Renewed —and Locally Adapted Economies

Erica Dorn
Feb 20 · 3 min read

Recently on WNYC, I heard that if we totaled the global debt, accumulated by all people and countries and divided it by all humans on earth, we’d each be in debt by about $85,000. It occurs to me that, this amount of debt may well be equivalent to the level of extraction and debt we have accrued with Mother Earth. However unequally amassed the debt may be, all species are paying the costs.

Humans have been part of an extractive human paradigm that has flourished and accelerated the depletion of our planet, this began roughly 10,000 years ago during the dawn of agriculture and has accelerated over the 100+ years of the industrial age. Systems built to conquer, divide, and control are no longer serving the human, nor the more-than-human world.

In the old paradigm we valued things like cheapness, fastness, bigness, etc. Which is why we saw such profit maximization in almost every facet of our economy. During this time of great transition on earth, humans are now biologically required to come back into better relationship with nature. The domination-era that once served us has grown so out of control, that nearly every system that was built on that ethos, is now broken and irrelevant.

In this moment on earth, we now endeavor to embrace a way of being and working that brings humans back into better relationship with all of which we are connected. Satish Kumar, founder of Schumacher college titled one of his books “you are, therefore I am” — this understanding of deep interconnection between all life is our intrinsic guide, recognizing that our individual and collective actions create or destroy the world we are surrounded by.

A Regenerative and Equitable Economy.

I’ve been part of designing and delivering various alternative enterprise education and community development programs — all in service to shaping a more regenerative and equitable economies. In our effort to address how we might best contribute to a better ‘New Economy’, its essential to be holistic and comprehensive in our endeavors. Experiential and participatory programs build personal and enterprise skills for connecting, contributing, and collaborating towards a local living economies.

By taking a systems approach when discussing both regeneration and equity, we can identify the dominant systems that currently exist, and where it’s essential to transform them. We must proactively confront and right the injustices we see in our systems, in a way that re-distributes power to those that the system left out. To take into account a history of oppression and exclusion that impacts the ability of communities to thrive and gain power in the current system. Develop a system approach by building the skills, wisdom, and connections needed for all people in a local economy to work together to shape a regenerative and equitable future.

One example of this approach is in the Good Work Institute open source curriculum. Also check out Rockwood Leadership, Center for Whole Communities, and Interaction Institute for Social Change.

The natural motion is to now regenerate, starting from within oneself, and extending pro-socially and ecologically in reverberating circles of connection. As humans begin to relearn, for our own survival, to live in good relationship with earth, our tools for shaping a new, locally adapted economy are love, compassion, and care for all.

The time is now to bring about a new rhythm that de-centers capitalism, patriarchy, and even humans ourselves and brings us into a collaborative and more harmonious way of being — that has the potential to regenerate all life.


“So, transform yourself first… Keep expanding your horizon, decolonize your mind, and cross borders.” — Yuri Kochiyama

Erica Dorn
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