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Holistic communications in food in health

From fighting disease to promoting health

#RegenerativeCommunications

For many years, there has been a noticeable shift in consumer behaviours towards holistic, natural, and complementary nutrition and medicine. This movement has resulted in an important growth in the market share of organic foods and regenerative agriculture, traditional medicine (Ayurveda, Traditional Chinese Medicine, Naturopathy, Homeopathy etc.), as well as holistic therapeutical health support. However, providers face unique communication and PR challenges in a landscape that is often dominated by conventional approaches. In this article, we will explore the challenges holistic actors encounter, and discuss the potential of a regenerative approach to communications and marketing for these sectors.

"We can re-empower, re-enchant, and re-vitalise our relationship to health through new ways of sensing, speaking, and spinning in our communications."

Jean-Philippe Steeger
Founder of Perspectivist

Today’s health and food sectors in Western economies face important systemic challenges. At the latest with the Covid-19 pandemic, public health services have been increasingly unable to respond to the record growth in civilizational diseases, including a mental health pandemic. Across indicators, we can see an accelerating degeneration of physical and mental health. The interconnectedness of human and planetary health becomes increasingly visible, as confirmed by the 2023 Lancet Countdown on health and climate change.

Furthermore, today’s industrial approach to food and agriculture requires ever more subsidies, energy, synthetic fertilisers, and technology to compensate decreasing productivity and soil health. Rather than sequestrating carbon and providing healthy foods, the sector harms climate, biodiversity, and human health. Agriculture today is the source of 30% of global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. The monocultures of production are reflected by monocultures in the way of speaking about food and agriculture.

At the same time, despite a great need for healing and better food, holistic offers to promote health and food quality face multiple challenges: artificial narratives, an unfavorable legal context, the variable trustworthiness of products and services, fragmented community-engagement, as well as a poor and confusing information and support infrastructure. Knowing this, what is the role of communications in tapping into the healing potential of food and nutrition?

The story: beyond the separation of health and food

Underlying the modern Western approach to health is the focus on “fighting disease” at a symptom-level and the departmentalization of health into separate categories (e.g. mental vs. physical). Food and medicine have been approached in separation, despite being tightly interconnected. Furthermore, root causes such as consumerist lifestyles, environmental degradation, different kinds of pollution, social isolation, toxic industrial foods, and poor communications find little consideration.

The focus of most Western health agendas, the design of agricultural and health systems, and therapeutic landscapes remains anchored in a world view that sees health as the absence of disease. This narrative legitimizes war instruments to “fight disease” in humans and on farms: from toxic synthetic pesticides to a heavy and increasingly regular use of medicines with significant side effects.

The commodification of health and food has led to the sidelining of healing factors in modern PR on health and food: community life (incl. food), an ecosystemic perspective on health, the consideration of the role of healers and farmers in society, personal thrivability, emotional wisdoms, as well as personally and collectively meaningful ways of relating to food and health. Today, it is quite profitable – and promulgated as normal - to sell products poisoning soils together with the solutions to resulting diseases, as some multinational food-pharma mergers may have indicated. These are essentially challenging conditions for a nevertheless growing holistic health and food sector.

Regenerative perspectives on health and soil

Holistic approaches to health and food are rooted in ancient wisdoms, and enriched by modern scientific knowledge in agriculture, medicine, and interdisciplinary research. Today, actors communicating around a holistic approach to food and health can contribute to creating win-win-win situations for their ecosystem, their communities and themselves. Together, we can re-empower, re-enchant, and re-vitalise our relationship to health through new ways of sensing, speaking, and spinning in our communications. Only that can re-fertilise the conditions for holistic actors to thrive.

Furthermore, regenerative innovation happens by listening to and integrating complementary perspectives from the fringes (e.g. perspectives from nature, women, indigenous people, LGBTIQ, disabled etc.). For instance, the rather recent Western re-discovery and detailed study of the gut microbiome (“second brain”) as key to health, and in tight interconnection with soil health, was known in Ayurveda for 4000 years already. To tap into the regenerative food and medical potential, there are recurring socio-cultural communication patterns that have been impeding healing and the thrivability of the food and health sectors.

Challenges for Communications and Marketing on Food and Health

1. A toxic attention economy
One of the primary challenges is the perception of holistic products and services. Within the context of a highly artificial and toxic attention landscape (online and offline), there has been a normalization of toxic products and processes. Nature has been commodified and marketed as a luxury product. Polluted and destroyed soils, waterways, human bodies, and other species - violence is made to appear as “normal”, now under the label "natural". Communications are increasingly devoid of meaning, healing and aliveness. For holistically working actors, these conditions leave little time and space for what matters to them. Turning to traditional marketing may however just further fuel an industry with a track record of creating illusions to market toxic products. Instead, it may be time to “pay” attention to what serves healing and thriving in our stories, conversations, marketing practice, and attention landscapes.

2. Eroding trust in nature
Coming to holistic and natural medicines and foods, a significant share of media coverage and health influencers question their efficacy, benefits, and market share - especially when presented in opposition to conventional products and services. For medication, this stands against evidence that pharmaceutical industries face great distrust. In the US, 58% hold negative views in a Gallup survey. and only 13% of consumers were found to completely trust pharmaceutical industries. Even in the West, a significant share of the population trusts natural remedies more than laboratory-made medicine (58% in the US ). Yet, PR often presents them as marginal, although their market share is important and growing (34% market share, 25% annual growth rate). Promoting unhealthy foods and excessive synthetic pharmaceutical consumption for growing markets has therefore focused on framing nature-connected approaches as marginal (e.g.: unscientific, hippie, it’s just wellness, just for rich, just for women, or just for weak people).

3. Legal and financial hurdles
The organic and regenerative agriculture sector often faces disproportionate regulation and poor funding. In the EU, industrial agriculture is heavily subsidized and protected. Such hurdles can make it difficult to work in ways that represent the essence of a holistic value proposition. Natural, complementary, and alternative medicine products are made to often operate in a regulatory gray area. Legislation, public authorities, and insurers often one-sidedly favour conventional pharmaceutical industries. Lastly, both sectors have in common that most public funding is available to incumbent market leaders, despite contrasting evidence regarding the impact on health, society, nature, and climate.

4. Disoriented patients and consumers
The adoption of healthier and more holistic approaches to medicine and nutrition require awareness, education, and practice. Conventionally, users are offered quick-fixes and little education about health and food, from education to marketing. Furthermore, in Western cultures, the relationship to the own emotions, subconsciousness and body only comes to the attention at a very late stage – when we “fall” sick. Contributing to a better, community-based, information infrastructure, as well as self- and peer-learning opportunities can create more fertile conditions for holistic offers. Furthermore, by offering such orientation, providers can benefit from creating more sustainable relationships with different communities.

5. Separating the health and agriculture agendas from nature and society
In many ways, the modern economy often capitalizes on the artificial creation of scarcity and disease. It is well-evidenced that the deterioration of our climate, nature and social well-being has a great deteriorative impact on our health. However, poor physical and mental health are also contributing to the perpetuation of harmful trends. Clarifying the ecosystemic relationships between health, climate, nature, and society is thus a key precondition to make the case for natural and holistic products and services in health and nutrition. Siloed approaches have so far led only to further fragmentation of communication spaces. Providers in these areas can contribute in sharpening the narrative on planetary and human health, as well as their role in it.

Promoters of holistic, natural, and complementary nutrition and medicine face nothing less than systems change. The increasingly visible incoherence and limitations of the current approach to health and food is an opportunity to narrate a different story to inspire transformational action. However, much of today’s communications and marketing in these sectors operate from the same mindset that have contributed to these harmful trends in the first place. Against that background, regenerative communications propose a living-systems perspective that embraces healing and thriving by design.

How regenerative communications contribute to shifting the story on health and food:

1. Shifting the Narrative: it’s about healing and thriving
Holistic actors can contribute to the shift in the narrative about health and food in Western cultures. Starting with drawing the root causes of today’s record levels of diseases, communications can challenge how health is covered today in media, politics and among market actors. Such regenerative storytelling will by essence integrate personal and collective embodiment, sensations, emotions, and the quest for healing and nature-connection. By deepening, diversifying, and integrating perspectives on health, new opportunities can appear to create more fertile conditions for holistic offers. Furthermore, narratives can use the role of imagination to bring communities, providers, and other stakeholders together to prepare transformative action in relevant areas.

What if we shifted the narrative to focus on health?


2. Making consumers an ally for innovation and impact

Many consumers today feel overwhelmed, disoriented, and disengaged around food and health. One factor are PR strategies that aim at seeding confusion, doubt, and disengagement with regards to regenerative, sustainable, holistic, organic, nature-based, integrative approaches to health and nutrition. In advertisement, fear-based instant gratification is often used to sell harmful products. Today’s marketing and PR strategies around health may have further contributed to an alienation between healers/farmers and patients/consumers, as well as with public health authorities. By listening to the real needs of patients and customers, involving them in product development, and giving visibility to their stories, there is great transformative potential. Indeed, they can become a partner in creating more fertile conditions in the market, in policymaking, via health insurances, as well as in media narratives. Lastly, showing genuine interest in the concerns of users that are skeptical about holistic approaches can improve the own communications with these groups.

What transformative insights do consumer stories have?


3. Building communities of users to ground success

Rather than focusing on markets, holistic providers can build communities of users to anchor their success and innovation capacity in communities and places. This allows for authentic and reciprocal exchanges for both users and providers. Beyond just engaging users with the brand, it can also give important information about how to market and develop products, engage other stakeholders, or find new team members. From a user-perspective, engaging in a community can become part of a healing and learning journey. Their transformational stories are likely to inspire others to join as well. Activities can include community building, educational offerings, or associated services like health coaching.


What is the role of community in your value proposition?

4. Moving beyond the level-playing field
Despite the huge costs to public health systems, individual health and the planet, many harmful practices are today subsidized and legally protected. To ground the success of holistic approaches to health and food, it is important to refertilise the conditions. Besides advocating for a more supportive financial and regulatory framework, holistic health alliances can engage stakeholders more sustainably and purposefully. Such alliances can amplify the impact by bringing together innovators among users, health services, suppliers, and providers. For a real paradigm shift however, a deeper exploration of the wisdom from fringe perspectives on health, including disadvantaged groups and nature is needed.


Which role do fringe perspectives play in creating a thriving health and food systems?

Conclusion and opening

Holistic providers of health and food face unique challenges in the contemporary marketing and PR landscape, but a regenerative approach can ground success where it is needed, while unlocking new possibilities. By shifting the narrative, building communities, and weaving a new story for thriving food and health systems, new opportunities for the transition can arise. This not only benefits the providers themselves but also contributes to the overall well-being of personal, social, economic, ecologic, and planetary health.

Reinventing policy communications – embracing living systems perspectives in Public Affairs

Reinventing policy communications

#RegenerativeCommunications

The political world has a great impact - from environmental and social standards to public investment decisions and rules for businesses. Today, the Public Affairs and policymaking landscape is dominated by narratives, actors, and strategies of an extractive economy. Holistic responses to our interconnected crises, as well as sustainability advances in key policy areas risk marginalization by narrow and short-minded interests. Against that background, how can sustainable and regenerative forces practice more transformative ways of approaching power?

"From a militaristic mindset and language requiring war tactics to a bias towards decontextualised facts leading to poor decision-making wisdom – the Public Affairs sector today may contribute to the challenges it is supposed to tackle."

Jean-Philippe Steeger
Founder of Perspectivist

We know that we can’t solve a problem with the same way of thinking that created it in the first place, Einstein reminds us. In the Public Affairs world, there is however a great monoculture of people, thought and practice. Many of today’s lobbying strategies were inspired by the tobacco industry script – “fabricating” scientific truths, shifting the focus of the debate, up to blaming others. Whether a business, an NGO, or a professional federation, there is little variety in the nature of lobbying, influencing, and campaigning. From a militaristic mindset and language (strategy, targeting, positioning etc.) requiring war tactics to a bias towards decontextualised facts leading to poor decision-making wisdom – the sector today may contribute to the challenges it is supposed to tackle.

While evidence-based advocacy has become dominant to make more rational decision-making, we see the opposite happening today. Lies, confusing narratives, fear-mongering and other dirty PR tricks lead not only to disinformation, but primarily to disengagement, fear, aggression, and (silent) resignation. Together with a generally decreasing attention span in our communication age, this makes it extra difficult to bring forward a positive vision. Not least, employees working in the area face often poor mental health, a lack of meaning at work, as well as much unrealized potential for being part of a greater mission and greater movement of change beyond traditional silos.

Which potential could regenerative communications unleash by bringing more aliveness, alignment and meaningfulness into Public Affairs and policy-making more largely? What is the role of different stakeholders in becoming part of a regenerative story that moves beyond a toxic status-quo? And which concrete communication pathways are opening when we recognize the need for more consciousness, creativity, and compassion? How could that impact policy reports, policy events, stakeholder alliances or policy journalism?

Key challenges of policy communications and public affairs today

Aliveness beyond morbidity
While the diversity of interests and arguments expressed in policymaking can seem enormously complex, the patterns are often similar. From lobbying strategies to dominant narratives adopted by different groups of stakeholders – many communications are exclusive, repetitive, disconnected from reality, up to dehumanizing and morbid. The “ghosts of the past” seem to be back. This leaves little (head and heart) space to those that actually have something to say.

Standing out beyond monotony
With a great complexity of actors and agendas in the Public Affairs landscape, there is a need for clarifying the own role and contribution to the ecosystem. Furthermore, it can prove key to learn how to cooperate with stakeholders and allies to have visibility, create synergies, share resources, and activate greater potential. And why not be more creative in approaching lobbying?

Meaning beyond emptiness
The same kinds of events, arguments, and narratives often come back in slightly different shapes. With the frequent fragmentation and misalignment between policy-areas, there is a lack in a coherent, meaningful, and shared narrative that can bring agendas and actors together. Today, everyone speaks about “ambition”, but little happens. Adjusting policy communications and PR to a powerful and shared narrative that inspires action can be game-changing.

Reaching beyond the minds
While evidence-based advocacy continues to play a role, today’s age of information overload requires speaking to not only the mind, but also the heart and intuition of stakeholders. Being able to reach relevant stakeholders requires personally enlivening, meaningful, and enriching communications in fertile contexts. Within a polluted attention economy, it is key to create such enabling contexts.

Engaging beyond exclusion
Affected groups from policy impacts are only seldomly and shallowly involved in the policy-process. If they do, selected stakeholders rarely reflect marginalized perspectives. Particularly lobbying voices by organisations of women, LGBTIQ, migrants, the Global South, youth, disabled people, SMEs, as well as creative, social, or ecological sectors are disproportionally heard. Bringing these voices in increases legitimacy, insight, and collective impact around a greater mission.

Gathering beyond interest
Lobbyists and policymakers are people. They have values and dreams, and want to be part of a greater story that gives them meaning and energises their action. While lobbying was always also about human contact, today’s challenges additionally require honesty, passion, and courage to move beyond a destructive status-quo - together. There is a great longing for deeper conversations and more community-based ways of relating. This has implications for the design of events or alliances.

The transition towards healthier ways of practicing power also question the way we understand and talk about power. Both in political science and lobbying, there was a diversification of the understanding of power from “power over” (violence) to “knowledge as power” (evidence-based) to “power with” (participation and deliberation). If we understand politics and policy as part of larger systems, and if we recognize that nature has been systematically excluded from these approaches, then we may need a living systems approach to power that can transcend these previous ways of seeing power.

The regenerative paradigm offers important insights on how to integrate politically marginalized perspectives from nature, the feminine, indigenous wisdoms, emotional realities, and many others into healthier practices of power. Beyond reproducing past toxic patterns of lobbying and policymaking, we are invited to explore our own biases and role. Regenerative communications offer fresh pathways for clarifying and rewriting the narratives we speak from, enabling conversations that are transformational, and distilling the unique essence and contribution of leaders, organisations, and stakeholders to the policy ecosystem.

How regenerative communications can re-envision policy processes

Shifting the policy narratives
Regenerative storytelling can be a powerful way to co-create narratives that ground policymaking in realities, bring stakeholders on board, and provide meaning and orientation. This thread translates through communication channels, policy agendas and PA activities. Beyond integrating standardized scripts, formulations, and facts, it is about expressing the unique essence of an organization. By challenging greater narratives, new allies can also emerge on the way.

Embracing a dynamic role
Revisiting the role of your organization within the Public Affairs ecosystem implies clarifying its purpose, recalling its history, and envisioning a thriving future for the organization as part of the transition to a sustainable and regenerative economy. This is more than positioning - it is becoming a more aligned and alive version of yourself. Regenerative Branding can help to distill this unique role and essence, which can be seen as a backbone or compass for all subsequent (policy) communications.

Empowering alliances of transformation
Alliances and stakeholder networks in policymaking today usually have clearly predefined functions. What if gathering bright people from diverse backgrounds could open to greater potential? If we are to leave behind toxic notions of power, we must learn to step into the unknown. Collectively, that means learning to have conversations that can “sit with” better questions, rather than jumping to narrow solutions that create new problems. On the way, the learnings can inspire other change-makers, with positive ripple effects around your purpose.

Accounting to the reality of complex policy ecosystems, different levels of action need to be addressed. To ensure coherence, Perspectivist clarifies the Essence of an organization across six dimensions (incl. role, dream, and roots). The emerging role then informs fertile communication pathways in attention landscapes (with stakeholders, agendas, niches etc.). Lastly, Perspectivist looks at the greater picture in the form of (meta-)narratives present in policymaking processes. Integrating these three levels can make sure to ground Public Affairs success in real-world needs of communities, nature, and our personal wellbeing. Perspectivist’s regenerative communications approach integrates marginalized groups and perspectives by design. This means that potentially innovative, alternative pathways, are systematically included in client work. It should be noted that such a shift to regenerative communications requires honesty, passion, and conviction.

Shifting the story of tourism – how regenerative communications can reenchant a tired sector

Shifting the story of tourism

#RegenerativeCommunications


Our world is at a turning point and so are tourism communications. Pandemics and other business risks challenge today’s mainstream approach to tourism. More and more communities and customers are rejecting its harmful forms. At the same time, there is a great longing for transformative experiences, positive impacts, and a sense of belonging and beauty. Regenerative communications offer fresh perspectives to operators, destination managers and hosting communities for supporting the shift towards regenerative tourism.

“The planet cannot afford to resume previously unsustainable levels of tourism. These previous levels of tourism, the level of resources required to power it, and the emissions it produces are not consistent with the survival of the planet.”

Dianne Dredge
Regenerative Tourism and Design Thinking, Tourism Collab, 2021

Today’s tourism industry stands at a crossroads. Business viability is increasingly threatened by interconnected and multiplying risks, including terrorism, the cost-of-living crisis, extreme weather events, the destruction of the natural environment the business depends on, social conflicts in the local community, civilizational diseases and pandemics, as well as geopolitical factors. In their report on Regenerative Tourism for Destination Canada, Michelle Holliday and Bill Reed also identify worker shortages, disaggregated marketing channels, ever expanding digital technologies, and vulnerability to disruption and perpetual change. Through storytelling, case studies, and a powerful narrative, their report draws new pathways for tourism.

From a business perspective, customer expectations are shifting and diversifying. Yet, many touristic offers sell standardized experiences that create disconnection of the tourist from the place, its local community, and a personal enrichment. The fierce competition in the sector has contributed to a lack of future-preparedness and only incremental action to improve the impact on nature and local communities. However, “while sustainable tourism does endeavour to alleviate the negative social-ecological impacts of tourism, an enduring criticism is that merely striving to do less harm within tourism is considered inadequate and insufficient“, as pointed out by Chassagne and Everingham (2019).

Beyond just doing less harm, a regenerative approach offers fertile pathways to tourism. By grounding economic prosperity in communities in place, it can integrate different needs and open to greater potential for healing and thriving. For actors working in the field, this means to work on setting the conditions in which communications can help the tourist ecosystem, including the operators and customers, thrive.

What regenerative tourism offers

• The multiple crisis we are facing require a transition from an extractive mass tourism model vulnerable to risks towards resilient models that benefit the local economy, communities and natural environment.

• Cultivating a place-based culture of hospitality in the hosting community for guests to feel welcome and experience a unique sense of belonging and beauty

Communicating about the unique essence of the cultural character, community spirit and geography, which nourishes residents, enriches and enchants tourists, and attracts supportive resources.

• Growing demand for deep, unique and immersive experiences that are profoundly meaningful, as well as environmentally and socially responsible.

integrating and developing touristic offerings that provide the tourist with opportunities for learning, healing, greater vitality, and the development of personal and professional potential.

inviting the potential of a place beyond the limits of the status quo through imagination, co-creation and a common story of transformation that the hosting community and tourists can become part of.

The transition to regenerative tourism is also a shift in the way we communicate and relate. Regenerative communications offer important insights on how tourism can foster a sense of belonging, speak about a place’s essence, and connect stakeholders around a new story in which conditions are set for a thriving, place-sourced and community-based, touristic model.

Operators, destination managers, and communities each have a role to play in identifying their unique role in tourism, and learning to co-create beyond destructive competition. It requires a shared sense of meaningfulness, shared communication practices, and a common dream, to activate energy for the shift to regenerative tourism.

How regenerative communications support the shift in tourism

Revisiting the touristic value proposition to account to expectations for deeper experiences through an embodied and expressed sense of being, belonging and beauty.

Tapping into the abundance of diversity, while honoring communities' unique needs, expectations, and communication styles.

• Integrating a brand’s story into the history of the place by clarifying its role and honoring the culture, natural habitat, wisdom of elders, and communities inhabiting the place.

Developing community-based and place-sourced communications to promote touristic offers, engage (potential) tourists, and offer a meaningful story about the experience.

Understanding what people love about the place and care about. What are the stories of residents and tourists about the place that conveys its unique character?

bringing stakeholders together through narration, conversations, and other forms of communication, to tap into the collective potential of the touristic ecosystem and develop reciprocal, mutual benefits for operators, tourists, and the place.

To conclude, regenerative communications can be an important factor in the shift to a form of tourism that promotes aliveness, healing, and benefits to the larger ecosystem. Beyond often toxic marketing practices in tourism today, this approach can foster greater alignment, coherence, and mutual understanding. Lastly, learning to speak about the integration of more-than-human wisdom and other marginalized perspectives can give great insights on new ways of working, business model innovation, and service development grounded in real-world needs.

The essences of regenerative communications

BLOG

The essences of regenerative communications

#RegenerativeCommunications

What we focus our attention on becomes our lived reality. Today’s toxic attention economy increasingly commodifies and monopolises how we make sense of the world, how we relate with each other, how we understand our own role on this planet. Industrialised identities, behavioural patterns, and dreams are sold on attention marketplaces dominated by big tech companies. We can buy solutions to problems others created for us. We can buy into manufactured realities that are disconnected to what is alive in us. How can we re-embrace communications as a force that helps us thrive?

"Regenerative communications can help us move beyond what seems impossible in today’s polluted, sterile, and heartless attention economy."

Communications today are characterized by increasing levels of polarization, fragmentation and atomization. Maybe as a natural response to the unprecedented destruction of natural and social ecosystems, our ways of communicating seem to be increasingly careless, aggressive and/or fearful. Qualities like deep listening, gratitude or imagination have become scarce. Perhaps unsurprisingly, we face a mental health and hopelessness pandemic.

This toxic soil of communications today is nourished by the traumas of the past. Most of today’s marketing, advertisement and PR industries are capitalizing on patterns of instant gratification, restlessness, addiction, fears, and a general sense of “not-enoughness” to make people do something they wouldn’t intuitively. At the same time, modern communication landscapes give little visibility to marginalized voices, ancient wisdoms, and pluralistic ways of looking at the world.

Against that background, how can communications help to channel attention towards regeneration where it is needed in our communication ecosystem? How can we learn to meaningfully talk about our role in issues such as climate change, planetary health or social reconciliation? Which communication posture is needed to stay grounded and thrive as part of the communities and places we inhibit?

Regenerative communications could be described as the conscious and creative, wild and wise, caring and courageous practice of listening to and expressing our greater, deeper and more diverse potential. By sensing regenerative and degenerative patterns and dynamics in communications, regenerative communicators can identify intervention points to redirect communication flows towards truthfulness, integrity and love.

Back to essence

We create ourselves by what we choose to notice. Once this work of self-authorship has begun, we inhabit the world we’ve created. We self-seal. We don’t notice anything except those things that confirm what we already think about who we already are.” Margeret Wheatley

If we agree that what we focus our attention on will grow, then we need to understand how we perceive reality. This is a deep introspective journey that explores our inner landscapes by “living the questions”. It is an invitation to dive into our unique essence and the diverse parts that compose it: our roots, our dream, our role, our vibe etc. This unique contribution to the world is what will shine in the outside world.

Back to belonging

I long, as does every human being, to be at home wherever I find myself.”
Maya Angelou

With the growth in loneliness, distrust and inequalities, there is an embodied longing of feeling part of something bigger: a community, a place, a higher call. Particularly people from marginalized perspectives have many insights on what it means to belong or not. Regenerative communications can help to meaningfully weave individual stories of essence into a larger picture by asking about the unique potentials of an organization or community as part of its ecosystems.


Back to beauty

“To see a world in a grain of sand and a heaven in a wildflower.” William Blake

What if we could write a new story for humanity? What if every dream found a place in the imagined landscape of our future? What if we gave life to the fabric of the dream we are weaving together? Regenerative communications can help us move beyond narratives telling us a different reality is impossible within today’s polluted, sterile, and heartless attention economy.

It can be an invitation to re-imagine how beautiful it would be to live together in ways that promote our thrivability. Inspired by nature and diverse perspectives, we can learn to be designers of enlivened dreams. Communications can become a spark of hope, an inspiration, but also a force that channels attention towards learning to enliven the dreams of people and the more-than-human world.

Discover how Perspectivist can help you to dive into essence, root back in community and place, and weave for potential through regenerative communications!

Date
14 September 2023
By Jean-Philippe

Category
#RegenerativeCommunications

Reading time
5 mins

The War on Diversity: the rise of neofascism

WAR CHRONICLES Healing the wounds from the war on life​

The war on diversity:
The rise of neofascism

#WARCHRONICLES


Across the Western world and beyond, the extreme right is gaining ground. Neofascism is conquering governments, media, corporate leadership and the attention of the masses. Increasingly divided societies and lacking visibility for overcoming today’s multiple existential crises have become a fertile ground of this pervasive modern ideology. How can communicators debunk neofascist narratives and create spaces in which we can move beyond today’s division lines? This article explores how the nexus between neofascist ideology, and the tech industry has become a popular redemption promise in times of collapse. Beyond destructive perspectives, we will draw regenerative communication pathways for contemporary narratives, aesthetics, and conversations.

These days, many have the impression that history is repeating itself. One hundred years ago, fascists started taking over governments. We know it has resulted in concentration camps and the greatest death toll in war history. Now that human civilization is at the brink of extinction, we may want to ask how much of Nazi ideology has survived in society and in corporate leadership. After all, may we see the final logic of Hitlers’ “total war” turning against life on Earth itself - this time through fossil Greenhouse Gases? While media portrays the rise of the far-right sometimes as surprising news, research has shown that far-right values and ideas have remained rather constant in society over the last decades. There has also been a historic corporate continuity of Nazi scientists and Nazi science in post-war industries, particularly military, space, pharmaceutical and chemical industries.

"Now that human civilization is at the brink of extinction, we may want to ask how much of Nazi ideology has survived in society and in corporate leadership."

Compared to the last century, the context today is similarly turbulent. Unprecedented levels of biodiversity loss, global warming, social inequality, inflation, and civilizational diseases count among the multiple crises we are facing. Against that background, neofascist narratives and “solutions” seem to be an appealing redemption promise. Indeed, this ideology seems to give orientation and a feeling of belonging at a time of hyperindividualism, perceived decline and the failure of metanarratives (neoliberalism, communism etc.). Traditional explanations of fascism have respectively emphasized the role of capitalism, the rejection of modernity or patriarchy. While they may hold part of the truth, it seems that fascism is a radically modern phenomenon at a highly technological era.

Today's tech industry aesthetics strongly resemble the Italian futurists, which paved the way to fascism

The traumatic soil of (neo)fascism

If we are to overcome fascism, we need to look at the root causes. Supposedly rational solutions fail for a phenomenon that is profoundly emotional. The supposedly rationalistic Nazi logic, who understood themselves as superior race, may have shown its clearest face in the human experiments in concentration camps. Science separated the humans as “objects of analysis” from the scientific “observer” justifying the most abominable medical and chemical experiments in the name of progress for the Arian race. This example shows that these ideologies are an extreme alientation from life, cultivate the absence of empathy and the incapacity to be conscious about the own way of looking at the world.

When we look at Umberto Eco’s 14 features of fascism from a regenerative perspective, we could see that (neo)fascisms are unthinkable outside the longer-lasting destruction of mother nature. Their emergence is unthinkable outside highly industrial contexts. (Neo)fascism could be seen as an extreme collective suffering from the spiritual orphanage and great separation from aliveness and the nature within. We may conceive fascism as a “natural” fear response at a time of collapse, with a great role of past individual and collective trauma.

Studies have shown that far-right ideology is often passed to the next generations. Furthermore, neofascism today seems to be the most successful in those countries where there is big, unresolved historical trauma. Whether France, Italy or the US, the colonial heritage is visible until this very day in the form of systemic racism, neocolonial structures, up to the legitimation of ecocide in the name of progress. Now and then, women, LGBTIQ, black people, migrants, disabled people and people with a different opinion or worldview are the target of this ideology.

If we agree that past and current trauma is a key factor in making (neo)facism possible, we need to understand how it has manifested in culture, society and the economy. Which fascist heritage is present until today?

When we compare the aesthetics and narratives of fascists and Nazis from last century with today’s world, there are some blatant similarities. Particularly, there is great resemblance between the ideas of the Italian futurists and today’s tech industries, which like to call themselves futurists as well. Both movements emphasise the role of acceleration, machines and objects. We find common traits including impoverished monocultures of thinking and being (e.g. fear of difference and hate against diversity etc.), a militaristic-technological worldview seeing life as a struggle (e.g. fascist Italian futurists last century and today’s advocates of longterminism, singularity, technodeterminism and technological futurism), a permanent “action fetish” (“solutionism”), dehumanization and denaturalization (of people and nature), as well as dark, minimalistic, and functional aesthetics (e.g. Nazi uniforms back then, Elon Musk and his brands, among others, today). At the core, they all share an extreme and violent alienation from inner trauma and from being part of nature.

Within the context of an impoverishing attention economy dominated by neofascist-like aesthetics and narratives: which pathways for healing and regeneration can communications cultivate from that toxic ground?

Joseph Stella's Brooklin Bridge represents the ideas of the Italian futurists without place for humans and nature

Communication pathways

- Looking behind neofascist aesthetics, narratives and stories by shining light on the underlying fear and aggression with compassion.

- Starting (local) conversations on what it means to live in safe and welcoming environments and communities that can embrace past traumas.

- Reframing neofascist narratives and aesthetics as toxic, destructive and ugly, while offering own perspectives on beauty, a meaningful and thriving life etc.

- confronting neofascist narrative reproducers with the impact of their thinking by rehumanizing and renaturalising – showing the face of people and nature being destroyed.

- attracting attention of people adherent to neofascist narratives and aesthetics towards nature, health, belonging etc.

- other ways that promote radical honesty, diversity, inclusion and love

Date
17 Agust 2023
By Jean-Philippe

Category
#WARCHRONICLES

Reading time
5 mins

Un entrepreneuriat sain pour donner vie à son rêve

Event stories The essence behind your events

Sommet des slowpreneurs

auteur: Jean-Philippe Steeger

Par Jean-Philippe Steeger

Le Sommet des Slowpreneurs rassemble une génération d’entrepreneurs qui cherche à aligner leur rêve et passion avec les besoins de la planète et de ses habitants. Du 12 au 16 juin 2023, nous explorerons les différentes facettes d’un entrepreneuriat plus serein, plus convivial, et source de réussite personnelle. Nous tisserons un espace de bienveillance et d’expérimentation pour partager de nouvelles manières d’être entrepreneur, de créer de la valeur et de cultiver sa spiritualité. Découvrez le slowpreneuriat à travers des histoires alchimiques d'entrepreneurs, qui ont transformé des périodes difficiles en nouveau potentiel d'évolution.

Comment changeraient nos villes, nos paysages et nos vies, si nous adoptions un entrepreneuriat plus sain, slow et au service de la vie ? Un taux record d’entrepreneurs souffre de stress et de burnout, sans parler des soucis économiques récurrents. Le rêve initial d’autonomie, d’argent, où de réalisation de soi des entrepreneurs se convertissent trop souvent en course et en compétition sans issue. Les schémas toxiques de notre économie industrielle destructrice sont reflétés par des modèles d'entrepreneuriat éloignés de la réalité biologique, psychique et sociale.

"Le slowpreneuriat, c'est entreprendre sans se cramer les ailes ni la planète. C'est choisir d'apporter une contribution positive et durable au monde par les affaires, sans gaspiller son énergie, sa santé, l'environnement, ni faire de compromis sur sa vie." - Émilie GRAU

Nous sommes en pleine accélération de la dégradation de nos mondes naturels, sociaux et spirituels. La destruction du monde extérieur est reflétée par des seuils de stress, de dépression et de maladies jamais atteintes. Le besoin d’un entrepreneuriat sain, écologique et collaboratif semble évident. Cependant aujourd’hui, trop d’approches, de réseaux et de personnes contribuent à une culture toxique de l’entrepreneuriat. En effet, beaucoup d’entrepreneurs se voient aujourd’hui dénués de sens, dénués de vitalité, dénués de l’essence même de l’entrepreneuriat : donner vie à son propre rêve.

« J’ai dû réaliser de manière douloureuse que le « toujours plus vite » ne marche pas. La majorité des modèles d’entrepreneuriat ne nous apprennent pas que la puissance de son projet implique de trouver du temps pour ralentir, sentir ce qui veut émerger, et de mettre son énergie dans son rêve. Avec toute unicité et créativité personnelle » partage Jean-Philippe.

« Notre société nous impose d’adopter la vitesse de la machine, qui n’est pas la vitesse biologique, ce qui renforce notre impatience, la frustration de ne pas pouvoir aller assez vite et de ne pas avoir assez de temps pour tout faire. » élabore Emilie.

Comment alors aller vers un autre entrepreneuriat ? Quelles seraient ses qualités ? Pour Géraldine, Emilie et Jean-Philippe, il y avait un sentiment de confiance qu’on est sur le bon chemin, accompagné par une sérénité, joie de vivre, et un enthousiasme pour ce qui est à venir. Un rythme plus slow, et une vie plus alignée aux cycles de la nature, et à nos besoins. « Quand je vois la quantité de personnes qui changent de vie et se reconvertissent après un burn out, je ne regrette pas mon choix initial de changement. » dit Emilie.

Le Sommet des Slowpreneurs explorera comment fertiliser notre monde entrepreneurial pour contribuer à notre bien-être personnel, à la fertilisation de nos communautés et de nos écosystèmes. C’est un espace qui accueille notre être entier et unique : nos rêves, nos talents, nos émotions et notre qualité d’écoute. L’esprit slow traversera les divers ateliers en marketing, vente, vidéo, design humain, business design et autres. Nous sommes ravis de faire croître cette communauté de changement et de soutien mutuel.

L’événement est intentionnellement conçu pour inviter à co-tisser ensemble ce qu’est le slowpreneuriat, pour en faire un workstyle, inspirant, concrèt et attractif. C'est un espace accueillant où il n'y a pas de monopole sur la vérité de ce qu’est ou n’est pas le slowpreneuriat. Nous nous inspirerons d’approches de systèmes vivants, post-coloniaux, régénératifs et éco-féministes. C’est la pluralité des expériences partagées qui permettra aux participants d’explorer de nombreux éléments liés au slowpreneuriat pour enrichir leur pratique et perspective.

À l’horizon, nous voyons une économie régénérative, qui crée des conditions de bien-être, qui réconcilie les divisions du passé, qui transforme le présent en source de renouveau. C’est une économie qui s’inspire du vivant, de ses cycles, schémas et besoins. Ce sont des entrepreneurs qui cultivent leur sagesse intérieure pour réellement comprendre ce qui est leur rôle et potentiel dans le monde et l’endroit qu’ils habitent.

Nous voyons un mouvement de slowpreneurs qui tissent un réseau dynamique d’entraide, de coopérations, de fertilisation mutuelle. Nous voyons que notre modèle remplacera le modèle d’entrepreneuriat, parce que celui-ci est autodestructeur. Il mourra par ses propres incohérences. Donnons vie à nos rêves !

Date
Juillet 2023
Auteur
Jean-Philippe
Catégorie
Slowpreneuriat

Gnilman – au coeur de l‘écotourisme sénégalais

Brand stories The essence behind your business

L'Écotourisme à Gnilman

auteur: Jean-Philippe Steeger

Bienvenue à Gnilmal, un écocampement qui accueille les touristes et volontaires dans un cadre chaleureux et authentique. Placé entre le majestueux delta verdissant du Sine Saloum et les plages blanches infinies de la côte Atlantique, ce lieu est pionnier de l’écotourisme Sénégalais. En différenciation de la grande majorité d’établissements, il contribue à l’économie, la culture et l’écologie locale. Découvrez son histoire et impact dans le contexte du tourisme Sénégalais d’aujourd’hui !

Voyager autrement, c’est être à la rencontre des locaux, se laisser immerger par la culture et la nature unique locale, c’est entrer en résonance avec ce qui veut vivre en nous. Bref, c’est l’antithèse du tourisme de masse, y compris celui avec un label durable. Ce modèle touristique industriel coûte cher et ne rapporte finalement que peu aux locaux et aux touristes.

Pour le touriste, l’expérience de séjour reste souvent superficielle avec un impact considérable sur les ressources d’eau, d’électricité et une production de déchets, surtout en plastique, qui finit sur les plages précédemment paradisiaques. Cette forme de tourisme maintient la séparation entre le touriste et la communauté locale qui l’accueille.

En Afrique en particulier, il semble également y avoir un tourisme détenu majoritairement par des blancs. A titre d’exemple, les écolodges du Sénégal sont emblématiques pour un impact négatif sous label vert. Ils paient souvent des salaires bas en embauchant un nombre considérable de personnel journalier non formé. Le greenwashing des industries occidentales trouve son reflet dans ces écolodge qui sont en effet des îlots de blancs isolés de la réalité dans les villages qui l’entourent et de l’impact qu’ils produisent.

Lorella Pignet-Fall et Jean-Philippe Steeger

Le greenwashing du tourisme industriel blanc

La conception architecturale à la Disneyland de ces lodges donne une image faussée de l’Afrique, tout en étant mal adaptée au climat local. La surchauffe requiert la présence de l’air conditionné, outre la présence de piscines dans une zone très aride. Dans plusieurs municipalités, l’eau courante a été coupée pour approvisionner ces lieux touristiques d’eau potable. Ces facteurs contribuent au décalage de l’expérience touristique, ainsi qu’à la méfiance des offres touristiques.

Quel rôle je joue en tant que touriste européen voyageant au Sénégal ? Y-a-t-il d’autres options touristiques qu’un tourisme local très basique et ces bulles néocoloniales haut-de-gamme ? Enfin, comment faire des établissements touristiques une force pour dynamiser les échanges entre les touristes de l’un côté, et l’économie, la communauté, culture et nature locale de l’autre ?

"Ecolodge" au Sénégal - le village d'à côté n'a plus accès à l'eau suite à son installation

Vers un tourisme pour la vie

Nous sommes à la recherche d’un tourisme régénératif où nous pouvons apprendre et faire des expériences uniques et mémorables. C’est un tourisme qui contribue à la biodiversité locale, à la richesse culturelle et à la croissance personnelle. C’est la magie du croisement entre la beauté naturelle du lieu, la rencontre des profondeurs et mystères du lieu, et la place à l’imprévu dans la découverte touristique. C’est s’ouvrir au potentiel du tourisme en tant que force pour un avenir différent, plus vivant, plus riche pour ceux qui y participent.

Nous explorerons Gnilman en tant que lieu du cœur qui pompe l’énergie dans les artères de l’écosystème duquel il fait partie. C’est une force de guérison des divisions du passé et une perspective concrète pour touriste à quête de sens, d’immersion et de rencontre. Et c’est une opportunité pour l’avenir des femmes entrepreneurs, les artisans locaux et leur environnement.

Gnilman et l'Écotourisme au Sénégal

Gnilman a ouvert ses portes en 2019 avec un modèle hybride : une structure touristique, une association en développement durable et un centre de formation de locaux et de volontaires internationaux. Environ un tiers des revenus touristiques sont reversés vers l’association. Le lieu peut accueillir 15 personnes, dispose d’un centre de recyclage, de quelques animaux, ainsi que de deux systèmes de panneaux solaires et une citerne d’eau.

C’est un accueil très chaleureux et amical que m’offre Lorella, ainsi que son époux Alione qui ont lancé le projet. En effet, le thème de l’amour semble traverser tout le projet. Alors que l’environnement semble assez difficile, l’espoir actif d’un tourisme et d’une société juste semble inépuisable. Donner vie à son rêve de créer un lieu chaleureux dans cette zone merveilleuse était une évidence : « Je ne peut pas faire différemment » explique Lorella.

Nourrit par une tradition franciscaine, les sagesses sufi et les traditions spirituelles locales, on peut ressentir l’esprit bienveillant du lieu. A la place de la tristesse dans le visage des employées dans les écolodges, ici un retrouve des sourires authentiques, des conversations avec le personnel et des volontaires visiblement chaleureux et inspirés. Alors que des stages et volontariats plus prestigieux était disponible à eux, ils ont préféré de travailler ici, être en réel contact avec les locaux et pouvoir bénéficier d’un espace qui leur permet de devenir co-créateur. Probablement, ce sont des compétences bien plus valorisées que ceux obtenus dans une structure rigide et peu autonome.

Dans ma conversation avec Lorella, elle partage avec moi la légende du Colibri telle que partagée par Pierre Rhabi:

« Un jour dit la légende, il y eut un immense incendie de forêt. Tous les animaux terrifiés, atterrés, observaient impuissants le désastre. Seul le petit colibri s’activait, allant chercher quelques goutte avec son bec pour les jeter sur le feu. Après un moment, le tatou, agacé par cette agitation dérisoire, lui dit : « Colibri ! Tu n’est pas fou ? Ce n’est pas avec ces gouttes d’eau que tu vas éteindre le feu » Et le colibri le répondit : 'Je le sais, mais je fais ma part.' »

Gnilman: comfortable sans être dans la gamme du tourisme de luxe

S'ouvrir à de nouvelles perspectives

En tant que personne qui s’identifie comme LGBTIQ, l’image du colibri me parlait bien. Cependant, j’ai du apprendre des propos charactérisés comme homophobe par Pierre Rhabbi. Sa grande contribution au mouvement agroécologique et sa sagesse semble avoir des limites. Tout comme la science de la biologie, il semble avoir nié l’existence de l’homosexualité et son rôle important dans l’écologie et la société. En effet, malgré les stigmas dans la recherche et peu de financement sur le sujet, au moins 1700 especes avec des pratiques homosexuels ont été documentées. La vie, c’est la diversité, même si notre vision du monde n’y correspond pas. On reste aveugle, si on ferme les yeux à cette réalité de l’amour qui dépasse les frontières traditionnelles.

Revenant au Colibri, l’incompréhension existe belle est bien aussi pour Gnilman. Les villageois ne comprennent pas pourquoi ils n’en font pas un projet à profit. Les blanc, c’est soit ceux qui exploitent, soit ceux qui aident pour compenser cette exploitation. Peu sont ceux qui donnent une réelle perspective d’égal à égal. Et les touristes s’attendent souvent aux standards touristiques, comme de pouvoir offrir une bouteille de champagne dans le cas de plateformes telles que Booking.

L’association à son tour organise des formations sur le développement durable et l’entreprenariat féminin. Le centre a déjà forme des centaines de femmes dans la gestion d’entreprise et la transformation de produits pour créer de la valeur ajoutée. Ils gèrent également les microcrédits déversés par les banques de développement. Par la suite, les femmes vont créer leur commerces pour produire des confitures, du beurre de karité ou des savons locaux. Ainsi, l’écotourisme contribue aussi au développement d’une économie durable à la fois écologiquement, socialement et économiquement.

D’un point de vue de communication et de marketing, les acteurs d’un tourisme plus durable semblent manquer de visibilité comparé aux offres standards sous faux labels. Malgré l’existence de sites de tourisme durable et le bouche à oreille, l’environnement d’attention des touristes est aujourd’hui dirigé vers une utopie déconnectée de la realité locale. Notre exploration avec Lorella nous mène alors à explorer comment ancrer sa communication dans les réseaux locaux touristiques, à travers les restaurants, bars, centres culturels etc.

En outre, nous explorerons le rôle d’un storytelling qui puisse tisser des liens entre la réalité de vie des villageois et des touristes, les traditions spirituelles et les perspectives pour l’avenir pour ce lieu. Quel potentiel pourrions-nous activer par l’imagination active et la participation des acteurs du changement ? Je suis convaincu que tous les ingrédients sont déjà présents pour ce succès : une croyance forte, la sagesse de l’amour et les connaissances des réalités du tourisme et du développement durable.

En savoir plus

Coucher de soleil au Siné Saloum

Date
Juillet 2023
Auteur
Jean-Philippe
Categorie
Tourisme

Alchemy of Transformation

PERSPECTIVE A BLOG BY PERSPECTIVIST

The Alchemy of the Mill of Transformation

Regenerative poetry

Enchanted Festival 2023

By Jean-Philippe

There on the other side. This lush green and sterile grey island is said to have moved away from us. From Europe. From Gaia. Reminiscent of past empires, suffocating in the smoke of modernity, drowned in the tears of a colonized planet, lost somewhere between nightmarish traumas and new beginnings.

Before this dark age, it was the land of faeries, witches and druids, enchanting and awakening tribe travelers for so many years with the gentle mystery and wisdom of this place. A place of deep opening. A place of underlying potential. Here again, an encounter with the cycles of life. Today again, tribes of the rainbow, making magic together.

The wheel of fortune is turning again

Where industrialization saw the birth of one of the first paper mills in modern monkey history, the waterways were abundantly flowing through the land, through the veins of the turning economy animated by promises of redemption, connecting minds with the new medium, and by the hands of what became workers without land.

Selgars, the land of the Mill today is a place of being, a place of becoming, a place of belonging. Grounded in the sacredness of Mother Earth. Flowing with the truth in our hearts. Shining in our kaleidoscopic beauty. Dreaming into being the age of regeneration. This is the birth of a new age. A jump. A step. A dive. A fall. An awakening to abundance.

Holy Mother Earth, we had forgotten where we come from. Forgotten your experience, your endurance, your embracement of your children, us, these monkeys that wanted to be gods. We are waking up to our refertilised dream. We plant the seeds for ecocivilisations, deeply rooted in your core. This is an island of hope. An oasis of light. A womb of potential.

We flow together, gathering to breathe, to play, to learn, to heal, to create, to dance, to love, to just be. We welcome the tears like rivers crossing a dark, deserted city planet. Infusing our system with the sweet essence of these greater truths. We listen to the felt waves of oceans in our craving hearts. Fear and anger go their way. Flow of life, so pure, so soft, so dynamic.

Effortlessly, the wise winds bring us together to carry the seeds of hope into our lands. The storm of modernity still blowing bullshit into our face, a restless mindfuck from empty hearts. Oh fresh breeze, eternal gratitude for the wildly enlivened stories of transformation in a hurricane of extinction narratives. We breathe out a gentle storm of change.

A new spark in our hearts, the birth of light for a fresh start. Intentionally creative liminal space on the fertile ashes of modernity. Shining beyond what seems impossible. Bodies sexily dancing. Angry burned-out children of the sun, your time has now come. Sacred fire, shine so bright, illuminate what’s right, to walk to the unknown with the deep waters mirroring your throne.

We are the regenerators, the healers, rebuilders, leaders of the heart, visionaries, creators, storytellers, faeries, druids, witches, community fertilisers, lovers, myceliators of modernity, beautiful souls, weavers of wonders, emerging enchanters, the children of Gaia. We are the ancestors birthing the age of thrivability. We are coming home.

Old, new alchemy, that’s for us to see.

Date
July 2023

Category
Poem

Reading time
some mins

The War on Nature: Re-Embracing our Wildness

WAR CHRONICLES Healing the wounds from the war on life​

The war on nature:
Re-Embracing our wildness

#WARCHRONICLES


Fires, floods, storms, draughts - the destruction of mother nature is accelerating unprecedentedly. Despite this, the insane industrialised narratives of modernity keep perpetuating the normalization of the War on Nature. Solutions are sold for the problems the same companies have created. Today’s economy runs on business models that create artificial scarcity and externalize responsibility. Keeping you sick sells. How can we shift the narratives on nature towards embracing our wild potential as healers and stewards within the web of life?

Yet another record was broken with temperatures unseen for 120 000 years. We have now crossed 7 out of 9 planetary boundaries on which human life depends. The industrialization of our planet has produced a technosphere that now outweights the biosphere in total mass. In the EU, 80% of habitats are in poor condition. The sixth mass extinction is ongoing. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the outer destruction of nature and the communities that depend on it is reflected by a pandemic of civilizational diseases, distrust, stress, and depression. After all, we are highly interdependent with the health of our natural environment.

"The War on Nature will not be won with weapons. It will be won by radically listening to the wisdom nature has to share with us."

They live by John Carpenter

Looking at the face of nature

The modern attention economy is however keeping narratives alive that normalize the domination and exploitation of nature. Last century, the Nazis - and their equivalents in so many countries -have dehumanized humans to justify violence. The equivalent today is the denial of the aliveness of nature, reduced to being a dead commodity. This is justifying the most abominable violences towards living beings: let’s call it “denaturisation”. Emmanuel Levina’s lesson from the Holocaust was that all morale derives from recognizing the humanity in the other by looking at the face of the other. Today, we may need to learn to look at, listen to, and sense nature as a part of ourselves.

How beautiful is toxic fast food in toxic waste?

you feel guilty doing less bad

The success and pervasiveness of today’s mechanistic narratives about nature leaves little space for healing our break-away from nature. Incremental change – “green growth” through “clean tech” – is praised as “solution”, without questioning the roots of the problems. Diverse nature-rooted approaches have very little visibility in an increasingly monocultural discourse spaces in (social) media, politics and society. It may be no coincidence that the ones pushing this exploitative and technology-obsessed “action fetish” furthest on behalf of “saving the planet” they helped destroy, like Elon Musk’s brands or others calling themselves “futurists”, have a certain (aesthetical and moral) resemblance to the Italian futurists that pioneered the fascist movement.

The aesthetics of the War on Nature

The disconnection from the presence of nature

The leitmotiv of the futurists was precisely the industrial acceleration, objectivation of life and abolishment of wisdom that has become mainstream today in technological redemption narratives. They have become dominant narratives on overcoming the climate and nature crises. Within such a context of accelerating and automated destruction, much of sustainability communications (CSR, ESG, green marketing…) limit themselves towards “doing less harm” while sustaining the destructive underlying logic of how we live, work and consume. Superficial behaviour changes are incentivized by making people feel guilty, driving even more compensation-justified consumption. Saving nature, that’s restlessly buying, building, moving, talking, convincing, influencing, strategizing, targeting, reporting, accounting and public bullshitting. Action fetish everywhere we look.

Europe's war on nature

Zooming into the EU, the EU Green Deal had been envisioned as the “new growth strategy for Europe” to become “a global climate leader”. Although European men have invented industrialization and colonized the whole planet, there is a systematic exclusion of history and divergent perspectives. The Global South, indigenous people, women and youth remain marginalized from conversations on climate or biodiversity. It is important to remember that European ideologies were at the start of the War on Nature. It is only coherent that the main “solutions” to the climate and biodiversity crises presented are in the logic of a perpetrator, justifying even more violence: more blind technologies (“the green and digital ‘twin transitions’”), more international rules made by Europe, outsourcing of own dirty industries, superficially cleaner balance sheets for “net-zero”, more rejection of the effects of the own behaviour (refugees), more of the same.

Selling the solutions to the problems you create

While some important steps were taken in the framework of the EU Green Deal, dirty lobbies are stepping up to artificially keep fragile and destructive business models alive with taxpayer money – at the benefit of a small percentage of shareholders. This is unsurprising given that our economic system incentivizes business models that are built on making profits from creating scarcity: unsatisfiable desires, restlessness, disease etc. The opportunists today are the fossil-fuel based pharmaceutical, technological, chemical, arms and security industries. They have not succeeded in halting the Nature Restoration Law, but they have spinned the policy narrative to sell the problem they create as the solution. Recent and likely successes are the approval of GMOs without labeling requirements, a new chemical fertilisers strategy and the continued legalization of thousands of provenly highly toxic chemicals.

Beyond blaming and shaming

Now it would be easy to identify the villains in these industries and their political arms in governments and parliaments. After all, it was found that only 100 companies

were responsible for 71% of global Greenhouse Gas Emissions. While responsibility matters, it is precisely the strategy of naming, blaming and shaming that has been used by the lobbying departments of these industries. By using the same strategy of attack, the destructive logic that pervades our lives will only be perpetuated further. To restore and regenerate nature, and live in peace, we need to learn to create framework conditions in which we can shift our attention towards healing the divisions of the past, and towards living in abundance by embracing our wildness as part of nature.

Shifting our perspectives in communications

Regenerative communications are research into life-affirming narratives, aesthetics that enable immersion and resonance, a language that includes and diversifies, as well as conversations that enable healing and transcendence. Communications require cultivating consciousness for being able to weave thriving communication webs that nourish the regeneration of diverse and unique communities and places. Inspired by nature and marginalized perspectives, this approach invites us to ask deeper questions, to listen to other voices, to imagine life at its fullest. The War on Nature will not be won with weapons. It will be won by radically listening to the wisdom nature has to share with us. All else will flow.

questions to ask ourselves


• Which stance do we take on the War On Nature?

• How does my brand story include nature?

• Which role does my organization play as part of nature?

• Which marginalized perspectives can help us in understanding that role?

• What future of living in harmony with nature do we imagine?

• How do we contribute to the political, mediatic and public narratives about nature?

• How can we use nature as an inspiration for our branding, channels, messages etc.?

Discover more!

Read Perspectivist’s War Chronicles series!

 

Date
13 July 2023
By Jean-Philippe

Category
#WARCHRONICLES

Reading time
5 mins

Storm of war: healing the separation

WAR CHRONICLES Healing the wounds from the war on life​

THE STORM OF WAR: HEALING THE SEPARATION

#WARCHRONICLES

Wars are at the heart of modernity, as we face a crisis of separateness. The war on nature, the war on Ukraine, the war against the virus, and the war against democracy and others are undermining the foundations of health and peace. Our restless machine age is showing its ugliest face, from the newest war technology to a sick and depressed humanity. Our species is divided by fear and ruled by paranoid men. With 300 years of enlightenment, the world is at its darkest. Everywhere. But now is also the time where the potential for peace and regeneration is greatest. In all places.

Ever more visible are the signs of the end of a morbid and mechanical era that has over-emphasized the ego, the nation and surveillance technology. It may be no coincidence that the end of what could be called a European era may come to an end in Europe. After all, weren’t it the great ideas and ideals of European enlightenment that have created the fertile ground for imperialism, exploitation and division of the world and its inhabitants – particularly through the West and now-day Russia? The great illusion of progress, fueled by a global extractive economy, casts a large shadow onto its most brutal backlashes.

“From climate to war - we can see a common thread beneath the almost biblical plagues we’re facing: the collapse of modernity's main narratives.”

Signs of collapse

These are difficult days, collapse seems to be everywhere from climate and biodiversity to the global economy and political systems. With the latest war in Ukraine, pictures of mass killings, rape victims and children’s despair come to mind. The potential for destruction seems endless. The nuclear arsenal could kill the planet several times. Looking at nature, there is now more asphalt, concrete and plastic than there is wildlife. Ecosystems are collapsing. And a small minority controls the lion share of the extractive and exploitative world economy. We’re championing a war against each other from business to battlefield, on and off-line. 24/7. The “war all against all” that enlightenment philosopher Thomas Hobbes had described as our “natural” state has become reality.

Yet, this state of war has been actively cultivated by championing centralized power, fossil fuel addiction, toxic masculinity and deadly industries. Indeed, the current war is unthinkable without shady economic ties or big egos unable to make concessions. If we however also look beyond the visible signs of our degenerating planet, we can see a common threat lying beneath the conflicts. It’s a thread that connects the almost biblical plagues we’re facing: ecocide, the resulting pandemic and now a global arms race.

People playing golf while their home is on fire

the shadows of enlightenment

As if it were a perfect alignment, the Ukraine war started at a time where record storms have again hit by Europe, still suffering from the pandemic. In parallel, a mental health pandemic leaves people restless, stressed and increasingly unable to feel empathy and act compassionately. A foggy sense of disorientation seems to merge with the greyness of urban power centers that are ever more polluted and divided. All the unresolved hate, anger, and sadness from past trauma and conflict now mixes into new constellations of domination, control and division.

While the fog of war may need to set for us to see more clearly, existing trends seem to have their roots at an age that has invented nation-states, has laid the ground to modern war technology and has mainstreamed the idea that humankind and nature were something separate. The age of enlightenment may well be remembered as a dark age that has theorized the domination over nature, categorized humans and promoted self-interest or ruthlessness in the economy. Besides Hobbes, we can also cite Francis Bacon, who is often being portrayed as the “father of the scientific method”.

Bacon’s description of experimental design based on control and isolation in a laboratory setting reminds rather of a rape-scene: “nature under constraint and vexed; that is to say, when by art and the hand of man she is forced out of her natural state, and squeezed and moulded.” Through such experimentation, mankind will be able “to penetrate further.” And it has, up to the point where the conditions for life on this planet are destroyed.

Narratives of division

The dominant scientific paradigm in the West has overemphasized difference, breaking things apart and categorizing without seeing the bigger picture. The inventor of statistics was also the inventor of eugenics (which ended in concentration camps). Europeans have divided the world into countries, races, species, disciplines, categories etc. We have invented industrialization and forced it onto the whole world by colonizing it.

Dominant narratives suggest that we are rational, interest-led beings - homo oeconomicus -“at the pursuit of happiness”. Economics and political sciences are still based on that wrong premise. The illusion of permanent rationality rejects our emotional, biological and spiritual selves. Yet, our contemporary attention economy keeps us in the illusion that our way of living is normal and good, despite record levels of diseases, climate breakdown, violence and of war.

Our economic system exploits nature and people while creating artificial scarcity for the masses (unattainable desires, disease, distrust, loneliness etc.) and material excess for the few, justified by a promise of limitless progress that is now being replaced by transhumanist fantasies promising to leave our biological selves by “upgrading” as if there was anything bad per se about our modern monkey species.

Seeds on the ashes of modernity

Certainly, our human potential for destruction is enormous. It’s however mirrored by our power to become stewards for life. The possibilities that emerge from this age of chaos and restructuring are endless. Beyond fear and domination, there are already an ever-increasing number of places that prove that it’s possible to become resilient and create new value in the face of the interconnected challenges we face.

We are entering a new age, an age of regeneration built on the nature-bound wisdoms of the past, future and present. The challenge now is to learn mastering the sciences and arts of living with the healing dynamics of life. We have to re-pattern our world by creating fertile framework conditions at local and regional scales that connect among each other, thereby creating synergies, like a forest ecosystem. We must learn to build a system that works with the natural emergent properties of humans and other forms of life we depend on.

But to overcome the current fog, agitation and unresolved anger, we need to build new spaces for healing our modern wounds. Safe places where we can learn to re-align our head, hearts, and hands. We have to create communication spaces in which people can look into the face of each other again, recognizing that we are all part of the web of life. We need to create conditions in which people will come to realise their own purpose for healing mother earth, and thereby themselves.

On the ashes of modernity, we will bury the morbid perspectives that have separated us for so long. Regenerators across the world re-fertilize the broken soils of our culture, re-pattern the way we life, laugh and work together and re-establish hope for a world that has overcome its addiction to suffering.

WarChronicles inclusively reports on the main wars led by modern monkeys today. We want to create awareness on our potential to write a new story about our time, and the potential we have for building a peaceful ecocivilisation for the regenerative era.

Discover more!

It may be time to enjoy watching the fog set peacefully

Date
16 June 2022
By Jean-Philippe

Category
#WARCHRONICLES

Reading time
5 mins