page title icon Regenerative Design.

About Regenerative Design

‘Imagine that each of us can design and implement routines and cultural systems to bring about the attributes of connection for ourselves, our families, our friends, for organizations and for our neighbors as well.’ 8 Shields ‘North’ handbook.

In contrast to the popular ‘Do Not Touch’ mentality of modern conservation movements.  Regenerative design takes a more indiginous view of humans; acknowledging them as part of the fabric of wild land.

RCD to my mind is a very natural synthesis of grassroots democracy, depth ecology, rewilding and voluntary simplicity.  More importantly it acknowledges that healthy emergent behaviours arise when a culture begins to reengage with nature.

This has implications for practitioners in the field of outdoor learning.  Whilst the outdoors was once viewed as playground, classroom or resource it is revealed in a very different way; as the bedrock of culture.

Regenerative cultural design comprises a living system of eight principles. A synthesis of 7 ‘handshakes’, ‘commitments’ or ‘givens’ which comprise and sustain the formation of a healthy, balanced human culture. It’s nothing new. In fact, you might have grown up with a few of them in your own home community… Taken together, these 8 givens are ‘regenerative’ i.e. they support and sustain life. What gives this philosophy such integrity and such a natural feel is that it has arisen out of observation of traditional indigenous societies. The teachings have been made available to the British Isles through the work of the 8 Shields Institute. Read more about 8shields philosophy here .

I have made a commitment to these practices in my own life and I also recognize that:

  • All ‘8’ practices form an individualized total view; unique to each person yet a reference point to connect with others.
  • Integrating and presencing the emergent qualities and archetypes associated with these principles into outdoor learning programmes makes for a well rounded, embodied and wholesome experience.
  • It is important for the preservation and protection of culture and wellbeing for all individuals, generations, organisations, communities and families to work with all these principles.
  • There are some organizations, communities and families that specialize in one of these ‘handshakes’ or exemplify certain attributes. These specialists sometimes need the support to help bring the good message in a well rounded educational experience to relate their specialism to the wider social movement.
  • In life, we move between different communities of interest, each with different degrees of health and balance and therefore; dissemination of knowledge and experience is essential in restoring regenerative principles to everyday human life.
  • Outdoor learning provides an opportunity to connect to nature and to explore what healthy relationships mean. After all, most of us know the effect that degenerative culture has on the human soul and the biological systems we inhabit.  I’m interested in the impact of what regenerative culture has on the human soul and the biological systems we inhabit.

‘If such a process is not present, we might then ask what we could do to design and implement a community-appropriate response. In this way — piece by piece — we can support greater resiliency and well‐being for ourselves, our families, and our larger communities.’ 8 Shields ‘North’ handbook.