REGENERATIVE CULTURES OR BARBARISM
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Although the mass "mass" media are trying hard to confuse us, more and more people are seeing the reality more clearly and sharply. Unfortunately, this is happening at a stroke of shock. The successive crises that have been hitting us (health, economic, climate, war, energy...) have a great deal to do with this accelerated and hypercomplex world we have built. We are supported by a weak oil base, which is becoming increasingly scarce, and a glacier base, which is melting more and more. It should come as no surprise that it is faltering.
It is increasingly evident that globalization has offered us many benefits and opportunities, but it has also made us more fragile. Complexity in a system often brings with it a flip side in the form of fragility that suddenly becomes visible when you least expect it. Pandemic, supply crisis, energy price explosion, and just in case we didn't have enough, war came along and shattered what little normality was left.
But our era - the Anthropocene - was already the era of the clash against planetary limits before the conflict. The century of limits that cutting-edge science has been warning for decades was already here. That is why it is no longer enough to use recipes based on sustainability or conservationism. We have done so much damage to the ecosystems that nourish and sustain us that it is now time to regenerate. To create regenerative cultures.
We have used such a large amount of non-renewable resources that now we have to acclimatize ourselves to live quickly without a large part of them.This was already palpable long before the recent war between Russia and Ukraine dramatically increased the cost of living. And the dance seems to have just begun.
What would these regenerative cultures be like?
Undoubtedly, we would have to speak of them in the plural. To think that one recipe, that one type of culture can be valid for everything and everywhere would be to fall into the error of trying to standardize. Something very typical of the twentieth century and which did not work for obvious reasons. It was like trying to conquer culturally. Wanting to impose recipes that could only succeed where they originated, or that at least would have to be adapted. If they talk to you about "diversity traps", do yourselves a favor, don't believe them.
However, in spite of this necessary richness and variety of proposals, there would be shared traits among all these recipes: cooperative attitude, assumption of limits, intention to add and serve the common good, to heal spaces, people, creatures, without circumscribing only to human beings. In fact, there is no need to invent anything, these cultures have been around for a long time. Otherwise we would not be here.
As Daniel Christian Wahl, the author of Designing Regenerative CulturesIt is also important to note that regenerative cultures are not new. although it seems a disruptive innovation to the dominant discourse of our society in so many areas of life. All indigenous cultures around the world as participants in the evolution of life and humanity were formed in intimate co-evolution with the bioregions and ecosystems they inhabit or inhabited."
In fact, these indigenous cultures, which today represent barely 5% of the population, are the guardians of 80% of the biodiversity of fauna and flora that still keeps us alive. Who is civilized here?
Historically we were adapted to cycles. Now we have broken them. We pretended to be able to live with appliances, fruits and vegetables from all over the world, as if distances or seasons did not exist, with cold when it is hot and hot when it is cold, and precisely in that ambition we have ruined climatic stability and squandered a large part of essential resources. Now it is up to us, and be careful, it can be partly wonderful, to acclimatize ourselves to cycles that we should never have given up. It can be wonderful if we understand the cost that would be entailed in heading for something impossible. That can make us understand the other option as something necessary and therefore we must try to cope in the best possible way.
It is time to re-inhabit and rehabilitate villages and mountains. It is time to relocate production and simplify it. It is time to radically redistribute wealth. It is time to recycle, yes, but above all it is time to reduce, repair and reuse. These are all some of the ideas of degrowth theory, increasingly evident, increasingly with more and more space in popular culture. The New York Times and Vogue magazine are already devoting favorable articles to it. The latest report of the scientific community on climate change, that of the UN, the IPCC Group II, in its final version, mentions 27 times a word that until now has been reviled, almost taboo, but which is going to gain more and more space. And I wish it had done so earlier because it is one of the keys to the recipes of regenerative cultures. Producing and consuming less is essential to put less pressure on the environment and scarce resources.
It is no longer enough to generate less degenerative impact, we need more regenerative care. Land on the ground and forget about senseless space flights, in order to take care of both the Earth that gives us life and the land that feeds us.
The proposals for regeneration and care of ecosystems could generate a multitude of jobs, while preserving priceless services, and this was already being palpated.. The anthropologist Yayo Herrero often wonders what we can do to make people understand that photosynthesis, or pollination, there is no money in the world with which we can pay for them. If we lose them, we lose everything. We need to enhance natural carbon sinks. Reforest wherever possible with native species or those that are best adapted, we must leave some parts of the planet untouched, so that the best of teachers, nature itself, is the one that preserves the ecosystems. But we must not forget that with what we now know about it, we can help these processes to take place in the best possible way. We will only achieve this if, for once, we change our economic system and stop putting short-term profit first.