This message is intended to be shared with people and organizations committed to environmental stewardship and ensuring that a healthy, thriving planet is passed on to our future generations. What you are about to read is a CALL TO ACTION… to CREATE new societal systems and models of regenerative community development that are based in values of holistic health, balance, harmony, resilience and reciprocity. The systems and models we are presenting have been developed with an integration of principles based in permaculture, biomimicry, natural patterning, whole systems design and regeneration.
Build a global network of regenerative communities that inspire, educate and demonstrate how the human species can live in a healthy and harmonious balance with nature and the planet as a whole.
The models we are developing have been inspired by many amazing people, organizations and projects. One of these people and projects is the book “Braiding Sweetgrass”, by Native American scientist and decorated professor Robin Wall Kimmerer. In alignment with the spirit and essence of this book we are honoring the ancient wisdom that has been shared by indigenous cultures worldwide; and integrating this wisdom with modern scientific studies of ecological conservation and environmental restoration.
The human species has the potential to be a beneficial organism that lives in balance, harmony and reciprocity with nature; and contributes to the overall health and wellbeing of the planet. In response to the unnatural design of many of our current societal systems, many people and cultures are currently demonstrating behaviors of a harmful and parasitic organism that is destroying its host (the Earth) with linear, exploitive and extractive systems; leading to pollution, ecological degradation, environmental devastation and social/societal breakdown. The new models we are developing are Earth/Life Centric rather than human centric, we are taking into context the health and well-being of the planet as a whole; rather than any one person or species. Many of these concepts have evolved with and emerged from the Earth 2.0 Research Project.
In conjunction and collaboration with many other visionaries and organizations, Local Earth has been working on new models of regenerative community development for 8 years. The base unit scale of design for the model we are developing is based on research by Dr. Robin Dunbar (PhD). Dr. Dunbar is a British anthropologist and evolutionary psychologist, currently heading the Social and Evolutionary Neuroscience Research Group at the University of Oxford. He is best known for formulating Dunbar’s number, a measurement of the “cognitive limit to the number of individuals with whom any one person can maintain stable relationships“. Based on the capacity of our neocortex humans are able to maintain approximately 150 stable personal relationships.
We are exploring and demonstrating new models of social organization, urban planning and community development that shift away from design concepts modeled around the nuclear family; to models that are designed around cooperatively managed neighborhood villages of approximately 100-150 people. This base unit scale of design can be replicated and scaled up to meet the needs of larger scale urban planning methodologies for larger towns or cities. The models we are developing can be adapted and modified for implementation in rural, suburban and urban locations. (More information on blueprint for scale and replication can be found here)
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead
Our community development model is providing regenerative solutions to many of the social, economic and environmental challenges we are currently facing on the planet. The residents of each neighborhood village will work together to grow the majority of their own organic food, generate their own renewable energy, manage the majority of their own waste in a closed-loop system; this work will provide internal jobs for many of the residents in the community. We are also exploring new concepts of cooperative land stewardship and management, rather than private property and individual ownership. We are cultivating a community culture of access and stewardship, rather than ownership. Our community ethos emphasizes the holistic value of regenerative economics, health, well-being, resilience, connection, interdependence, environmental sustainability and mutual thriving; rather than simply focusing on financial profit.
We are exploring and demonstrating new economic models that are shifting away from fractional reserve, debt based banking systems; towards innovative and regenerative systems similar to that of the localized ‘Circular Economy’ model that is currently being implemented in Amsterdam, Netherlands. We have also found inspiration in concepts for a ‘Resource Based Economy’ explored by Jaque Fresco and the Venus Project. It is a priority of ours to ensure that wealth, power, authority and resources are distributed in an equitable and balanced way throughout the community and residents. We will be developing an internal energetic exchange system (currency) called the Earthshare.
We are exploring and demonstrating innovative models of organizational management, governance and decision making processes for the communities. The majority of our research thus far has been on models of Sociocracy, Holacracy and Dynamic Governance. We are shifting towards models of circular, self-organizing, decentralized, council based leadership rather than individual, top-down CEO/President styles of leadership. The intention is for each neighborhood village to have approximately 3-9 cooperatively managed businesses within the community.
We have drawn inspiration from the Mondragon Corporation in Spain, which is a federation of worker-owned cooperatives founded in 1956. Mondragon currently employs 80,818 people with 266 cooperatively managed companies with revenue over $14 billion. Zappos is an inspiring example of a US based company that shifted towards a Holacratic style of organization in 2015. The Zappos CEO, Tony Hsieh recommended workers read the book, “Reinventing Organizations: A Guide to Creating Organizations Inspired by the Next Stage in Human Consciousness” by Frederic Laloux to learn about their transition towards a self-organizing Teal model of business. Zappos has over 1,500 employees, and as of 2015 was generating around $2 billion in revenue annually.
We are focused on human scale design for walkable communities that place high value on the quality of life for community residents. Roads and parking are designed to be on the periphery to keep cars and pollution out of the heart of the community. We have drawn inspiration from Cohousing, Kibbutz, Agrihood and Culdesac models. Cohousing is a concept that originated in Europe in the 1960’s where the homes are designed around a central group of communal spaces and buildings. The Kibbutz is a community model that originated around agriculture in Israel in 1909. The concept for Agrihoods originated in Southern California around 2014 focused on communities that integrate agriculture into residential neighborhoods. Culdesac is a car-free neighborhood for 1,000 people currently being built in Tempe, Arizona. We are exploring car and ridesharing models for community residents. There are numerous well established environmental sustainability and community development projects that have provided inspiration for our vision and research.
Here are a few…
- Findhorn (Scotland, 1962)
- Twin Oaks (Virginia, 1967)
- Biosphere 2 (Arizona, 1986)
- Earthship Biotecture (New Mexico, 1988)
- Damanhur (Italy, 1975)
- Auroville (India, 1968)
- Tamera (Portugal, 1978)
- Twelve Tribes (Tennessee/Global Network, 1972)
- Regen Villages (Netherlands, in development – photo credit)
- Providing a healthy planet for future generations
- Ecological conservation, restoration and regeneration
- Inclusivity, social justice, reciprocity & equity
- Living in balance and harmony with nature
- Allowing nature and observation of natural systems to guide methods and practices of whole systems design
- Providing walkable, human-scale communities with local jobs
- Cultivation of holistic health and optimal well-being
- Cultivation of resilient communities that are food, water, shelter and energy secure
- Cultivation of community, lifestyle and ways of being where the human species is a healthy and beneficial part of the ecosystem
- Shifting from paradigms of private property and ownership; to paradigms of access and cooperative land/community stewardship
- Shifting from a paradigm of fractional reserve debt based banking systems; to paradigms of equitable and regenerative economic systems
- Shifting from paradigms of linear, extractive, profit driven, exploitive models of development; to circular, closed-loop, regenerative paradigms of design and development
- Shifting from paradigms of centralized, top-down, hierarchical leadership and governance; to paradigms of decentralized, circular, council based leadership and governance
- Shifting from a paradigm of human centric decision making; to a paradigm of holistic Earth centric decision making
- Providing nature-based education for children
- Providing a healthy and supportive community to raise children and families
- Cultivating community based in peace, love, health, harmony, balance, integrity, reciprocity and compassion
IMPACT, Investment, Partnership & RCD FUND
The CALL TO ACTION from this document is for people and organizations with an abundance of resources (land, materials, equipment, tools, technology, finances etc.) that are ready to create and implement innovative models of ReGenerative Community Development all around the world! This message is for angel/impact investors and contributors focused on new paradigms of ROI, “Return on IMPACT” rather than traditional “return on investment”. We are grateful to provide an opportunity for people and organizations that are ready to create a legacy of positive IMPACT for their families, the environment, future generations and the planet as a whole. The concepts proposed below are for investors, contributors and visionaries that are ready and able to see a world where all beings have the opportunity to thrive on a healthy planet!
“In order to change an existing paradigm you do not struggle to try and change the problematic model. You create a new model and make the old one obsolete.” – Richard Buckminster Fuller
The financing models shared below are intended to spark interest with people and organizations that would like to participate in the co-creation of new paradigms models of conscious land and community development. Traditional financing, investment and banking models that operate on principles of debt, interest and the fractional reserve system perpetuate non-regenerative cycles of class division between property owners, people with mortgages and renters. These cycles perpetuate the continued widening gap between the wealthy and poor; continuing to aggregate more wealth, power and authority into the already wealthy classes of society that are often landowners.
These proposed financing and development models are for avant-garde visionaries with an abundance of resources that feel inspired to contribute energy towards new paradigm models of societal design and regenerative community development that support the health and well-being of the planet as a whole.
Below is an example of an integrated financing, community development and ecological conservation model we feel is a win-win-win. This model would be supportive in transitioning away from traditional, non-regenerative cycles of land and community development. We realize there are many creative and innovative ways these types of projects can be approached. Below is simply a proposed concept to spark ideas and initiate conversation. This concept portrays the scenario of us cultivating partnerships with people and organizations that believe in this vision and would like to participate, contribute to and invest in the development of the first community model. The plan is to have a network of these communities in ecosystems all around the world that demonstrate regenerative solutions for various bioregions; we are beginning with a single community model to test, demonstrate and adapt the systems before replicating the model.
We are referring to this financing model as the “Ecological Preservation, Restoration & ReGenerative Community Development Fund/Trust” (RCD FUND/Trust). The people or organizations that would like to contribute to this fund would do so in the following manner. Ideally these people and/or organizations have access to, or own an abundance of land that meet some of the criteria listed below; and would like to contribute some of their land to this ecological preservation and community development project. Together we would come to an agreement on the valuation of the land… for this hypothetical scenario let’s say we have valued the land at $500k. Now let’s say that we have come to a $5.5 million budget for project expenses… for a total project valuation of $6 million.
The participating people and entities would invest this $6 million of valued assets into the RCD FUND with the terms of a 100 year interest-free loan to the fund. The loan agreement is for this loan to be paid back in full by the cooperatively managed community businesses within 100 years. If the community pays the loan back in full within 100 years, the title for the land is then transferred via deed to a land trust that is cooperatively managed by the community residents. In this scenario the community residents 100 years from now (our future generations) will have successfully broken free from the debt/interest based private land ownership model; and transitioned into a collective stewardship model. From this time forward, community residents would have the freedom and opportunity to reinvest what was previously the loan payment amount back into the community. This would initiate a circular, toroidal, reciprocal and regenerative economic flow of currency within the community; similar to that of the ‘Circular Economy’ model referenced earlier.
Traditional models of development are often more linear by design; where wealth and energy are often continually extracted out of a community to external sources. When we observe nature and natural systems we see that rarely, if ever, is anything in nature linearly extractive. The observation of the structure of cells and cell replication is of value when considering models of regenerative community development; as well as concepts for scaling and replicating communities.
Below are calculations for several potential funding amounts ranging from $3-9 million. We feel confident that 100-150 people working together with 3-9 cooperatively managed businesses will be able to generate $2,500 – $7,500/month for loan repayments. Several of the community businesses we are considering are…
- ReGenerative Organic Certified Farm (ROC)
- Natural/Green Building Company
- Cafe/Restaurant and Artisan Good Market
- Holistic Health, Well-being & Retreat Center
- Nature Based School (K-12)
- Event & Education Venue (Physical & Virtual)
- ReGenerative Community Development Design & Consultation
- Renewable Energy Design & Consultation
- Music Recording & Media Production Studio
100 Year Loan Model
100 (years) x 12 (months) = 1,200 months
$3 Million (average monthly payback)
$3 million / 1,200 (months) = $2,500/month
$6 Million (average monthly payback)
$6 million / 1,200 (months) = $5,000/month
$9 Million (average monthly payback)
$9 million / 1,200 (months) = $7,500/month
If the loan is repaid in full within 100 years, the trustees of the fund will then have the opportunity to decide what to do with those resources. There would be the option to reinvest into the fund, creating a sustainable financing model that would continue to support regenerative community development projects for many years to come… truly perpetuating a legacy of impact! This model is conducive to redispersing aggregated wealth, power and authority back into local communities.
If for some reason the community is not able to fully pay back the loan amount within 100 years, the land and assets (or an agreed upon portion of assets) will then be transferred back into the management of a person, family member, trustee or organization that the original investing entities agreed upon when signing the original contracts. This gives the community 100 years to successfully develop the model and implement the project; if they are unable to do so the assets will be returned to a person, entity or organization of the original benefactors choosing.
Local Earth is a nonprofit (501C3), people and organizations are also welcome to make tax deductible donations to the project.
There are numerous countries, cultures and banking entities that utilize interest-free financial models. There are more than 300 banks and 250 mutual funds around the world that comply with interest-free banking laws and policies. As of 2016 Islamic banks were managing around $3 trillion in financial capital within an interest-free system (grew from $200 billion in 2000 to $3 trillion in 2016). In Muslim countries this concept of interest-free banking is part of Sharia law.
Land, Location, Observation & Preservation
The size of the property and scale of the project will depend on the geographic location, climate, ecosystem and what type of ecological preservation/restoration is needed in the local area (examples: soil/water/air remediation, watershed management, forest fire management, wildlife conservation, endangered species protection, biodiversity restoration, management of invasive species etc.). Depending on the climate and agricultural needs we are envisioning a parcel of land between 100-500 acres. This land would provide space for the community residents to live, grow food, generate electricity and manage waste in a regenerative way; as well as whatever acreage is necessary for the work and implementation of the ecological preservation/restoration projects. For the ease of growing the majority of the food for the community, land in a somewhat mild or tropical climate would be ideal for the first community; it is more challenging and requires more resources to grow a significant portion of the food in colder, harsher climates. We are open to anywhere in the world, yet are feeling inclined to start the first community project in North, Central or South America.
Together as a team we will set the sustainability/regeneration parameters for the project (x factors). The intention is for the community to be highly self-sufficient and sustaining…
- Internally generate x% of electricity needs from clean, renewable sources
- Source x% of structural building materials within x mile radius
- Source additional x% of materials within x mile radius
- Building materials will be natural, renewable, non-toxic and durable
- Internally source x% of water needs from local natural sources and methods
- Internally produce and grow x% of the community food needs
- Source an additional x% of food needs from within a x mile radius
- Internally manage and re-utilize x% of village waste
- x% of waste to be recycled within x miles radius
- Provide internal jobs/work within the community businesses
- Provide shared community transportation that operates on renewable energy
The residents of the community will be specialists, visionaries and pioneers dedicated to environmental stewardship and ecological preservation/restoration. We understand this will be a lengthy process that will require commitment and dedication. Many of us that are dedicated to this type of work and service source much of our health, joy and energy from connection to thriving nature. We are setting the intentions for the property to be in a beautiful, natural environment with access to healthy soil and clean water for growing food. We are setting the intention for it to be near either beautiful mountains and/or water (oceans, rivers, waterfalls, lakes, hotsprings etc). Ideally the land will be somewhat remote and mostly untouched for us to develop a rural community model; this would ideally be within 30-90 minutes from a decent sized village, town or city (for transportation, accessibility and resources for development).
An important component of innovative and regenerative community development is the adaptation and evolution of laws, policies, permitting and zoning regulations. The current policies and zoning regulations in many parts of the world inhibit innovative concepts of regenerative community development. For example many current zoning regulations separate residential and agricultural land, making it challenging for local communities to be self-sufficient and grow their own food. Current zoning policies often perpetuate models of large scale industrial agriculture that destroy topsoil and biodiversity. These zoning policies make it challenging to integrate small local farms, practicing regenerative agriculture into communities. An important component of this project will be focused on adapting and creating new policies for regenerative community development. One of our team members is a fellow with Civilization Redesign; this provides our team with access to an experienced and knowledgeable network of advisors.
We have seen how human presence, development and settlement is often viewed as a harmful factor in an ecosystem; this viewpoint is accurate and justified in many circumstances. For these reasons we often see environmental conservation projects that exclude and prohibit human presence and interaction. Based on the research from Robin Kimmerer and her ecology students in “Braiding Sweetgrass”, we are reframing this narrative and creating a new/ancient story and reality for the human species. We are demonstrating how human presence and interaction when initiated from a place of love, wisdom, knowledge, respect and reciprocity can be a supportive and beneficial component of ecological preservation/restoration. We are demonstrating how the human species has the potential to be a beneficial part of the ecosystem.
“It is possible that the next Buddha will not take the form of an individual. The next Buddha may take the form of a community – a community practicing understanding and loving kindness, a community practicing mindful living. This may be the most important thing we can do for the survival of the earth” – Thich Nhat Hanh
We are bringing a new awareness and consciousness to land and community development. Traditional development is often guided by money and profit; often leading to a fast paced process of subdividing land and designing it for maximum density for maximum profit. Regenerative development is guided by holistic intentions and important questions such as… what is most healthy and beneficial for the community and ecosystem as a whole? Permaculture is guided by nature and principles of whole systems design. For these reasons a property is ideally observed for a full year before any final design decisions are made. This allows designers to learn about the natural patterns and characteristics of the local ecosystem through all four seasons; observing things such as sun patterns, microclimates, precipitation patterns, temperatures, soil quality, hydrological cycles, water flow, erosion patterns and prevailing wind directions.
Based on these processes of observation we feel it would be beneficial for us to create a temporary basecamp for our core development team and designers either on the land or nearby. This would provide our design team with the ability to observe the land for one year before implementing the full design process. This patient approach guided by nature leads to intelligent, holistic, resilient and regeneratively designed plans and solutions. We are approaching this as a multi-generational marathon with a timeline of hundreds of years driven by resilience, regeneration, longevity and legacy; rather than a short term sprint driven by myopic financial profit.
Engage ~ Participate ~ Share (CALL TO ACTION!)
Thank you for taking the time to read this document. Please SHARE this with anyone you feel will be inspired by this project and vision! This is not a “pitch’ for investment… this is an invitation for collaboration and partnership in the development of a global network of regenerative communities that will provide inspiration and education worldwide! This project has been in research and development for about 6 years; we recently completed a 2 year case-study (April 2018 – April 2020) of a small prototype model with 12 people on 11 acres of land 45 minutes outside of San Diego, CA.
This document is intended to connect with your heart, spark inspiration and initiate conversation. If you feel inspired to be part of a project creating regenerative solutions for the planet… let’s talk! If you are seeing, hearing and feeling this CALL TO ACTION in your heart… please contact us!
With love, gratitude, respect, appreciation and dedication…
Joshua Alvord and the Local Earth Village Development Team