Editorial CCPB February 2024

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February unfolded its dreary canvas, a monotony of grey and wetness that saturated not only skies, rivers, houses, soils,… February was also a month full of protest and chaos. These circumstances certainly touch our soul and influence our thinking.

In the midst of such situations I tend to get negative, create a tunnel vision, reduce complexity and only see the darkness that surrounds me. Often I recognize this thinking pattern thanks to self- observing, but also often I need the people and life around me to get me out of the reductionist thinking. It teaches me also that in this period of brutes and light headed people, it’s beneficial to be in good company, it’s good to be humble.

We live indeed challenging and chaotic times, but these times give us the opportunity to reverse the degeneration around and inside ourself. Natural living systems can inspire us to design human systems that co-evolve with natural systems, evolve in a way that generates mutual benefits and greater overall expression of life and resilience.

We are living in a world that is nested, dynamic, complex, interdependent and evolving. This was so during the Roman empire and is so today. In this context regenerative approaches can help us to find answers for today’s challenges. These approaches are complementary and “the next level of work” to what we are already doing.

For a long time our actions, efforts and thinking were situated on the lower levels, focusing on existence, on operating, maintaining and increasing quality of performance and efficiency of what we do, produce or think. It is a focus on problem solving based on simplification of reality.

Very recently we have been acting on the do good level, but we are struggling in defining what’s good. If we can shift our actions, efforts and thinking towards what could be but is not yet manifested, introducing potential for new life and creativity and advancing the whole, we would reach the “highest level of work”. It includes moving from the current view of standing apart from and using (or protecting) nature to seeing a co-evolutionary whole, where humans exist in symbiotic relationship with the living lands around them. This level can help us to think about how to partner with natural systems and processes to contribute to regenerate the health of the places where we live and to reconnect with the places where we love to live.

This relates strongly with the dream of HAEDES, i.e. to design infrastructure that allows coevolution with the natural system and creates a caring field, commitment and deep connection to nature and allow it to develop over time. It also relates to the ambitions of the Belgian Government, which will on April 11th 2024 present the outcome of a literature study that HAEDES is doing together with Leen Gorissen on Regenerative Development. During this one day event, held in the frame of its presidency of the Council of the European Union, the Belgian Government is committed to inspire EU parliament members, policy makers, scientists, NGO’s, companies and people and enlighten the potential of Regenerative Development. A strong sign that also at political level interest in regenerative approaches is on the rise.

Also at our Chamber of Commerce, we have the potential and an environment of trust to evolve to the next level of work. Our Chamber of Commerce is an important economic agent promoting bilateral relations between Portugal and Belgium, contributing to the internationalisation of businesses and co-evolution between the two countries. The Chamber of Commerce is a living system, with core qualitative characteristics to connect, to enhance and illuminate the potential of business in support of developmental activities. Humans cannot be separated from the living systems, also not the Chamber of Commerce. It is a challenge for all of us active in the Chamber of Commerce and in the network around us to not only provide added value to our members, but also to inspire and nourish and to create an appreciating culture.

We are just beginning to glimpse how, through weaving the many stories in and around us into a mutually appreciative way of working. Is it a small step into the good direction? Or is it, as N. Armstrong said on July 20th 1969: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”? The answer to this question will depend on us.

Kind regards,