Community Regeneration

How the community regeneration can co-opt everyone in addressing nature and climate crises

“Nature is saying: This is it. Join me as partner. Deepen, not change so much but deepen, work on more levels and together we can take the changes and make them into transformation and not total collapse.”
- Jean Houston

The most effective community regeneration model – socio-green infrastructure – the origin snapshot

In the late 1990s, my co-visionary partner and I set off to prove a hypothesis that it is feasible to induce a type of collective change in awareness and behaviour that is capable of creating an 80-20 shift. This shift, we postulated, was not only possible but vital to combat global warming as the climate crisis was known them. It would also achieve another incredible feat. And that is, it would bring the humanity closer to realising its potentials, which we have yet to see. A superstructure that this model would create in every community, we claimed, would also give rise to new greening templates that could enable us to solve many interrelated socio-economic issues simultaneously.

So in order to demonstrate how these concepts could unravel in practice, we proposed the creation of green lifestyle and action hubs. So, this is how regeneration – as part of this big idea for the community and a broad societal greening – entered the green space and collective psyche.

The ‘HOW’ of the community regeneration – inducing a global paradigm shift by moving away from the ‘old’ ineffective mindset to envisioning a new regenerative model

So, looking back at this proposal, we can unequivocally say that we proved our hypothesis hands down. The sheer uptake and instigation of many of our big strategy concepts, both commercially and intellectually, has been the testimony to this. Following the initial introduction of some parts of this work in the UK, the work had been shared and gone viral before we even managed to deliver a single word on the subject, publicly. In fact, the only presentation of this pioneering methodology and vision took place inside the COP climate and the IUCN environment conferences. These were at the time the only camps that were open to exploring this new

It also ignited the popular collective imagination by staring at numerous high-profile culture, art and film events in the US. This was this work’s yet another debut, five years after its first official introduction in London in 2004 and earlier in Brighton. Next is a very short overview of a methodology we had developed to prove our hypothesis. The big strategy is the result of us pooling together our findings from cross-examining an international multidisciplinary body of research spanning many fields of applied science. Our own self-funded experimental projects and ventures, that we set up and ran in the UK, provided practical proof-points and further case studies.

The community regeneration – what it is and what it is not

What our research and findings proved was that the prevalent cognitive approach that was universally accepted to be the answer to then global warming was not enough to solve it. We needed a powerful catalyst to stimulate such a profoundly radical shift at a societal level. Essentially, helping everyone to break away from one dominant paradigm that stifled progress and innovation. The paradigm that negated any logical attempt to evaluate its efficacy. My co-visioner and I could see that many thinkers and leaders, including those in green camps, kept moving in circular thinking traps. Semi-consciously following others in front of them, who lost the direction themselves.

I felt that we needed something truly effective. A thinking baseline that shakes the foundations of the old model and transition us fast into a more ethical and ecological reality. A socially led regenerative model to address the climate and create green economies. So, I knew and sensed that before we could affect nature and climate change, the world’s operating system and mindset needed a fundamental re-think and adjustments. We called these adjustments – incremental changes. They would eventually lead to a sum total of all eco and socially inspired actions, creating a more equitable and safer world to live. We see this in action, today manifesting as the regenerative and rewilding approaches.

Ecoplaza – an eco-social and economic answer, boosting the effectiveness of the existing hubs

Although many innovative eco hubs have sprung up to date, to my knowledge, none of them operate to the potential of ecoplazas. If they did, we would see an unprecedented level of social and green improvements in our communities. Equally, we would also see the co-opting of everyone in the climate and ecological action across all sectors, whether they believe in climate change or not. What is not happening is joining the dots on the climate, the sustainable economy and community engagement. At least not to an optimum potential that this work had envisaged.

The joined-up thinking – another concept we introduced – was, and it is, essential to succeed in our attempts to align entire populations with the needs of the Earth and people. This is an inescapable binary that all companies, organisations, especially governments, need to factor in to induce, enact and guide the regeneration effectively. This will help to avoid a paradigm drift due to our overoptimistic reliance, both practically and theoretically, on technology solutions and administrative overreach. Though benefiting the process, the former are only an adjunct and a means to an end of our polycrisis.

The community regeneration with its socio-green infrastructure – what it is and what it is not

The signs of regenerative paradigm rooting itself already show up across many domains and communities around the world. We have seen how it has influenced agriculture, conservation, travel and tourism and wellness sectors. And how these spheres of human activity are responding with positive transformations thanks to adopting this attractive and potent regenerative approach. Thus, following in this vain, the rewilding phenomenon and the rewilding movement, I believe, are part of the same ongoing stream of collective thinking paradigm.

This paradigm, which centres nature as the key beneficiary of all human transactions, I am certain, will be the one that re-defines the entirety of human-nature activity over the next decades. Speaking from an individual and group perspectives, knowing this fills me with an enormous optimism for the future. It has the power to uplift, based on the feedback that the regenerative work provides. As, it reinforces our collective belief that all those decades of the environmental grassroot efforts and personal sacrifices by the many at the frontline of climate and nature activism are at last paying off.

So, what do we need for us all to see and experience this exponential growth of our potentials and benefits?

We require a single – environmentally advanced and also challenged – country like the Maldives, Costa Rica or Brazil to come on board of regeneration. Imagine if they did embrace and instigate their own unique community regeneration models like the one presented here ?! And if they adapted and elevated their unique ecotourism model to become a regenerative tourism ?! We would get a chance to usher in a new age of the climate and nature renewal, as a more united collective. However, if this is not possible yet, every country can introduce citywide greening templates, today.

Although the progress is bound to be slower, this is still better than just focussing on meeting some distant abstract targets set for 2030, 2050 or further into the future. The idea and philosophy of the regeneration models is to act now with the knowledge and resources that we have at hand. As this is the surest and best way of counteracting apathy, disconnect and inertia that stifles progress with the climate and nature action. No matter what, this new regenerative paradigm is global, limitless and is here to stay. And, for a change, it is a green bandwagon worth jumping on!


A Big Strategy: In times of Crisis. A Model to Help Regenerate The Environment, Community And Sustainable Economy. Published in 2012. Authors and innovators of this advanced methodology: Peter Hughes & Kinga Monica

Featured image: Community members working together regenerate their community and nature whilst creating sustainable livelihoods, Indonesia, photo copyright Earthvoice.

This article presenting the original award-winning concepts is the work of the Earthvoice editor, Kinga Monica. She is available for consulting on practical instigation of these concepts, sustainability, and regenerative ecotourism consulting, internationally.

To learn more on this topic and the solutions that have helped shift some gears of the climate change action to date, please follow my innovative work on Earthvoice blog and on Medium.

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