You will often hear “sustainability” being touted as a goal of environmental action. However, sustaining a world and systems that are in disrepair is nothing to strive for. “Sustainability” can also be used to refer specifically to sustaining — i.e., retaining and maintaining — a place for human beings on this planet. Surely, there is room for right human relationships with the Earth that go beyond mere survival. Instead of sustainable systems, we suggest reaching toward regenerative ones. Regenerative systems restore, renew, and revitalize their sources of energy and materials as they unfold. By creating and practicing cultures of regeneration, we create true resilience in a world that is daily reborn.
Just as our interactions with the Earth can lead to the exhaustion of Earth’s resources, our interventions on its behalf can also lead to personal exhaustion. The American Psychological Association has identified eco-anxiety as the stress caused by “watching the slow and seemingly irrevocable impacts of climate change unfold, and worrying about the future for oneself, children, and later generations.” The risk of eco-anxiety and burnout are high among environmental activists, which can have lasting harmful impacts on individuals, communities, and the planet, ultimately.
Regenerative activism is a different way to engage in the work that makes the world a better place. Balancing action with reflection is a necessary step in avoiding burnout and coping with eco-anxiety. Practicing regenerative activism allows you to care for yourself so you can better care for others.
Waterspirit offers activities such as contemplative prayer for Earth, commemorations of the seasons, and climate anxiety support groups in order to hold space for this kind of interiorized, regenerative work to take place. Taking time to turn inward while connecting with nature can be a powerful tool in your activist toolkit. Waterspirit invites you to immerse your inner spirit with nature — to see the importance of rejuvenating and connecting with the divine within yourself — for your spirit and for your sacred activism.