The transition from sustainable to regenerative development




Sutainable development, regenerative development, Sustainable Development Goals, Earth System Science, planetary boundaries, carrying capacity, natural resources


There is an international consensus that our generation is facing a convergence of multiple crises and that the same mindset that has created this convergence is incapable of solving it.  Paradigms evolve and shift when the prevailing frameworks are unable to explain and address new anomalies in development processes. For some, the sustainability concept fails to offer guidance on how to arbitrate between the conflicting drivers of economic growth, planetary boundaries and social justice. The concept of nine Planetary Boundaries (PB) involving Earth system processes which humanity should aim to operate safely, include global biogeochemical cycles (nitrogen, phosphorus, carbon and water), the major physical circulation systems of the planet (the climate, stratosphere and ocean systems), marine and terrestrial biodiversity and anthropogenic forcing (aerosol loading and chemical pollution). According to recent research, four of the nine planetary boundaries had been crossed due to the adverse impacts of human activities. The solution is the regenerative concept manifested in the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which implies locally adaptable, resource conserving policies, activities and products, carefully tailored to the biocultural uniqueness of each location. Regenerative design is grounded in a deep understanding of the integral and interdependent nature of living systems, providing viable management solutions for economies in order to not exceed the environmental, social and economic carrying capacity of ecosystems.


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How to Cite

East, M. (2020). The transition from sustainable to regenerative development. Ecocycles, 6(1), 106–109.