There’s a level of communication here that is available should we wish to tap into it. Communication with trees – to say nothing of communication with each other, partnership with each other, the sense of brotherhood and sisterhood we have with each other… We are family. There’s this sense that what we’re basically doing is co-creating aliveness, restoring, healing, replenishing, renewing, revitalizing, all of that. All this involves live engagement, where we sense our relation to all of life and we are actively relating to things. Things aren’t commodities. And people are not just citizens, consumers, producers, whatever… These are all real unique lives. We are to appreciate them, respect them, help them and their human and natural communities be alive, resilient and adaptable.
Celebrate the life and enhance the dynamics there, the ability for emergent things to show up. Fit things together, synergize them, ecologize them, weave them into living wholes that you are part of. There’s a co-evolution, a sense that we are all working towards the benefit of all living things, accessing aliveness in and for all things.
There is a participatory partnership, a co-creative fundamental assumption underlying this, with a sense of community. Daniel Christian Wahl – who is one of the leading current voices on this perspective – observes that “the community of life that creates conditions conducive to life”. We need to rejoin that community. Ecologists understand that all the elements of ecosystems are in a very real sense working together to create the conditions for them to all flourish. We can have a role in that if we choose to.
It is not just “lifecycle”; it is cycles of aliveness. This applies most fundamentally to our relations with nature, but perhaps most immediately to our relations with each other and to the communities that we are part of. What is it like to come from a participatory place of relatedness, of respect, of appreciation, and perhaps most basically co-creation? We are all co-creating what happens next. We are all co-creating the conditions that we all live in. We are co-creating each other in really fundamental ways.
So this is a mindset and a worldview. It’s a life practice, something to grow into, individually, in groups and in communities. It’s also a design practice. People who design agricultural systems, people who design houses and communities, how do you do it in the spirit of participation, co-creation and respect. And there are technologies that are extractive and there are technologies that are sustainable – and there are technologies that are regenerative, that bring more life into whatever the situation is. That’s where this is coming from.
It’s actually very big, very broad, and it helps us to perceive, be with and respond to what’s going on with extractive dynamics. We see a lot of that all around us, grounded in its fundamental idea of unlimited growth, of profit, of using nature and other people as resources. That whole consciousness is very different from the sustainability approach, which respects people’s and nature’s limits and avoids doing harm. And beyond that is regenerativity and resilience and participating in Life’s vast aliveness, and playing our role in regenerating more life over and over again and enhancing the aliveness of the systems and people and life forms that we are engaged with.