ICLEI Africa

Seeding Resilient Pathways for Regenerative Communities in a New Economy

Lead Organization

ICLEI Africa

Century City, Province of the Western Cape, South Africa


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To learn more about – or provide significant funding to – this project, please contact Lever for Change.

Project Summary

Humanity is facing several interwoven global socio-ecological crises. Climate change and loss of habitat/biodiversity are rupturing natural and social systems. At the core of these crises, is an underlying belief that people are separate from the rest of the natural world. Many of our cultures are organized around this principle.Our work will enable communities to embrace regenerative development (RD), a pathway to reconnect with nature by restoring a community’s capacity to produce its own sources of energy/materials, creating Life-sustaining places that meet the societal needs while preserving Earth’s life-support systems and while sequestering significant amounts of atmospheric carbon; healing the rift between natural and social systems.Our solution proposes to serve the most vulnerable/marginalized populations to revive/re-value their embedded cultural traditions of integral, authentic livelihoods that permanently renew their lands’ capacity to sustain; so, they may model and lead the much-needed transformation towards global regeneration.

Problem Statement

As modern humans, we have organized our world prolifically around the notion that we are separate from the natural world. This alienation is embedded into every aspect of culture and economy. The resulting fragmentation is responsible for many of the challenges we now face: ecological degradation, food insecurity and illness, massive inequality, political and economic turmoil, and climate instability and mass migration. Although everyone alive today is impacted, vulnerable/marginalized populations and future generations are disproportionally impacted.The notion of separateness is most evident when we look at fragmented landscapes that make up most cities/regions on the planet and their underlying imbalance of overconsumption in cities and extraction/production “elsewhere” that significantly undermines the biosphere’s regenerative capacity. As a species, we have momentarily and seemingly de-coupled our fate from the living systems that sustain us, but not for long.Indeed, the leverage points for us are those same marginalized communities/populations whose embedded cultural traditions are closest to the land. We will work with them to revitalize productive landscapes that grow food, fuel, fiber, feed and ‘farmaceuticals’ and begin healing that imbalance. It is proposed that this productive capacity, when scaled in a radically-distributed way can become a means towards regenerating community resilience and regenerative circular economies geared toward achieving food/material security and authentic livelihoods for all. This regenerative productive capacity can restore degraded land; generate the commons (living soil, habitat for biodiversity, clean air and water); regain relative climate stability and human dignity by reweaving bioregional wholeness from the inside out.

Solution Overview

We will engage in a co-design process with “Seed” communities globally to model RD within 5 years’ time by establishing authentic livelihoods based on regenerative productive practices that reinstate traditional values/systems, appropriate technologies and place-based design.We will build both internal and distributed capacity to rapidly scale this RD model globally. We will know there is progress as Seed communities become beacons of hope in a world, now pointing towards ecosocial/ecological collapse. Their success will have transformational impacts on surrounding communities/regions; governments develop policies to support/replicate Seed communities throughout; regional blue/green trade networks/policies emerge to sustain/value their contributions; a global demand for RD proliferates; and, we are able to stave off the worst effects of climate catastrophe.By applying the resources of 100&Change within the grant period, we will be able to skillfully guide/support the radical transformation to regeneration in select Seed communities. Their engagement in the RD process, will be globally visible and demonstrative. The benefits to societies everywhere will become explicit. Higher levels of funding will become available to rapidly scale this approach globally before the balance of this decade is out and entice funders and investors to build momentum around regenerative blue-green political economies. It will have a deep and intense impact in 10 Seed communities and broad impact geographically; and, will scale through our core members established to accelerate direct impact multipliers ICLEI member communities/Commonwealth of Nations.Primary beneficiaries include vulnerable/marginalized/place-based/indigenous communities globally.

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