This week I’ve been on holiday walking some of the South West Coastal Path in Cornwall. Unlike in much of the UK, we’ve had glorious sunshine on this rugged peninsula. (The long winter I mentioned in my last post, a distant memory.)
The Coastal Path is actually many paths. They are narrow and you walk pressed between wild flowers: magenta foxgloves, white cow parsley, wild gladioli, giant daisies. Walking gives me time to reflect, ponder and percolate ideas. Quietly, I’ve started to map out chapter headings for my next book.
My friends keep asking what I’m writing about. They’re hoping for another novel. When I tell them I am writing about how we can apply regenerative principles to our work and life, they look a bit disappointed.
But, that’s okay. I reckon, once they read what I’m learning about… they’ll be interested.
Paul Hawken: a world-leading author in regeneration
Right now I’m in the exciting phase of interviewing people across industries and from different fields. These include economist and environmentalist, Paul Hawken, author of Regeneration: how to end the climate crisis in one generation. It’s ballsy and bold, like him. There’s an urgency and intensity in the way he talks that is captivating – and makes you believe this is possible.
And it’s also backed up by solid research. In 2014 Hawken founded Project Drawdown. Since then he’s collaborated with over 200 researchers on dozens of climate solutions – many of which are already happening to create “the largest social movement in history.” Behind the scenes he works with heads of state and global CEOs to help them accelerate economic and ecological regeneration.
When we spoke he reminded me that, “We are innately regenerative, all 30 trillion cells in us.”
When I pressed him for more, he said simply, “Caring is regeneration in action… Unlike a concept like sustainability, regenerative is a principle. It is a way of seeing… This regenerative impulse is in all human beings. “
Nature immersion: it works.
Walking in Cornwall felt so regenerative. The profusion of flowers, warm micro-climates where palm trees, succulents and grevillea grow (frosts are rare in the southwest so these species survive the UK winter) add to the rich biodiversity. Carpets of pink “pig face” tumble off cliff faces; gulls wheel above.
Being immersed in nature like this helped me think more deeply on how to simplify some of the regenerative theories. It seemed apt that the South West Coastal Path spits and diverges… each path has its own character… each adapting to the shape of the land that it travels. There’s a certain etiquette as you walk – you shout “runner” and step aside when a jogger barrels past, you step onto the bank when the path is particularly narrow, and let a family walk by.
Taking the time to slow down.
All of this spoke to me of the need to be attuned to your surroundings – to the place you are in. (Place-making is essential to regenerative thinking). It’s also about slowing down and taking the time to notice the micro-moments of nature.
This card I found in the port town of Mousehole summed it up well. We cannot direct the wind but we can adjust the sails. That is, our own sails…
By changing our way of seeing, we can achieve so much. Really we can.
Over to you. What inspires you the most when you are in nature / the bush / on country?
Hi, I’m Claire. Through my business Wordstruck we help companies bring their sustainability strategy to life. As the Founder of Regenerative Storytelling, we’re helping leaders do more for their people, their community and the planet. I publish regular content about storytelling, regenerative leadership and reframing how to address our rapidly heating world. To see more of my content, please sign up – and join the conversation by sharing a comment below.