Yesterday, I had the opportunity to listen to a lecture given by, Chrisna du Plessis, an associate professor at the University of Pretoria, South Africa. If you missed it, you really missed out on an inspiring and thought provoking lecture!! Luckily, I took notes because I found her discussion to be so thought provoking that I wanted to make sure I shared it.
One of the biggest points that stood out to me, in terms of sustainability was that it is; in comparison to degeneration and regeneration, neutral, it’s neither more or less. As we attempt to regenerate our world, our focus should begin here, at the neutral.
“The first step is a change of mind”
We can also look at regeneration in this form: World View –> Values–> Goals, Rules, Actions –> Tools
There were three themes leading up to change that Ms. du Plessis elaborated on.
1. Interdependency, the fact that we rely on the connections between us and nature. For example, if all the bees in the world suddenly died, we could expect that in 3-4 years we too would die, from starvation. That to me is an amazing and scary thought. To think, that an insect we hardly ever consider in the greater picture of humanity is so vital to our existence! “We are a part of nature therefore we must act like nature” du Plessis said, because “the world is an extension of the self.”
What can we do then, to reconnect with, and help, nature regenerate? We can live by the Golden Rule. Hearing her say this made me stop and think, “do I do this with nature?” Do I consider the bigger role bees, dandelions even water plays in my existence, and do I respect it and treat it, the way I expect it to treat me? It might sound crazy to reflect on it at first, but it isn’t, and it’s a good question to ask yourself!
“The outcomes of our actions should contribute to: Well being, Nourishment, Regeneration and Resilience.” du Plessis
2. Emergence. We must act now, rather than do as past generations have, and wait for the next generation to “fix” our problems. We are already experiencing the global problems of previous generations, we can’t expect that the future generations can make the changes to resolve the issues, it has to start with us.
3. Responsive: We must acknowledge the dynamic relationship between the earth and ourselves!
Finally, when these three themes have been realized, and acted upon, we have CHANGE. The change though, ultimately begins with ourselves. We have to decide that it is important that we first start making changes, because all we really can control is ourselves. How can you/we do this. It’s simple! Consider everything you do, and the effect it has on the larger scale/global outcome of the world. Things from voting, buying practices to all the choices you make everyday; how much water you use, the insects you kill, the plants you plant…everything!
Ms. du Plessis suggested that, “we all need a vision” and to, “move from commandments to commitments”. Consider a list. Just for today I will…
Most importantly, we have to understand that regeneration is not going backward, but rather moving forward and making positive changes in our environment. We can’t undo what has already been done. Instead we have to LEARN FROM NATURE! We can look around and see how, even though we have changed our environment by building things and removing what was once was natural; nature has come back and has utilized the alterations we have made to continue surviving and regenerating.
I hope that in reading this summary, you too are inspired to start making changes, or at least look into other talks/articles by Ms. du Plessis! You can start here:
Also, I came across this interesting article by the Journal of Sustainablity Education, titled: “Navigating a Geography of Sustainability Worldviews: A Developmental Map”