Regeneration ?

Sustainable, Green Growth, Circular economy, Degrowth, System Change ... And now the latest: Regeneration.

Are these just buzzwords, container terms whose exact definition and content no one knows, let alone how such a state or transformation is achieved ?

Well, possibly... But not all of them. Circular economy, for example, is very concrete in what you can do: share, lease, reuse, repair, refurbish/upgrade and recycle.

Agriculture has already given real content to regeneration for some decades. And most of us do have an idea of regeneration in biology. After all, every species is capable of regeneration, from bacteria to humans. A cut with a knife in your finger, and the body starts the regeneration process.

That people who have made it their business to preach change now discovered it? But do they actually make it concrete?

Is it because regenerative organic farming is so far the only potentially sectoral system change, that actually and measurably achieves goals? That people now use the word to describe other desirable but hardly concrete (system) changes?

Just hollow words?

Terms like Degrowth, System Change and Regeneration, really mostly express dissatisfaction with the current capitalist economy, with the consequences of overconsumption. And grief and powerlessness about its consequences.

They usually lack a clear description of the new situation, and always lack a description of the way to get there. If there is any reference to a possible new situation, it is often to a book. A theoretical treatise by an economist on what a new economy might look like.

But rarely is it a book that will convince the kings and heralds of capitalism to change, and certainly not a practical visual story that will get the people moving.

So who will be enthusiastic about these terms? Perhaps people who are at a loss as to what to do about the change they themselves must make? Or people who do not understand that change begins with individual action(s)? That an individual action, after it has been approved and accepted by 'the group' they are part of, will be brought to fruition because the whole group will implement the action. And that only then it will spread like an oil slick, by individuals from other ’tribes’ who get inspired. Then the process repeats. Isn't that what real change is about?

It does not happen by shouting hollow words very loudly.

As happened earlier with terms like sustainable, green growth etc., the danger is that it will become an empty container in which anyone can and will put irrelevant stuff.

And then commercial companies will start to use the word as well. How long until the first fossil fuel company will widely announce its new Regenerative Project in the media, adding that through that project, they "are helping to change The System”?

What is regeneration

Regeneration - Renewal, the ability to let something regrow. The replacement of that what is lost.

What does it mean in regenerative organic agriculture, very simplified: heal the wounds (stop plowing, using pesticides and other poisons, fertilisers etc.). Then regenerate what is lost (add compost and mulch to create a healthy soil environment that invites living species to return and thrive). And finally plant and sow, and after harvesting, repeat regenerating and planting and sowing.


All of us need to have a picture in advance of what that systemic change or a regeneration based society is going to look like. And preferably all of us want to roughly see the same picture, so that we can understand what we together are striving for, how to prepare for it and how to support each other.

Unfortunately, such concepts have a high level of abstraction. They actually describe a model, a framework to which a lot of different approaches can belong. Or it says nothing at all about what it means for your daily life because they are described in general terms. Then it's impossible to imagine anything about it, and for most of us it quickly dilutes. Until a new buzzword appears that a certain group of people can once again rally behind, or oppose.

You can't -and I think most of us won't- follow and support a movement if you don't know what it really stands for. And many people will not feel motivated to get involved if they can't hold the leaders accountable for achieving or not achieving the common goal.

I try and will continue to try to paint a picture as far as I can see it. And to help you prepare, partly by telling you about my experiences, partly by testing opinions and developments for logic and by giving my opinion on them. An opinion, by the way, that likes to be challenged.


Whether through system change and a new society based on regeneration, or through enforced change due to circumstances such as drastic weather changes or permanent changes in living conditions, there will come a time when we will have to consume less. Much less. Why? Because the earth cannot support our consumption habits.

The power of self-initiated small-scale change, that is what I strongly believe in. The sum of which is many times stronger than imposed change. Or change conceived by others. Or change that forces you to behave differently without you having had the opportunity to understand the Why and prepare.

Humanity urgently needs to change its consumption patterns. Then wouldn’t you prefer to change your consumption because someone inspires you and gives you tips to get started? And because you want to?

Also read my Reduce Your Ecological Footprint pages for more info.

Artwork: Rebirth