REGENERATIVE
COMMUNITIES NETWORK

Toward a Regenerative World, Together

The Regenerative Communities Network (RCN) was launched as an urgent response to the Anthropocene — and the declaration of a Planetary Emergency by the Club of Rome and others. We need a profound response to:

  • climate change and biodiversity loss
  • deteriorating ecological health at watershed, bioregional and biosphere scales
  • grotesquely unjust and ever rising inequality
  • loss of linguistic and cultural diversity, and 
  • severe economic fragility as revealed by the Covid-19 crisis.

The members of the RCN are place-sourced initiatives at large landscape (bioregional), ecological megaregion, or small nation-scale working to build community-designed regenerative economies.

The RCN is currently being incubated as a project of the Capital Institute and was publicly launched in October 2018 with seven members. It is supported by a Global Team of Systems Conveners while it continues to move towards self-governance.

Vision

A mosaic of place-sourced, diverse, and regenerative economies linked across scales.

Mission

The RCN is a global learning and action network designed to support place-sourced transformation towards regenerative economies.

Our Whole Systems Approach

Goals

  • Increase regenerative leadership and transformational capacity at the individual, organizational, community, bioregional, and global scales.
  • Catalyze shared learning and a new way of seeing.
  • Accelerate regenerative outcomes at the bioregional/community scale.
  • Enhance the flow of aligned regenerative capital into regenerative projects.

WHY DO WE NEED THE REGENERATIVE COMMUNITIES NETWORK?

Watersheds, bioregions, and ecoregions are the natural units of regeneration.

They are where geologic reality and human culture intersect. They are large enough to function as living systems, yet small enough that we can know them intimately.

We need to name and connect isolated regenerative efforts within each bioregion, then nourish them to become strong and integrated. Any one bioregional initiative seems audacious; connected together these initiatives become powerful and inevitable.

We need to rapidly apply and test principles of regenerative economics at human scale so they can be applied in policy and practice at all scales.

How can we design economies that are fundamentally in the service of life?

The RCN is trying to open spaces for deep transformation at multiple levels: individual leaders, organizations, ecosystems of organizations, networks, bioregions, and ultimately linked, multi-scale action networks.

Our current hypothesis is that the Principles of Regenerative Economics, particularly reframed as strategic questions, can serve as a visionary map for place-based transformation, and support a generative process of unfolding rather than a divisive closing of dialogue. You can read more about these principles here.

Key Dimensions of Regeneration

During its design process and through ongoing co-creation with members in its network, the RCN has identified 8 key dimensions or work streams for regeneration. These work streams are being activated at all levels of scale and from a wide range of perspectives, within the RCN and through many other networks and initiatives.

The RCN is working alongside its members to co-create regenerative infrastructure in these 8 key areas:

  • transformational leadership
  • regenerative education
  • narrative
  • communication and collaboration platforms
  • systems mapping and monitoring
  • bioregional design and planning
  • regenerative decision support tools and evaluation
  • regenerative capital

These 8 dimensions can be activated roughly in sequence. As increasing levels of regenerative capacity are achieved in each dimension, a powerful cycle of regeneration is unleashed: systemic, transformative leadership supported by regenerative education in practical areas; increasing ability to sense, tell stories about, and map the bioregion from a systems perspective illuminating key interventions; design, planning, and evaluation of proposed projects and initiatives; and resourcing of these projects and initiatives with financial, social, cultural, natural, and other forms of multi-capital abundance.

Once all eight dimensions are activated and a complete cycle of learning and action occurs, additional transformational cycles can occur, with system-wide reflection on the process and outcomes.

Members of the Regenerative Communities Network

The members of the RCN are bioregional or other place-based (e.g. ecological megaregions, megacities, small nations), collaborative action initiatives working together to create regenerative economies and undertake regenerative development within their chosen area. 

  • Each member freely chooses to join RCN if beneficial
  • Members are locally-led by a core team of 2 to 5 Systems Conveners committed to perceiving, leading, and acting from a whole systems perspective
  • They are guided by inclusive engagement with their region over time including diverse individuals and initiatives, businesses, non-profits and foundations, multiple levels of government, academic institutions, and more. 
  • Members pay attention to other natural units of regeneration at larger (e.g. large mountain ranges or biomes) and smaller scales (e.g. neighborhoods or districts in urban areas or watersheds) and can spark neighboring collaboratives to form larger clusters of action. 

The RCN recognizes its limited and partial perspectives. As Arturo Escobar so powerfully articulates in Design for the Pluriverse, we are working to preserve a world in which many worlds are possible, which requires a commitment to a diversity of worldviews, languages, cultures, and living beings. The RCN is one articulation of inquiries, models, and forms of knowledge that have ancient roots across diverse indigenous cultures.

The RCN is committed to learning from all actors in place-sourced transformation and in supporting each member in the network to do the same in its unique cultural and historical context. These actors particularly include those who have suffered from colonialism, trauma, and marginalization, and their leadership is essential, their voices must be heard and their initiatives properly resourced.

The RCN currently includes 15 members across 8 countries and 4 continents:

  • Sinal do Vale, Brazil – Restoration of greenbelt around Rio de Janeiro anchored by a regenerative learning center.
  • Costa Rica Regenerativa – National regenerative initiative anchored by Universidad para la Cooperación Internacional working to create a regenerative roadmap for Costa Rica in a process co-convened with Common Earth.
  • Agua y Paz Biosphere Reserve, Costa Rica – Regenerative agriculture, holistic grazing, and ecotourism focus – engagement with territorial (regional) council process, research and education collaborations.
  • Osa Peninsula, Costa Rica – Regenerative agriculture and ecotourism focus – systems mapping, regenerative project mentoring and design, connection to capital sources.
  • Colombia Regenerativa – Regenerative education and engagement with indigenous-led regenerative economy initiatives, connections to several bioregions.
  • Mexico City, Mexico – Regenerative finance for biodiversity and local communities focus – systems mapping, regenerative investment models.
  • Himalayan Mountains, Nepal – Annapurna Pluriversity is working to create a new model of applied education connecting people to the regeneration of ecosystems and communities across the foothills of the Himalayan mountains.
  • South Devon, UK – Bioregional Learning Centre is convening the bioregion around climate resilience learning journeys and strategy.
  • Buffalo-Niagara, New York, US – Regenerative manufacturing focus – community workshops, advanced material science research collaborations, inclusive workforce development, place making.
  • Denver-Boulder, Colorado, US – Regenerative real estate development and regenerative enterprise focus – community workshops, research collaborations, regenerative investment model.
  • Hudson Valley, New York, US – Regenerative agriculture focus – storytelling, systems mapping, training initiatives, investment support. Hudson River Flows is a related initiative.
  • Connecticut River Valley, Massachusetts, US – Applying a decolonization approach to collaboration amongst equity-oriented organizations to seed a regenerative economy & culture in the bioregion.
  • San Francisco Bay Area, California, US – A community of care and practice building systems and tools for a regenerative future.
  • Gulf of Maine, US-Canada – Bioregional urbanism across the density transect from the megacity of Boston to rural and indigenous Downeast Maine.
  • Salmon Nation, US-Canada – Salmon Nation aims to inspire, enable and invest in regenerative development.
  • The RCN has received requests for 75+ members across 6 continents and is currently adding many additional members with broad geographical reach.

Taking Action

  • Detailed background on the RCN can be found in the Google doc Regenerative Communities Network Guide, which you can also comment on directly so we can continue to evolve the RCN.
  • Any individual can join the RCN Forum digital platform powered by Hivebrite software. This platform provides communication and collaboration support both at the individual collaborative level and for global regenerative practitioners. Please join here: https://regencommunities.net.
  • If you are located in a bioregion that is already an RCN member (see list above), use the RCN Forum to connect and begin contributing to the process.
  • If you are interested in starting a new bioregional collaborative, you can review the RCN Member Agreement. If you’d like to explore further, please email RCN with a brief description of your region, key themes, and the activating team. Membership in the RCN includes access to peer-to-peer learning, global Working Groups, business opportunities, and much more. 
  • RCN operates on a very lean budget and matches global team resources many times over with impacts across the network. If you are interested in making a donation, providing a grant, or connecting us with relevant funding sources, we would be grateful if you could email RCN. This could include opportunities to pass resources through the global organization (with its US 501(c)(3) non-profit status) to the individual members to support action on the ground.
  • If you are involved with a global or regional action network supporting place-based transformation, please email RCN so we can learn more about our shared efforts.