Sustainability, says @DrDCWahl, may be better described as health, which includes definitions for regeneration. In an interview on web video that included Fritjof Capra, Wahl cites Bill McDonough and Bill Reed:
[19:20 Simon Robinson] So, Daniel it’s fantastic to have you on this call — you know — as an author who has very much written extensively about regeneration. Tecently there was an article in The Guardian, talking about the need to switch from sustainability to the concept of regeneration. So, given the fact that — you know — for many years, Fritjof’s Systems View of Life has very much been inspiring people, why do you feel now that a lot of people who have already been working in the area of sustainability and now kind of focusing on the concepts of regeneration … What is regeneration for you?
[20:09 Daniel Christian Wahl] When I, in 2006, was working on — between 2003 and 2006 — was working on my PhD, which I thought was going to be in design for sustainability … about a year and a half into the PhD … I realized that there somehow — and I’m not I know that there’s a lot of people who work in sustainability who have a fully regenerative understanding of sustainability so this is not a replacement of one term or with another — it’s just the the strength that what — what came out for me while I was doing my PhD research — is that sustainability as a word doesn’t actually tell us what we’re trying to sustain. It’s it could be applying to all sorts of applied to all sorts of things. And so in the end I changed the title of my PhD to Design for Human and Planetary health.
[20:50] From a systems view of life, that’s the pattern of health, the pattern that connects, that brings health and well-being to the entire holarchy of life from cells to organisms to communities to the whole biosphere. And that’s what we’re trying to sustain.
[21:18] The word regenerative more clearly speaks to this need for regenerating the patterns of life, because basically what has happened over the last 150 or 250 years since the Industrial Revolution, is that we have caused so much damage to the system and deforested, emitted, so much carbon that we need to do a lot more than simply not adding any more damage, which is one interpretation of sustainability.
[21:49] As Bill McDonough used to say, sustainability is one hundred percent less bad. It’s the neutral point. But you can move beyond that. And Bill Reid has created a wonderful … and then the people at Regenesis group … have developed a wonderful spectrum where you go beyond sustainability into restorative. But restorative can still be done in the mindset of humanity over nature, rather than humanity as participant in nature, as nature.
[22:20] And when it’s done like that we get these projects where people plant cool eucalyptus trees in in dry areas and and celebrate that they’ve planted a hundred thousand or million trees. And then they die a year later. So that’s that’s the kind of engineering mindset of restorative.
[22:36] And then there’s the step of reconciliatory, where we put humanity back in nature. We understand that we are participants deeply dependent on the planetary life-support system.
[22:49] Only when we intend to design as nature, not just learning from nature, but on our own agency as living beings in this process, can we start to work regeneratively.
“Regeneration: A Webinar with Fritjof Capra, Simon Robinson and Daniel Christian Wahl” | July 8, 2017 at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DU699CwJiv4?t=19m20s