Sustainability vs. Regenerative Processes

Updated: Apr 25, 2019

Definitions and Perspective on Sustainability and Sustainable Development (SD)

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC):

"Sustainability is closely related to resilience and vulnerability. True sustainability should include the Triple Bottom Line: economic, social, and ecological imperatives. Sustainable Development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Cambridge University:

"The quality of being able to continue over a period of time; the quality of causing little or no damage to the environment and therefore able to continue for a long time."


"Sustainability focuses on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs."

Activist/Physicist, Vandana Shiva:

"Earth democracy, equality and sustainability are 2 sides of the same coin; focused on a values-based approach that goes beyond the ambiguous "sustainability" and drives earth resource security conversations."

Definitions and Perspectives on Regenerative Processes

US National Library of Medicine:

"Regenerative processes are defined by the basic mechanism behind regeneration requires comparison to both development and homeostasis, the tendency toward a relatively stable equilibrium between interdependent elements, especially as maintained by physiological processes."

University of British Columbia (UBC):

"Regenerative sustainability should have net-positive human-environment interactions."

Ann Dale, author of At The Edge and professor of Environment & Sustainability at Royal Roads University: "The focus on the degree to which humans choose to be utilists or integrists of natural resources."

The creation of ecosystem successional development

Frederic Clements, Henry Gleason, and Henry Chandler Cowles:

"The process of change in the species structure of an ecological community over time. The community begins with relatively few pioneering plants and animals and develops through increasing complexity until it becomes stable or self-perpetuating as a climax community. Trajectory successional change is conditional of influences and stochastic factors (randomly determined) learned from vegetation development. This helps in the development of complex taxonomy of communities and successional pathways."

How the Anthropocene is a key indicator of sustainability and regenerative processes

Paul Crutzen coined Anthropocene ("anthropo" or human, and cene or new.):

"The study of human-environment interactions also known as the Holocene. We are are all part of the sixth extinction."

Carl Linnaeus, botanist, physician and zoologist who formalized binomial (two-name process) nomenclature:

Binomial Nomenclature: "The modern system of naming organisms." Known as the father of modern taxonomy. Linnaeus projected regenerative theories.

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