A Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge is the exact initiative that our state needs to be behind in the face of the dire consequences of climate-systems disruption.
The Buckminster Fuller Institute launches various challenges that encourage creators of whole-systems to succinctly communicate their potential, and I routinely take advantage of these exercises. I was finishing up my response to the most recent challenge when an email stating that government organizations scheduled to hold a listening session in Mitchell County had been diverted to Ocracoke Island in response to the devastation of hurricane Dorian. I highlighted sections that directly speak to the responsibility of manufacturing in light of the climate crisis and shared the information with local and state leaders. We all have the capacity to do something about climate change.
- Indicate in one or two sentences the essence of your idea.
The essence of this idea responds to climate-system-disruption with regenerative manufacturing. It grounds the emerging field of Regenerative Development through the formation of a Regenerative Source Guild. The initiative enacts the power of a regenerative supply-chain with right-fit/right-time benefits to humans + nature.
- Why is your idea an unconventional or creative approach to the problem you are addressing?
This initiative is unconventional, creative and credible with third-party verified aspects. Through earning the world’s first and only Cradle to Cradle PLATINUM level certification, Bark House has proven that MANUFACTURING is possible in the circular economy. Because we followed wisdom found in nature, we are demonstrating that manufacturing can approach a regenerative scale. Ours has been an unconventional approach because over the last 30 years we define ROI not by the resources we amass, but in relation to every single organism that we touch – as nature does. A company of our size should not have the resources to accomplish what larger companies have found impossible through conventional methodologies – to create benefits for air, water, soil, and people. We aim to share these methods with other nature-based businesses and grow the benefits and support the reversal of climate change.
- In what way does the proposed innovation reflect inclusive stakeholding (with specific attention paid to stakeholders who do not have a voice), alignment of interests, vested interdependent interests, and goal congruence?
We are developing a regenerative supply chain that accounts for stakeholders at every level in the process. This includes families who own small farms and will see their land enhanced through mixed-use timbering and permaculture, 2-3 person eco-logging crews who select-cut micro parcels in a a way that respects living forests, nature-based businesses (service and product makers) who demand and invest in a regenerative supply chain and who enact regenerative manufacturing practices, supportive organizations and institutions, and it includes clients in the emerging field of regenerative development. Bark House is a nodal participant in this process, as we intimately interact with all levels identified. A loss of voice is a critical aspect, evident in every level noted and more poignant because we are in Appalachia where a pervasive (and invasive) set of challenges exists. The sub-set that is most disenfranchised and most vulnerable to the loss of voice is the loggers.
- In what ways does the existing system exhibit perverse incentives or misalignment of interests?
A perversion of human understanding occurred when the dominating force of human over nature became possible during the Industrial Revolution. The power of piece-milled assembly lines housed in looming factories and subsequent financial return seduced the world into a vicious economy of taking and a personalized identity of consumerism. But today, Nature stands defiant in response to perverse methodologies, and her disruptions through climate-system change are increasing. Business was the driving force for a misalignment of human interest. Business can become a force to be regenerative.
- In what ways would the proposed innovation improve the well-being of individuals, immediate communities, and the global community?
If the voice of these loggers spoke truth for all the stakeholders of the guild, we would, at last, hear the wisdom of balance found within human+nature and realize they held most tight to this promise in sacrifice and wait for our humanity to return. They (most evidently) and we also cannot physiologically or spiritually be separated from nature. We cannot harm nature without harm done to ourselves. Logging practices can be ecologically based, the strategy of trees upheld and honored through the manufacturing process and this beauty enlivened through regenerative development. This restores our essence in harmony and creates a circle of connection that our soul longs for. Economic opportunity and manufacturing is the catalyst to regeneration, not a tool of extraction.
- What are the potential risks, including outlier risks, of the proposed innovation?
There are many risks in a paradigm shift. One is in stakeholders abandoning the framework methodology before the potential is realized. The risk is that stakeholders many become too excited to wait to act at the appropriate time or too tethered to old patterns that they disengage. The safety net in doing this within a group is that the dynamic of group-brain actually lessens the blow as the field for the paradigm shift grows. It is critical that regenerative practitioners understand the risk and the dynamic creating it. To do so, it is helpful to view a model that informs us about this process and can be applied in micro to macro scales. Kazimierz Dąbrowski’s human development positive-disintegration model provides this insight. Dabrowski heralds the integral role of psychological discomfort in human development and theorizes about why some choose to go through it. The trailblazers of change must be equipped to transcend this state in order to realize the potential on the other side of it. Another risk is fear in the face of something so unrecognized or unknown. This is another reason that the process can seem slow to those who are excited to do something. Realizing the potential of living systems does not often occur overnight. But when stakeholders see the magnanimity of demonstrated benefits, they realize the process is worth the investment.
- What is the implementation and distribution strategy for the innovation?
One beauty of a living systems model is that as new nutrients or the lack of nutrients occurs – the framework allows shifts in responses to support continued growth. At this time, an implementation strategy is in play and looks like this: Bark House created fertile soil with all stakeholder groups through years of trust-building and creating demonstrated benefits for human+nature. We aim to share these benefits on a larger scale through the formation of a Regenerative Source Guild of the Blue Ridge. Various stakeholder groups will meet individually and work together with Regenesis Group to build a supportive field for the RSGBR. Core stakeholders will emerge and continue to actively participate in the guild. Stakeholder groups include: Forestry and Economic Organizations, educational institutions, small logger groups, landowners, nature-based business owners and clients. Organizations and institutions with the mission to support forest initiatives will receive front-line data as to how to fulfill their missions. Landowners will receive multi-strategy land management plans that include perma-culture, under-canopy crops, bird sanctuaries, and micro-parcel timber plans. Small loggers will receive needed support for their craft and further training in eco-logging practices. Nature-based businesses (service providers and product makers) will commit to supporting a regenerative source and changing manufacturing strategies to themselves participate in this regenerative process. Consumers will be informed along a journey to themselves becoming regenerates. In this strategy, every voice matters.