Regenerative Guilds

Techniques of enrichment rather than sustaining, saving, degrading or exploiting a landscape, are numerous but remain conceptually dispersed or primitivized.

These techniques challenge the premise that the environment (socially conceived) is fixed and finite and humans are by default exploitative. They challenge the political dichotomy of wild and domesticated, that supports the practice of saving wilderness whilst intensively domesticating the rest.

There is no space from a regenerative perspective for unilaterally seeing humans as a disease. There is no space for considering humans as exploitative by default. It is empirically inaccurate and deeply mystifying to ignore the beauty, biodiversity and rich landscapes that have emerged with certain human communities and particular ways of organising. To ignore this lushness is to be colonized, as Piers Locke puts it, by the ‘imaginative poverty of modernist, instrumentalist thought’.

Instead, this atlas introduces a catalogue of techniques that provide a praxis for a lush world and the basis for informing those in the political position to enable it. It also highlights that the medium is as important as the message, hence simply stating that a technique is ‘good’ or ‘sustainable’ will not do. Attention to the socio-technological medium that an ‘ethical’ message is embedded in is critical.

Together I call iterations of the medium and message regenerative technologies and their guilds. The basic characteristics include their capability to channel rather than control the reproduction of life, to enrich, enliven and facilitate the reproductive emergence of novel and abundant multispecies communities.

But, this is not simply about the environment as other species. The guild praxis asks us to take responsibility for our future together, including with those forms of life that constitute us biologically, socially and are engaged in collectives guilds of mutual aid with us (Kropotkin). Whether for and through the environment of our bodies, our families, our municipalities, our communities of practice, our economies and platforms, mobilizations and assemblies, federations and societies, bioregions and cities. In taking personal and political responsibility as entangled in more-than-human guilds, we can halt the reproduction of precarity inducing obstacles, avoid activist burnout, heal the scars of anthropocentrism and move beyond the political retreat of the individual into themselves. In doing so, address our environmental and political wellbeing. This is no simple task, and having a resource of ingredients does not solve how to get from here to there.

That is why the overall aim here is to bring together disparate case studies from around the world whilst indicating political strategies for how these ingredients can be brought about. In part through teaming up with novel guilds that support each others regeneration.

This is an extract from a project proposal I developed whilst at the Max Planck Institute of Social Anthropology in Halle in the winter of 2018. If you are interested in the catalogue of case studies feel free to contact me.

2 responses to “Regenerative Guilds”

  1. […] mood. I think facing reality is good, but in my presentations I should skip straight to the regenerative futures afforded by archaeological, historical and ethnographic research. Really hammer them home. Rather than dwelling in critiques of things that should be patently […]


  2. […] itself as focussing on regeneration rather than conservation, protection, sustainability etc. That is it overcomes the two main principles of dominant environmental narratives; assuming people are by default exploitative and that the living environment or ‘resources’ are […]


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