The paradigm shift to a regenerative economy has been “under the radar”
I see more and more indicators that we are “weaving a world of well-being for all in a life-aligned culture of right relationships”, as I say on my homepage. In my previous post, A New Life-Aligned Culture Is Emerging, I described more than thirty diverse examples of how that new culture is showing up. As soon as I posted that blog, many more examples appeared.
Below are just a few examples of the regenerative, circular economy emerging as indicators of a paradigm shift to a life-aligned culture. So far this shift has typically been under the radar and not part of the mainstream thinking or story.
Contrary to the linear “take-make-waste” industrial model of manufacturing that we’ve been doing for centuries, a circular economy is a systems solutions framework that designs waste and pollution out of the value chain, keeps products and materials in repeated use, and regenerates our natural systems.
The examples below are like new green shoots sprouting up through the cracks in the concrete of our usual perception and experience of reality. At some point they will reach the tipping point and become “normal” and we’ll think, “Of course, that’s just the way things are”.
The Capital Institute – “Regenerative Economics”
The Capital Institute reimagines our economic and financial systems to promote a transformation to a more just and regenerative world. It has pioneered new holistic economic thought that draws on the latest science of living systems and ancient wisdom traditions coupled with 20 years at the pillar of global finance on Wall Street. The founder, John Fullerton, says, “If we make the transformation in the way I hope we do, the institutions won’t look anything like they do today.”
The Biomimicry Institute – “The Top Ten Nature-Inspired Startups in 2022”
The Biomimicry Institute is the bridge between biology and design, advancing the adoption of nature-inspired strategies to help solve the most pressing problems of our time. This year's Ray of Hope Prize® finalists offer inspiring industry-changing solutions aimed at solving critical environmental and social issues through their use of biomimicry. Their solutions . . . are leveraging nature’s genius to revolutionize textiles, wind turbines, waste remediation, building materials, cleaning products, sunscreen, plastics, and more.
The Circular Design Guide - The next big thing in design is circular.
A Radical, Restorative, Regenerative Approach To Business: A new mind-set for business is emerging. It’s worth around a trillion dollars, will drive innovation in tomorrow's companies, and reshape every part of our lives. But making the shift isn’t easy. That’s why we created this guide: to help innovators create more elegant, effective, creative solutions for the circular economy.
The term itself has not yet made its way into the mainstream, but the principles that underpin a circular economy are slowly but surely being integrated into the everyday. When you’re deciding what to wear to a fancy event, these days it’s increasingly normal to borrow an outfit – not from a friend, but from a business. Instead of throwing away endless bubble wrap, goods might come in recyclable postage paper or reusable packaging.
A circular economy moves . . . toward regenerative. Nature doesn’t throw stuff away because in nature there is no “away”. Circular fashion businesses could soon account for 23 per cent of the global market through resale, rental, repair, and remaking models. Marks & Spencer has partnered with Dotte, an online peer-to-peer marketplace for children’s clothing. It encourages customers to return clothes when the child has grown out of them, rather than sending them to landfill. It might sound wacky, but if Marks & Spencer is doing it, then it becomes normal.
From repurposed EV batteries to packaging made from food waste, the Green Alley Award has announced the finalists for its annual award, which recognises businesses at the forefront of the transition to a circular economy. The Green Alley Award champions and supports innovative businesses that design with scarcity, pollution and reuse in mind. In eight years, the award has attracted more than 1,400 applications from 30 countries.
Remade, a mend and repair shop, is looking to change the way Britain consumes. A team of technicians, general repairmen, and tailors work, not out of charity, but as part of what the BBC described as a thriving business fixing every imaginable gadget, home appliance, lawn machine, garment, jewelry, and even Christmas ornaments. Along with mending broken items, Remade also works to find items new homes as a second-hand outlet, as well as connecting unneeded laptops or other internet-connected gadgets with homes that lack them.
Finding someone who can fix a broken piece of furniture, mend clothing, or repair a family treasure has become easier thanks to a new online platform. The guilder is a repair exchange platform, enabling the repair of broken objects with local knowledge, skills, and tools—but without any money being exchanged. Design graduate Ollee Means created the platform as a way to tackle waste, and believes “every object is worth repairing”.
A final note: The path that brought us here goes no further.
These challenging times are not just a speed bump. It’s becoming a whole new road, and we build the road as we travel.
As Marcel Proust said, “The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.” May these examples help us have “new eyes.”
Please feel free to send me any examples of life-aligned cultural paradigm shifts that you come across, and share this as widely as you’d like.