Why Regenerative Sustainability?

Flower on a tree stump

I have been working in this domain since 1986, moving from the Brundtland Commission definition of sustainable development, evolving to sustainability and now regenerative sustainability. As researchers, I believe we have failed to engage the imagination and hearts of Canadians about the many innovations happening on the ground that now need political will to scale up.

Regenerative sustainability offers a real possibility for communicating what we need to do. It is about sustainability+, not just stopping doing damage, and fixing the problems but fundamental interdependence that is generative. Its focus is on net positive outcomes, vital connections, and putting life and vitality at the heart of everything we do.

A possible definition being considered by the RRU Presidential Advisory Committee is the following.

Regenerative sustainability is not simply about reducing harm or reversing damage, it is a net-positive approach that reconciles ecological, social, economic and political spheres, contributing positive, mutually reinforcing, enduring benefits to human and ecological systems. It is rooted in the notion of procedural sustainability—sustained dialogue, reflection, feedback and continual improvement processes and collaboration.