period. For the citizen who has traditionally taken a social responsibility, the starting point for the engagement has changed in the post-war era.

With the end of the war in 1945, the victors came together to establish a system of international institutions that at the same time laid the foundation for a new world order. The Law of Uneven and Combined Development clarified that there were center-periphery relations at the same time as the Soviet Union and the Russian Revolution brought social and political reverberation right up to the end of the century.

"To care for the Earth and to care for others is to take care of ourselves."

With the first phase of decolonization, the development aid of a number of Western countries was intensified to bring the former colonial countries to the fore, but humanitarian efforts were hampered by the fact that political independence was not accompanied by economic independence. With predominantly government funds, environments were established in a number of Western countries focusing on human rights and global justice, in a well-intentioned desire for a settlement with colonial norms.

With the consequences of accelerating economic globalization, a more fundamental critique of growth developed. Rachel Carson documented in her book SilentSpring the adverse effects on the environment from the use of DDT, and the Club of Rome contributed in the years that followed to documenting that there are limits to growth. A deepening and deconstruction of the many elements or indicators of economic growth was developed degrowththe movement.

At the political level, the threat was reflected initially in the environment, but with "the great acceleration" also against civilization, as at the UN conferences in 1972, 1992 and 2012. The preliminary culmination of this development has been "the Big Five" – ​​five UN conferences in 2015–16, including the Conference on the 17 World Goals (“Sustainable Development Goals”).

With 1968 as the year with a global manifestation and at the same time an introduction to a more basic systemic criticism with the development of various new life practices, alternative environments were developed, where thought, feeling and will and combinations thereof were seen in politics, the experimental artistic environment and in the establishment of different kinds of production collectives. Global warming, the need for a renewable energy conversion, and the criticism of industrial agriculture, have led to the development of cross-border life practices such as permaculture, transition towns og ecovillagethe movement.

Wahl's book formulates itself completely without the current political universe, and regardless of where on the planet one is. He reminds us that we as humans are part of nature, but that with "the great acceleration" we have moved away from that path of development. By adopting transformative innovation and regenerative cultural design, a new generation of searching pilgrims can hopefully «bring the Titanic to port».

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