Societies must transform their dynamics to support the flourishing of life. There is increasing interest in regeneration and regenerative practice as a solution, but also limited cohered understanding of what constitutes regenerative systems at social-ecological scales. In this perspective we present a conceptual, cross-disciplinary, and action-oriented regenerative systems framework, the Regenerative Lens, informed by a wide literature review. The framework emphasizes that regenerative systems maintain positive reinforcing cycles of wellbeing within and beyond themselves, especially between humans and wider nature, such that ‘‘life begets life.’’ We identify five key qualities needed in systems to encourage such dynamics: an ecological worldview embodied in human action; mutualism; high diversity; agency for humans and non-humans to act regeneratively; and continuous reflexivity. We apply the Lens to an envisioned future food system to illustrate its utility as a reflexive tool and for stretching ambition. We hope that the conceptual clarity provided here will aid the necessary acceleration of learning and action toward regenerative systems.
Economies of Life argues cogently that there is a ‘default assumption that there is only one economy in our lives – the economy which is the one based on money. Our position is that there are many economies, of which the one based on money is just one, and that they all contribute to the health and sustainability of our shared lives’. To extend this thinking, money is the currency of trade, and art is the currency of experience.
In his collection of five essays, Bill Sharpe uses the principles of ecological thinking to redefine our hitherto narrow understanding of terms like economy and value. The essays consider – with poetic sensitivity and intellectual clarity – what keeps each economy healthy, what sort of wealth each one accumulates and what sort of policies are most supportive of innovation and sustainability in a changing world.
Bill Sharpe and a small group of other IFF members, working with the Watershed Media Centre in Bristol, took as the starting point for their inquiry the question ‘Can we help people who fund the arts develop better policies if we use ecological thinking to understand how the arts work in society and in the economy?’
The insights resulting from Economies of Life offer an ecologically informed and dynamic framework for understanding creativity, the arts and how the arts should be funded into the future.
The Five Essays
- Homo ecologicus, Homo economicus, Homo poeticus
- Patterns of Shared Life
- Art is the Currency of Experience
- Economies of Life
- Producing the Future