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The Regenerative Economy and the Pragmatism of Woo-Woo

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What if we could create a world of AWE -- Abundance, Wellness and Enlightenment -- a thriving and harmonious world that fosters humankind's potential for love, brilliance, beauty and kindness?

I am convinced that we can create such a world and am seeing a rapidly growing groundswell of people awakening and collaborating to transform our world.

There are, however, many people who still believe that those seeking to create a more thriving, loving, abundant, well and enlightened world are merely "unpragmatic woo-woo utopian dreamers."

As Albert Einstein said, "Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds."

Throughout history, it is the dreamers and visionaries (e.g., Martin Luther King, Thomas, Edison, Wright Brothers, Mother Theresa, Albert Einstein and Buckminster Fuller) that have awakened us to new possibilities, shifted our "reality," and changed the world.

As visionary and innovator Steve Jobs said:

"Here's to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels, the troublemakers, the round pegs in the square holes... the ones who see things differently -- they're not fond of rules... You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can't do is ignore them because they change things... they push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the ones who are crazy enough to think that they can change the world, are the ones who do."

The guardians of the status quo are conditioned to believe that perpetuating a world based upon maximizing profits from endless growth, GDP metrics, extraction, exploitation, scarcity, toxicity, war, injustice and destruction is "pragmatic."

Is it really pragmatic to cause destruction of our biosphere that provides us with life itself and everything we need to thrive as a species?

I would posit that real pragmatism is creating a world that fosters the health and thriving of our biosphere and humankind. For example, a billionaire about to drop dead of dehydration will give you every penny he has for a life-saving glass of water.

We are the planet! There is no separation. Each breath, drop of water and the nutrients that sustain our lives are gifts from the planet.

The planet and its intricate ecosystems have 4.5 billion years of natural wisdom. To think we can save the planet is just arrogance. The planet does not need us to save it. After we are long gone, the planet will heal itself and be just fine without us.

However, we have an opportunity to thrive if we choose to love, respect and serve each other and the planet -- if we choose trust, compassion, generosity, and collaboration over fear, distrust, greed, scarcity, and disconnection; if we choose well-being over toxicity and creation over destruction.

It is not hard to imagine a world that is "better." But, what does "better" mean? By "better," I mean an abundant, well and enlightened world that enhances life -- a world where love, compassion, generosity, equitability and the creation of beauty are the pursuit of humankind.

This "better" world is being birthed in eco-social conscious communities, in corporations that are adopting ethical and socially responsible practices, and in governments that are creating legislation and incentives to stimulate a sustainable economy.

As Buckminster Fuller said, "In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete."

In the 20th century, the economy was based upon industrialization, expansion, competition, centralization, profits-at-all-costs, debt, greed, consumerism, waste, war, fossil fuels, and environmental destruction.

In their February 2104 article titled "Remaking the Industrial Economy," McKinsey & Co. brilliantly summarized the industrial economy as follows:

"Visualize, for a moment, the industrial economy as a massive system of conveyor belts--one that directs materials and energy from resource-rich countries to manufacturing powerhouses, such as China, and then spirits the resulting products onward to the United States, Europe, and other destinations, where they are used, discarded, and replaced."

"In light of volatile markets for resources, and even worries about their depletion, the call for a new economic model is getting louder."

In the 21st century, we have an opportunity to create the new "regenerative economy." The regenerative economy is based upon elevating ethical value creation over economic expansion, collaboration over competition, sufficiency over greed, regenerative over extraction, and sharing over hoarding.

The regenerative economy represents a horizontal economic transformation that will dwarf the industrial age economy by transforming almost every industry vertical, with the greatest impact on energy, water, food, built environment, transportation, packaging, health care, infrastructure, natural resource and waste management, technology, resource and supply chain management, and education.

A small sampling of regenerative economy metrics include the $1 trillion "restoration economy," the $290 billion "LOHAS market," the $110 billion "sharing economy," and the $248 billion "clean energy market."

The regenerative economy will include the following:

  • Renewable energy and materials replacing fossil fuels and extractive energy and materials
  • Ethical and sustainable companies, manufacturing processes and government
  • Collaborative consumption and effective utilization
  • Converting and upcycling waste into valuable energy and products
  • Development of self-sufficient smart communities based upon localized water catchment, energy generation, food production and waste upcycling
  • Increased health and wellness through highly nutritious foods, pure water, clean air, healthy built environments and the integration of mindfulness and movement in our daily lives
  • Restoration of the earth's ecosystems and inefficient infrastructure
  • Healthy, smart and energy efficient buildings
  • New transportation with proliferation of renewably powered public and smart transportation solutions with increased walkable and bikeable live-work logistics
  • Leveraging IT to reduce energy, product consumption and waste
  • Revolutionizing education with applied immersive learning
  • Balancing population growth and increasing carrying capacity with abundant food, water, energy and renewable materials
  • Implementation of a people owned, ethical zero balance currency based upon contribution of value, collaboration and reputation rather than debt
  • Transforming our environments with living systems planning, design and engineering processes
  • The ethical compass to use our creative powers for the life-enhancing benefit of people and planet

With consistent and proactive application of our energy, effort and resources in alignment with the foregoing, we can create the regenerative economy and a world of AWE.

The regenerative economy requires a shift in consciousness that includes the application of whole, healthy and regenerative practices that transform our environments, deepen our connection with each other and the planet, and evolve our beliefs and behaviors in a way that shifts our culture to align with life-enhancing outcomes.

It is not likely that this transformation will occur in our comfort zone. In order to create a thriving abundant, well and enlightened world, we need to be willing to have courage and tenacity, to stand for our dreams, take risks, make mistakes, lose money and face adversity, criticism and ostracism.

We live in a universe of infinite possibilities, yet most of us live lives of such limited possibilities. There are energies, forces and consciousness in the universe that support human thriving, yet most of us are "perceptually blind" to these energies, forces and consciousness. Let's open our eyes and minds to new possibilities that are life-enhancing and expansive in order that humankind can thrive by expressing its potential for love, brilliance, beauty and kindness and create a world of AWE.