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The term regenerative describes processes that restore, renew or revitalize their own sources of energy and materials, creating sustainable systems that integrate the needs of society with the integrity of nature.
Regeneration is far more than simple renewal or restoration. It includes three key ideas: a radical change for the better; creation of a new spirit; returning energy to the source. The scale of change required over the next few decades requires profound changes in how we design, construct and inhabit our environments. The challenge is to design ecologically sustainable buildings, landscapes and communities as integrated wholes that reconnect us to a living and beautiful world and awaken an appreciation of what is life-giving. The science of living systems is revealing an understanding of nature as alive, self-organizing, intelligent, conscious or sentient and participatory at all levels.
In an intelligent and purposeful world, we ask not just how do we harvest wood sustainably, but how do we live with the forest in a way that enables the forest to evolve. Working from a living systems perspective shifts the focus of our attention from simply solving today's problems to working to realize the upper limits of creative potential a healthy system is capable of manifesting. This focus builds from an understanding of the unique nature of a community and of the inter-reliance of human and natural systems that create that uniqueness. It can awaken a deep and caring sense of place and thus become the source of a new community spirit that reconciles longstanding deep divisions as people work together to create an increasing vitality, viability and capacity for evolution of the whole.
The Okanagan Wetlands Regeneration Alliance was formed to apply these principals to the wetlands of the Okanagan Basin, which are the source and heart of the future of human habitation and economy of this area, and which are in desperate need of understanding and regeneration.
Founding members of the Alliance include Okanagan Institute, Okanagan Greens, Okanagan College, Summerhill Organics and Wildcraft, Okanagan Nation, Community Futures and Okanagan Network for the Environment. The Alliance is conducting a pilot project in association with the Okanagan Basin Water Board and the District of Lake Country.
The preliminary report from our research is below: