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In service to Life & to those who are in service to Life

A conversation between Ruth Andrade and Daniel Wahl

Daniel Christian Wahl
Jun 13 · 5 min read

On May 22nd, 2020 I had a chance to catch up with my friend Ruth Andrade who is one of the most inspiring collaborators I have had the pleasure of cocreating projects with in the last few years.

Ruth works for Lush, a group of animal rights and planetary regeneration activists that created a global cosmetics company to fund excellent projects and positive change in the world. Or at least that is how I have come to see Lush since engaging with them through scouting the potential for a regenerative almond growing project on Mallorca and the Lush Springprize for social and ecological regeneration initially and other work since.

To say that Ruth works for Lush is like mistaking the fruit body of a mushroom for the mycelial network that brought it forth. Ruth is one of the arch weavers catalysing effective collaboration between highly skilled and experienced permaculture, agroforestry, and regenerative agriculture practitioners and sociocracy, peace and social change activists on the one hand, and visionary business people and the emerging global regeneration and ecosystems restoration networks and initiatives, as well as, attempts to get them funded on the other hand.

So you can imagine that we had a wonderful conversation.

I start off by asking Ruth to tell her story. She shares how growing up in Brazil with an older sister who was a biologist and ecologist, while being in the Sao Paulo Punk/Hardcore scene, shaped her. “I am too punk to be a proper hippy and too hippy to be a proper punk.”

This took us into a discussion about a nuanced definition of anarchism and the importance of creating subsidiarity based systems of governance. A systemic biomimicry approach to redesigning the human presence and impact on Earth will have to follow life’s scale-linking nested wholeness.

Ruth reflects on how Murray Bookchin’s work influenced her thinking and how she keeps coming back to being in service to life. Ruth stresses that we are truly in an existential emergency as in what is emerging is our new human presence as a species who really owns its role and responsibility as part of life.

We explore the need for valuing our diversity and working in the same direction despite and in celebration of all our differences of opinion and perspectives or positions in these nested systems, but aligned in the shared understanding that we need to change now and co-create a different way of being truly human as the Earth.

We speak about the ego-eco-seva framing of understanding the potential that arises from accepting that life happens in the polarity and creative tension of being for one self and being as part of a larger whole, and that the potential can be manifest in service to life.

Ruth tells her story of how she came to work for Lush, and how she organised an ‘introduction to permaculture’ for the Lush leadership and slowly helped to work all the way along the supply chain to work with producers of their raw ingredient directly.

We speak about the weaving that Ruth and her late partner Paulo Mellett did between communities of local producers, the Global Ecovillage Network, the Ecovillage Design Education programme at Sieben Linden in Germany and beginning to work on a regenerative supply chain and production practices for Lush.

We speak about the issue how big is too big not to fail (to be regenerative)? … and how inspired business leaders whether at Patagonia or Lush can actually learn the lesson of subsidiarity and decentralisation and redundancy and resilience building into their business within the context of the degenerative global economy.

Ruth speaks about the need to explore governance and ownership very deeply as enabling regeneration and creating patterns aligned with how life creates conditions conducive to live will require profound changes in those field.

00:36 … being the private sector partner for local regenerators

00:40 “we belong to the land, the land does not belong to us” …

00:42 … ownership, rights and responsibility … and the need for education along with redistribution

00:47 … walking towards utopia while accepting we will never get there

00:51 … having the privilege we have to have this conversation … how can we really be in service to the underprivileged?

00:54 … lessons from working with indigenous tribes in Colombia from speaking with Martin von Hildebrand … the double edge of technology

01:00 … resourcing those who do the job on the ground … the work of the

01:05 … facing reality head on with the coming pandemics and humanitarian emergencies

01:06 … the story of the evolution from and idea that grew out of working with the Lush Spring Prize to the recently launched Regenerosity platform

01:09 Ruth explaining where Regenerosity is now … and the vision for how it will develop into a way or resourcing those who are working on the front line of regeneration and ecosystems restoration.

Here is the recording of the conversation:

More: Leaving the world lusher — by Ruth Andrade

Tribute to Paulo Mellett:

An earlier conversation Ruth and I had at the Lush Springprize:

Daniel Christian Wahl — Catalyzing transformative innovation in the face of converging crises, advising on regenerative whole systems design, regenerative leadership, and education for regenerative development and bioregional regeneration.

Author of the internationally acclaimed book Designing Regenerative Cultures

Twitter: @DrDCWahl

Medium: Blog with more than 280 articles

Facebook: RegenerativeCultures and Ecological Consciousness

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