It is time to rethink. All attempts to adapt to ongoing environmental changes such as global warming, ocean acidification, and biodiversity loss are doomed to fail. Adaptation strategies – short-term as well as long-term – are counter-productive, because they avoid the root cause of the social and ecological crisis: the capitalist system. The inconvenient truth is that capitalism as a social or socio-ecological system never has been about sustainable human development.
Time is running out, but we are hopeful. We believe that it is still possible to change direction, still possible to solve the crisis – if we come together and create a society that enables us to live well within the planetary boundaries. However, the transformation to a democratically governed and ecologically literate society requires a paradigm shift, a new revolution.
From a survival perspective, it is obvious that we need new forms of democracy and new forms of solidarity, but also new forms of cross-border collaboration at all geographic levels. At the local level, the root level of a thriving planet, we need new relations to the web of life, to everything from the food we eat to the people around us.
Democracy and creativity
Although the crisis is deep and the future uncertain, there is no reason to stop imagining the good life, a more meaningful and responsible way of living. As more and more people live in cities, it is becoming increasingly important to develop our potential together with others and, more specifically, to explore the socio-ecological possibilities of the urban.
The city as a place for change is therefore both radically democratic and radically creative. We believe that democratic cities and neighborhoods, the emerging spaces of creative interaction, are fundamental to the development of a society where we care for our fellow human beings while contributing to healthy ecosystems and a healthy planet.
If democracy and creativity are necessary for sustainable human development, we realize the need for bio-culturally diverse environments, cities and neighborhoods that are open to all and shaped by all. We realize the need for closed cycles and decentralization, but also that the degree of openness to the outside world and the forms of coexistence – biological, cultural, social, and ecological – limit our possibilities.
Socio-ecological regeneration is about changing from below, about making democratic neighborhood institutions scalable, about learning and sharing, about removing all forms of oppression and violence, about increasing the complexity of urban ecosystems – the list can be made longer. If regenerative neighborhoods inspire us to think in new ways, help us to meet our needs, and, no less important, bring us closer together and closer to nature, we are probably moving in the right direction.
Initiative for regeneration
Slow Society Go is an independent initiative that aims to make the world a place for learning, sharing, and socio-ecological regeneration. By exploring the socio-ecology of neighborhoods, we hope to contribute to the creation of a sustainable society. In our view, this is a society with: democratic governance at all levels; ecosystem-oriented social and cultural practices; free access to information; safe and healthy environments for all; free education and research; neighborhood-integrated food and energy systems; and, to make everything work together, globally interconnected, collaborative networks of neighborhoods, cities, and regions.