Source: Eddie Kopp on Unsplash

By Daniel C. Wahl

Sustainability alone is not an adequate goal. The word sustainability itself is inadequate, as it does not tell us what we are actually trying to sustain. In 2005, after spending two years working on my doctoral thesis on design for sustainability, I began to realize that what we are actually trying to sustain is the underlying pattern of health, resilience and adaptability that maintain this planet in a condition where life as a whole can flourish. Design for sustainability is, ultimately, design for human and planetary health (Wahl, 2006b).

A regenerative human culture is healthy, resilient…

First published in July 2021 by Sustainable Brands (see link)

In the autumn of 2018, Walter J. Thompson published a report entitled The New Sustainability: Regeneration. Interest in regenerative development had been building for years and the publication of Designing Regenerative Cultures and Regenerative Development in 2016, The Regenerative Business in 2017 and Regenerative Leadershipin 2019 all contributed to broadening the dialogue about its important contribution. However, it was the W.J. Thompson report and John Elkington’s Green Swans that indicated to me that the regenerative (r)evolution was now rapidly gaining momentum.

Already, the legions of consultants who are running the pattern of ‘selling the new’ are archiving their folders on…

One way to avoid — or at least minimize — the risk that new ‘solutions’ will result in catastrophic and widespread unintended consequences is to limit the scale of experimentation. At the local and regional scale, feedback is faster and ecological limits are more immediately identifiable. Furthermore, by focusing on the local and regional scale, we can adapt solutions better to the specific conditions of a particular place. Design that aims to meet basic human needs at the scale of the local community/region also creates systemic redundancies, so that unpredictable changes in one place are less likely to trigger domino…

Aboriginal Art — Image Source: Pixabay

First published in KOSMOS Journal — Summer 2021

Writing these lines at this point in our human journey has to be an exercise in humility. The theme of this issue is ‘Realigning with Earth Wisdom’. How would a white, middle-aged, academically over-educated male have something to say about that? Given the centuries of violation this particular demographic has enacted upon the community of life, is it even appropriate to accept this invitation?

I write these lines from relative comfort at a time when many are suffering the degenerative effects of the Western narrative of separation that has objectified life, disrespected fellow humans on the basis of gender or…

Introducción del libro ‘Semillas: Somos la regeneración’

Últimamente se pueden escuchar muchas conversación sobre ‘regeneración’. El enfoque ya se ha aplicado a temas como ‘culturas regenerativas’, ‘liderazgo regenerativo’, ‘agricultura regenerativa’, ‘empresas regenerativas’, ‘comunidades regenerativas’, ‘economía regenerativa’, ‘educación regenerativa’, y ‘diseño regenerativo’. Hasta el ‘turismo regenerativo’ y la ‘moda regenerativa’ ha llegado la exploración de esta manera de trabajar. Nos estamos preguntando cómo crear ‘organizaciones regenerativas’ y como el ‘desarrollo regenerativo’ ofrece una nueva manera de trabajar y llegar “más allá de la sostenibilidad”.

Me siento corresponsable en haber impulsado este discurso cultural en varios países y contextos. La publicación de Designing Regenerative Cultures en 2016 en el…

Image: Pixabay

“True innovation occurs when things are put together for the first time that had been separate.”

— Arthur Koestler and John Smythies (1969)

The third horizon gives us a long-term guiding vision and invites us to expand the time horizons we are thinking in [more on the 3 Horizons pathways]. In the search for a sustainable and desirable future we would do well to remember the wisdom of many traditional cultures that thought in much longer timeframes than our fast-paced modern culture. Many traditional cultures took important decisions with future generations in mind. Most of our current decision-making on the…

For an introduction to the 3 Horizon framework start here

It is useful to classify H2 innovations into two categories. The first category is called H2 minus. H2- innovations change the technology employed and therefore disrupt ‘business as usual’ temporarily but without leading to a profound systemic transformation. The second category is H2 plus. H2+ innovations offer a bridge to H3, leading to a structural change and transformation of the system in question.

For example, providing power to the national grid via large-scale wind-farms is on the one hand part of the H2+ strategy of moving towards a 100% renewable energy based system, and on the other hand an H2…

To date one of the best publication on the role of design in creating diverse circular economies (Source)

First published in ‘Circular Asia’ 2021 #3

Very important work has been done over the last decade to take industrial ecology and the circular economy into the mainstream. A lot of credit has to be given to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation. At the same time, it needs to be highlighted that the cascading of material and energy flows in small and fast and large and slow cycles is a core pattern of ecosystems and the biosphere. For most of our history as a species we managed our household (economy) based on understanding these patterns of nature (ecology). Bioregionally adapted ‘circular economies’ are nothing new. They are the…


Preocuparse por la Tierra y por el futuro común de la vida no requiere ninguna forma de espiritualidad motivada por el altruismo, una vez que somos conscientes de la interdependencia sistémica de la que depende nuestra supervivencia. La motivación que necesita la gente inteligente y consciente para transformar “lo mismo de siempre” puede ser simplemente una forma de interés propio bien entendido. Una vez que empezamos a practicar el cuidado de otros (humanos y otras especies) de la misma manera que nos cuidamos a nosotros mismos, empezamos a darnos cuenta de que la experiencia de un yo separado es una…

My Profile on Patreon

With deep gratitude to my supporters on Patreon

Almost a year ago, on April 1st 2020, the uncertainty and changed situation due to the pandemic pushed me into setting up a profile on Patreon to ask those who can afford to for support of my ongoing work. I had resisted this move for some time and also still keep my Medium posts of their rather frustrating paywall scheme (introduced after I joined the platform). I want the material I put out to be freely accessible to all who take and interest, and — as you can imagine — the social media curation, interviews, articles, and research going into…

Daniel Christian Wahl

Catalysing transformative innovation, cultural co-creation, whole systems design, and bioregional regeneration. Author of Designing Regenerative Cultures

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