Building a regenerative culture at work

This was an exercise in figuring out how I could build support for making sustainability more a part of my professional life, and really all professional lives. What can someone in any organization ask for to support sustainability and climate action? No matter their primary role.

It is increasingly clear that my contribution to a more just and regenerative future will come from the joy I find in nature. Through that joy, I have the power to plant (and/or water) seeds of stewardship and sustainability in all hearts. In order to fulfill this role, I make time to connect with nature each and every day. And seek out opportunities to connect with others around creative and regenerative ways of life that further peace and love, not fear and scarcity.

I’m imagining a future where the people around me connect effortlessly with the idea of stewardship. Personal responsibility is not a burden to address at the end of their workday, but built into the way we live our lives at work, at home, with our friends and families. It is a source of joy, it connects us and generates feelings of gratitude for life. For example, imagine a work culture where:

  • A team meets for retreats or trainings in a space touched by nature.

  • We use these spaces to brainstorm what we can do as team members or cross-discipline, professional peers to reduce harm and make a positive contribution through our work, or the skills we bring, to: mitigation, resilience, adaptation, and/or regenerative ways of life.

  • We know that we spread our message of stewardship and sustainability by living the example we wish for others to adopt.

  • Once we have built a vision of sustainability into our team goals and support those goals with resources, we can approach other communities within our organization to replicate or ask what sustainability looks like within their own field.

  • Team members are given the creative freedom (and time, within limits) to pursue projects that support the many faces of sustainability and sustainability actors within our organization.

  • During extreme events, such as wildfires and poor air quality, we encourage coming together in community to support each other and connect with one other.

Practically, many if not all of these things would strengthen work culture, increase retention and productivity for those motivated by a sense of purpose and desire to contribute their power and expertise towards skillful, climate action.

Long-term investment is needed to get sustainability on the map and in the minds of colleagues, peers, and leaders at all levels within all organizations. Activating individuals at the fringes, being a link and building those bridges, could also have a self-perpetuating ripple effect. When I catch myself doubting my contribution, I take time to reflect on:

  • Where I have planted or watered the seeds of sustainability and stewardship? In the hearts of which leaders, colleagues, and interdisciplinary actors?

  • What practices or aspects of our culture have changed as a result?

  • With whom have I shared my enthusiasm for the beauty of a season in transition?