It really isn't about blazing a trail now, or building structure—the systems are melting. Now is the time to be a vessel in which to carry the vital fluidity of possibility. (Nora Bateson on Twitter, 19 May 2020)
"Plan B is shaped by what is needed to save civilization, not by what may currently be considered politically feasible." –Lester R. Brown, Earth Policy Institute
As the existing cultural paradigms fade out, we might see a lot more people identify the movement that has been gradually building and try to jump into the “regenerative” space as influencers. That’s great to have them recognize the need for leaving behind what’s working in a limited sense, but not sustainable. They will be much welcome. Yet we need to be able to identify who are the real leaders in regenerative work. Sometimes marketing dollars trump quality and longevity, so it is possible that charisma and buzzwords will draw attention away from the leaders who have real wisdom and hard-earned experience. This list is intended to catalog the current leading thinkers in regenerative work so that in the decade to come, those who have the most expertise can be identified. These are likely to have more solid and proven answers than those newly entering the conversation. To start to catalog who’s who in this space, it may help to clarify what is meant by “a leader in regenerative work” or in planning for a post-consumer economy.
Writers Discussing a Post-consumer Economy
The following are separated from the "do good" category mainly by their conviction that we need more than the right party in power or the right laws put in place. There is no fixing "the system," because each set of institutions—government, education, banking, and commerce—is interconnected with and relies on the stability of the others. In a way, they can't allow each other much change or they risk collapsing. We can resolve systemic crisis only with a complete overhaul. In effect, we need to transition to a different type of society. These sect thinkers and organizations that have long recognized this looming crisis and are preparing the way for transition.
The following are preparing the way by convincing arguments of the current unsustainability, with a perspective that the longer we operate in the current economic model that is reaching trust-eroding levels of inequality, living in carrying-capacity overshoot, the harder we will fall.
The following are preparing the way by creating post-consumer-economy microcosms of sustainable culture and lifestyle. Here you will find seasoned teachers within mature intentional communities.
These are focused less on an economic overhaul and more on developing skills usable now but relevant for a business operations transition into a wholly new societal-operations model.
Leaders in Regenerative-level Social, Emotional, Spiritual/Philosophical Development
These thinkers and institutions are separated from the "do good" category mainly by their willingness to step outside the confines of what mainstream culture considers acceptable. They have all had severe critics of their unconventional teachings, along with many adherents who recognized their value. It is important to acknowledge the crucial work of plant medicine shamans and indigenous traditions, and all spiritual traditions trained thru apprenticeship not paid workshops, who are not to be found online.
What if they’re all wrong about economic collapse?
Carl Schramm states, as an example of the prevailing opinion, “On the topic of political economy, the prophetic Cassandra genre has a long lineage in American letters. Thinkers such as Thorstein Veblen, John Kenneth Galbraith, and Lester Thurow periodically issue calls for repentance lest the United States careen toward economic collapse. Through it all, of course, the American economy has continued to grow, creating wealth and a standard of living never before experienced—indeed, never before imagined—in human history.”
As convincing as the warning signs might be for some, others consider the apparent stability of their immediate circumstances and conclude that there is no cause for alarm. While it is obvious from historical record that empires collapse, it may not be in one’s own lifetime. The response of many is that it would be a challenging and noble goal to live simply, in community, in a self-sustainable manner. You might miss out on some thrills of modern life, but you’d tap into (a) some deeply satisfying relationships that the western individualist culture is missing out on, and (b) engage in a healthy lifestyle that allows for a variety of pass times.
You might identify where you currently are for each category. If you aren't at a level 4, respect that you might have an important role to play there and lessons to learn. Click below to find positive writers who are a match for where you are now, but also peruse the work of these listed here, to consider where you want to be.