Restorative Economy


Traditional modern approaches to human progress and development sought to map out phenomena to understand the properties of life. This led to specialized fields that were increasingly isolated from each other. The goal and result of this specialization was commodification - how can we take apart nature so as to master it? There was little concern to how we were affecting the interrelatedness of these systems as we were taking them apart on both a local and planetary level.

Now there is rising desire among more socially and ecologically conscious folks to map out how human and natural systems interact with each other so we can understand how our economy is altering the ecology, and make the necessary changes to create a modern, sustainable global economy. An important aspect of this involves the building of knowledge bases that allow humanity to adapt itself to the techniques nature uses to regenerate andrestore the integrity of natural systems, what Paul Hawken in the book The Ecology of Commerce calls the restorative economy.

Sustainable design is a way of designing systems that are sustainable in terms of how they use resources. This involves rethinking manufacturing and resource cultivation processes and creating a built environment and industrial base that by mimicking natural processes can more harmoniously interact with nature (for more see biomimickry). The science of restorative systemsand restorative economics goes beyond the creation of sustainable design because it is a process for restoringecosystems degraded by unsustainable economic activities.


Western agriculture relies on crop monocultures involving large plantations or farms and a high level of inputs including petroleum, chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers and as well as expensive farm implements. Sustainable alternatives such asbiodynamic agriculture, bio-intensive agriculture and permaculture are all economically viable alternatives to Western agriculture that are not only sustainable but can restore degraded ecosystems.

Laury hamme is co founder of the Business Alliance of Local Living Economiciesor (BALLE). BALLE seeks to transform commerce through the power of small and mid-size businesses. Judy Wicks is also part of the BALLE network, she says Philadelphia and other communities are inventorying various building blocks that make up a local living economy things like: 
o Food systems
o Clothing
o Energy
o Financial capital

 

America's Role

America's economic future lies in the development of this new economic model developing technologies to effective harness the full human and resource potential that is still relatively untapped in developed regions and developed regions as well: 
1. Training and capacity building in relation to basic needs—shelter, clean water, nutrition, health care and education 
2. Cultivate revenues for sustainable communities around the world that are value added which means that the raw materials are processed and packaged at the point of production in developing regions not at the point of use in developed regions.
3. ICT related export services to peripheral regions that add to the core values of these regions.

The establishment of aprototype Unity Center Ecovillage in the US will demonstrate this new economic model and how it applies to the US and adapting the existing infrastructure to this new paradigm.

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