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Why Ecosystem Restoration Is So Important for Regenerative Business Models

We need abundant resources, resources, resources… but there is more to it

Picture credit: from the documentary Green Gold by John D. Liu. Used with permission.

My writing about the new, regenerative business models of our century interests a lot of people. However, few people realize that ecosystem restoration will always need to be part of these models.

We need to change our thinking from scarcity to abundance. This is important because it will create positive spirals instead of remaining stuck in the negative ones. We need innovation with the technologies nature gives us: (quantum) physics, biology, and green chemistry. We need abundant resources to survive on a finite planet.


But there is more to it: we need to face the fact that we, humans, are part of nature. We do not own it, it does not exist just to serve us. We now treat nature as a commodity. And that is a big part of the problem, a big part of the current crisis we are in.

We need to find our humility again. We need to restore the damage done in the past decades and start being earth stewards. The good news is that there are already working examples of a regenerative economy. And the rewards are worth fighting for: multiple value streams. Not just money, but also other important values like clean air, healthy drinking water, and social justice.

These value streams will serve all species. We will find the positive spiral of nature when we restore ecosystems and learn together how to find local ways how to live within these ecosystems without destroying them.

Degraded Environment

Let’s start with a fact that is denied by no one: our environment has been degraded. The United Nations International Strategy for Disaster Reduction defines environmental degradation as “the reduction of the capacity of the environment to meet social and ecological objectives, and needs.”

Perhaps people think this is just a fact in desertified areas in the (sub)tropics, but I’m afraid it’s all around us. In Europe and the USA, you might argue that social objectives are met by wealth and GDP figures, although some rightly say that social justice is not measured here.

But whatever way you look at it, ecological needs are definitely suffering if you read the reports about biodiversity loss and insects dying.

(GRAPHIC) G. Grullón; (DATA) M. Sorg et al., 2013-Entomologischer Verein Krefeld, Germany. The context can be found in this article in Science Magazine.

Good news: we can do better!

Many groups argue that the Anthropocene is the cause of this. We live in an age dominated by human presence. We, humans, have a significa