Is sustainability enough?

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The blunt answer is ‘no’. A week ago a seed was planted in my mind. I attended an event of NEMO – the science museum in Amsterdam – with the theme ‘Thinking Planet’. With an open mind, not really sure what to expect, I let the evening unfold. It was an exiting evening with inspiration from African philosophy, a workshop on Futures literacy, AI writing letters from nature and Anne. She was the last speaker, Anne van Leeuwen. She is a farmer and fully committed to regeneration. Not just sustainability. She literally said she wants to take it further. To make the land better than it was before. Regeneration and farming go well together. And it’s a promising development with more and more farmers choosing this course. With the passion and enthusiasm Anne showed in her talk and the great examples from her farm Bodemzicht, she is a great role model for other farmers. And pulling it off, that promise of regeneration.

From farming to the bigger picture

Moving forward in the days after her talk I kept on going back to that word: Regeneration. and thinking about the planet in general, what could regeneration mean in the bigger picture. Not just in the farming context, but pulling that idea through to many things: education, work, the way we see ourselves…..You can look at anything from a regeneration perspective. And doing that, I see the magic. And the common sense of it.

The promise of regeneration

Regeneration is a fascinating word. Holding a strong promise, that goes way beyond sustainability. To sustain is to keep what is here. But let’s be honest, we have made a mess of lots of things. Just sustaining, so there is tomorrow, is not enough. We need to fix things and bring it beyond. To make it better. On many levels, and in many areas.

Regeneration promises a new birth. A fresh way of thinking, towards a fresh new way of doing. This makes me think of Shosin – beginners mind. A phenomenon in the Zen Buddhism.

Levelling up our ambitions: from sustainability to regeneration

What if we stop thinking of sustaining our world, but start thinking of regenerating our world? With a beginners mind, with a new birth perspective.The beauty is that we can then let go of current conventions. The conventions that have brought us the mess of where we are today. The conventions that are preventing us from making things better. What if we allow ourselves to let go of those conventions, and open up to a regeneration, with everything that comes with it. To open up towards a completely new way of thinking. To open up to a new and better tomorrow.

A week of thinking has made me embrace regeneration. As a mindset, as a commitment, as a way of living. As a promise to put my efforts towards regenerating our life, our work, our planet. And maybe this little seed will start growing, like it did for me, and at some point you will feel the invitation to join in.

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