Why Stories of Regenerative Culture?
If all you follow is media coverage, this is the Extinction Rebellion you get: neon pink boats, buckets of blood on Downing Street, 91-year-olds in the arms of police, outstretched hands super-glued to towering financial institutions. Stories that are handcuff-and-wildebeast sexy, more wild than a rewilding project, moments that have galvanized countless thousands to shout “this is it!” with their keyboards, to their mothers, over cold roast broccoli and, of course, while otherwise stuck in traffic.
But here’s the rub—those dramatic images hide the movement’s secret heart, Extinction Rebellion’s regenerative culture.
On the Ground
Practically, regenerative culture teams support Extinction Rebellion rebels from behind the scenes: carrying hot chocolate to police stations for the newly-released, providing professional-level first aid, orchestrating grief-listening for the emotionally inundated, mediating the inevitable conflicts and confusions. Sometimes, it’s the little things: the carefully designed facilitation structures that guide meetings, a free lunch, a consensual hug from a buddy assigned to look out for you in the streets. And, yes, sometimes it’s yoga and meditation and workshops to support inner growth, if that appeals to you.
A Founding Principle
As the organizations’ earliest members developed Extinction Rebellion’s principles, they set down a framework to guide their vision of a regenerative culture. As the movement’s third principle, they declared:
“We Need A Regenerative Culture
Creating a culture which is healthy, resilient and adaptable.
A regenerative human culture is healthy, resilient and adaptable; it cares for the planet and it cares for life in the awareness that this is the most effective way to create a thriving future for all of humanity. Regenerative culture means improvements year on year, taking small steps to heal and improve, and on all levels, including individuals, communities, our soil, water and air. More than being a network of “activists”, we seek to find ways of being and doing that support positive change. This can include ceremony and prayer (in ways that are neither dogmatic nor expected) as formats to find inspiration from things bigger than ourselves. We need to reconnect with our love for ourselves, our country and our people alongside wider neighbours; people and the natural world.
Regenerative culture includes a healthy focus on mutually supporting categories of:
- Self care – how we take care of our own needs and personal recovery from this toxic system
- Action care – how we take care of each other whilst we undertake direct actions and civil disobedience together
- Interpersonal care – how we take care of the relationships we have, being mindful of how we affect each other, taking charge of our side of relationships
- Community care – how we take care of our development as a network and community, strengthening our connections and adherence to these principles and values
- People and Planet care – how we look after our wider communities and the earth that sustains us all
It’s about relationships. Our relationships with ourselves and personal histories, our relationships with what we struggle against, our relationships with other individuals day to day, and our relationships as a group – these are completely interdependent. Self care is also about taking care of the animal parts of the self that respond instinctively to stressful situations with fight or flight or faint.”
Since then, the process of articulating what regenerative culture means for the world, within the framework of the third principle, has become an ongoing conversation; A concert of visions interact and inform each other. People disagree, and learn. Each iteration matures the last, and a movement grows.