WHOLE-SYSTEM SOLUTIONS GUIDE
The solutions to the problems of the world already exist.
They just need to be made visible to the public eye so we can implement them at the global scale.
Once we expand our worldview to acknowledge the vast scope of the new models,
we can create positive change exponentially.
— Maddy Harland, Editor and Co-Founder of Permaculture Magazine
Overview of Solutions Guide
with Links to Each Section
Use the Anchor Menu on the left to jump to sections.
About this Guide
As Codes for a Healthy Earth and numerous grassroots communities and networks around the world affirm, we already have the knowledge, wisdom, solutions, technologies and resources to effectively address all our global challenges and ensure a thriving world for all of Life. The Whole-System Solutions Guide aspires to offer a compelling testimony to that bold and hopeful affirmation. This guide provides an evolving overview of some of the most prominent resources, initiatives and topics that are related to whole-system solutions for exponential whole-system healing.
This space also includes a Resource Guide that is specifically dedicated to the 7 Core Needs and the global initiative of #7CoreNeeds. The 7 Core Needs Resource Guide (coming soon) provides an overview of some of the most inspiring, effective, relevant and practical resources and real-life stories related to co-creating a world where the core needs of all humans and animals are met in ways that protect and restore the entire biosphere.
7 Core Needs Resource Guide
(It is recommended to read this page before exploring the Core Needs)
A Word About "Solutions"
In recent times the word "solution" has become associated with a "quick fix", reductionist, reactionary, symptomatic and/or technocratic approach to a particular challenge — often with a view to gain financially, perpetuate extractivism and/or further citizen dependence and control. These are what we might call "pseudo solutions". In this guide, solutions are seen as holistic interventions that effectively address the root cause(s) of challenges in ways that cause no harm to Life. They include, for instance, best practices, wisdom teachings, regenerative innovation, appropriate technology, etc. The discernment principles below are offered to help identify optimal solutions.
Discerning Principles for Solutions
Inspired by the decision-making criteria offered by Eco-Governance, discernment processes for optimal solutions are guided by four key indicators. Eco-Governance suggests that to ensure holistic, issue-focused and multi-perspective decision-making, it is essential for the most relevant and diverse human and non-human voices to be represented in all discernment processes.
The Eco-Governance framework proposes that decisions are made on the basis of that which is:
Additional discerning principles for solutions include:
Non-harmful / non-toxic — No foreseeable negative impacts to Life (precautionary principle).
Root cause — Addresses the root cause(s) of the challenge.
Holistic — Takes into account systemic influences, integrates diverse perspectives and disciplines and applies whole-system health and healing wisdom.
Stacking functions — Addresses multiple challenges simultaneously.
Non-extractive — Uses easily renewable resources or recycled materials.
Uses local resources — The more that materials can be sourced locally, the better.
Non-intrusive — Respects personal and community-based privacy and sovereignty.
Adaptable — Can be easily adapted to diverse cultures, climates and conditions.
Scalable — Can be easily replicated and applied globally.
Localization & Bioregionalism
Economic localisation is the key to sustaining biological and cultural diversity
– to sustaining life itself. The sooner we shift towards the local,
the sooner we will begin healing our planet, our communities, and ourselves.
– Helena Norberg-Hodge
Today there is a vast, diverse and growing grassroots movement towards localization and "bioregioning." This movement, and all its inspiring expressions, offers countless shining examples and models for how we can self-organize to effectively meet our core needs as much as possible at the local and bioregional levels, in ways that protect and restore the biosphere. Focusing on meeting our core needs together as cities, towns, villages and rural communities, fosters deep collaboration and builds healthy, resilient and vibrant local and bioregional networks of mutual support. (See Whole-System Solutions below for links)
What Can I/We Do — Now?
One of the most important actions we can take is to self-educate about the about the global and local challenges, their systemic causes, and the wealth of existing solutions, initiatives and networks from all sectors dedicated to personal, collective and planetary healing and transformation. This Resource Guide offers some of the most relevant and practical information for navigating these pivotal times of challenge and opportunity towards a thriving world for all.
An essential aspect of our learning journey is to explore the ways in which we are currently meeting our needs; what the consequences are (ecological, social, health, etc.) of how we are meeting our needs; and what we can do as individuals, families and communities, learn to meet our needs in ways that protect and restore the biosphere.
3 Inspiring Resources for Cultivating a Regenerative Lifestyle:
3 Recommended In-person Educational Experiences:
The Great Reskilling
Those of us alive today have a very strong claim to being the most useless generation to ever walk the planet.
We have forgotten how to cook, sew, knit, repair stuff, grow food, build soils and live thriftily.
— Rob Hopkins, The Great Reskilling
Prioritizing and meeting our core needs will require a fundamental reorientation of all social systems. Ultimately, most enterprises and professions will become obsolete and most people will need to retrain in skills that are relevant to our needs and aligned with the good of the whole. The coming period of "The Great Reskilling", and co-discovering a new and ancient way of living in harmony with each other and with all of Life, could prove to be one of the most inspiring, healing and meaningful times in human history.
Whole-system solutions refers here to solutions that effect systemic transformation and address most or all of challenges simultaneously. These solutions, if applied globally and adapted locally, would to contribute towards rapid and radical social and ecological healing and regeneration. Ultimately, the fact that these solutions are not widely promoted, funded and implemented at the global scale by our current systems confirms the urgent need for a "meta-whole-system solution", which is the imperative of transforming all our social systems simultaneously and globally as outlined in the Eco-Governance framework.
Below are some examples of whole-system solutions that are already well-established and activating whole-system transformation at a large scale. Additional resources and initiatives related to these whole-system solutions through the lens of specific needs can be found in the Core Needs Resource Guides (coming soon).
"In this unprecedented time, when interconnected ecological, climate, and health crises threaten our collective survival, the world is increasingly looking to Indigenous peoples for solutions. The diversity amongst Indigenous peoples’ and knowledge systems cannot be overstated - the multitude of Indigenous identities is incredibly wide-ranging." — RIVER
"Ecology is the study of relationships between plants, animals, people, and their environment - and the balance between these relationships. Agroecology is the application of ecological concepts and principals in farming." — Soil Association
BIOREGIONALISM / BIOREGIONING
"A bioregion is a land and water territory whose limits are defined by the geographical limits of human communities and ecological systems rather than by political boundaries. Such an area must be large enough to be able to be self-reliant and be able to maintain the integrity of its biological communities, habitats, and ecosystems."
"We are a network of people and projects doing people-centered productive restoration to increase and build back the ecosystem functionality of degraded landscapes."
ECOVILLAGES & INTENTIONAL COMMUNITIES
"A rural or urban community that is consciously designed through locally owned, participatory processes in all four dimensions of sustainability (social, culture, ecology and economy) to regenerate their social and natural environments."
— Global Ecovillage Network
"The right of peoples to healthy and culturally appropriate food produced through ecologically sound and sustainable methods, and their right to define their own food and agriculture systems. It puts those who produce, process and consume healthy and local food at the heart of our agriculture and food systems, instead of the demands of market and transnational companies”.
— La Via Campesina
(Global "Peasant Farmer" Network that coined the term "Food Sovereignty")
HOLISTIC HEALTH & NATURAL MEDICINE
"The truth is that most of today’s health issues can be prevented or improved simply by making intelligent lifestyle choices and cleansing your body on a regular basis."
— Dr. Edward Group, Global Healing
"Millions of local and regional enterprises are already demonstrating that they can do a better job providing for basic needs – including the fundamental human need for community – than the handful of giant corporations that currently dominate the world’s economy. ... Localization is about bringing the economy back to a human scale. It is the process of building economic structures that allow the goods and services a community needs to be produced locally and regionally whenever possible."
— Local Futures
"In our vision, regional solidarity economy ecosystems are essential building blocks for global economic transformation. A solidarity economy ecosystem is an environment where all of the things a community needs are controlled and governed by everyday people: like housing, schools, farms and food production, local governance structures, art and culture, healthcare and healing, and transportation."
— New Economy Coalition
NEW SYSTEMS FOR A THRIVING WORLD
"... We have recognized that our health is inseparable from the health of the plants, animals, water, soil, air and cosmic cycles. We remember our inherent creative power and our infinite potential for evolution. Together we manifest a New Earth, where all life is valued." — The New Earth Manifesto
"Permaculture is an innovative framework for creating sustainable ways of living. It is a practical method of developing ecologically harmonious, efficient and productive systems that can be used by anyone, anywhere."
— Permaculture Magazine
SACRED LANDS & TERRITORIES
"The whole Earth is sacred. Within the body of our Earth there are places which are especially sensitive, because of the special role they play in ecosystems. We call these places sacred natural sites. Each sacred natural site plays a different but important role, like the organs in our body."
— African Community Custodians Statement
"Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world. Community-led Transition groups are working for a low-carbon, socially just future with resilient communities, more active participation in society, and caring culture focused on supporting each other."
— Transition Network
"So much of what we call abnormality in this culture is actually normal responses to an abnormal culture. The abnormality does not reside in the pathology of individuals, but in the very culture that drives people into suffering and dysfunction.”
— Gabor Maté, The Wisdom of Trauma
URBAN REDESIGN & REGENERATION
"Common Unity is a community-based urban development project. We grow food, skills, leadership and enterprise... We believe that in order to achieve this, we need a collective response to meeting the needs of our communities and develop our own resilient solution. Common Unity is about coming together, united to make a difference in the local and wider community."
— Common Unity
"Water Retention Landscape ... is a model for natural and decentralized water management, a basis for reforestation, horticulture and agriculture in regions threatened by desertification, and is part of a comprehensive model for sustainability on a large scale that includes water, food, energy and community building."
Resources for Community-Led Self-Organization
Working together effectively and harmoniously is often easier said than done. Fortunately there are many tools and "social technologies" that have been developed to help us on this journey. One of the most important actions each of us can take is to work on our our selves, cultivating practices like self-awareness, conscious communication, deep listening, non-judgment, empathy, emotional intelligence, etc.
Catalyse — "Catalyse brings people together to discover what matters to them collectively. We build on what is already there and work out together how to turn ideas into actions that make a positive difference."
Dragon Dreaming — "Dragon Dreaming is a world wide network that aims to empower individuals, strengthen communities and offer a service to the earth."
Dynamic Governance — "Dynamic Community Governance is a method of governance that values the input and perspectives of each person. The principles and methods are derived from the science of cybernetics and the Quaker tradition of peace and education."
Foundation for Intentional Communities — "Explore books about finding, creating, and living in an intentional community."
Involve — "Involve is the UK’s leading public participation charity. We develop, support and campaign for new ways to involve people in decisions that affect their lives."
Open Space — "Open Space Technology is one way to enable all kinds of people, in any kind of organization, to create inspired meetings and events."
Network Weaver — "Toolkits & Workbooks - Self-Organizing And Systems Change"
Prosocial — "The Prosocial ARC [Awareness, Relationships, Culture] Process is a unique, practical, applied, behavioral approach that contributes to a significant worldwide research effort using evolutionary theory as a unifying theoretical framework."
Sociocracy — "Sociocracy is a governance system, just like democracy or corporate governance methods. It’s best suited for organizations that want to self-govern based on the values of equality." See also Sociocracy 3.0.
TH!NK FC — "We have a range of tools and resources that can help solve problems. There are lots of tools for different jobs, we can share these with you so you can learn how to use them and share them too."
Transition Network — "Transition is a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world... We often find that the most thriving Transition groups are paying as much attention to their culture, processes, structures and relationships as they are to their practical projects, activities and outputs." See also the vast library of Resources for Inner Transition.
u-school — "The u-school methods and tools feature a unique blend among state-of-the-art systems thinking, action learning, social arts, awareness practices, and tools for multi-sector systems transformation."
World Café — "The World Cafe is a method which makes use of an informal cafe setting for participants to explore an issue by discussing it in small table groups."
“Zero Waste: The conservation of all resources by means of responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of products, packaging, and materials without burning and with no discharges to land, water, or air that threaten the environment or human health.”
Community Maps & Collaboration Platforms
This section offers a small selection of some of the different types of platforms for communities to connect, map and organize locally, nationally and globally.
This section offers a variety of solutions repositories in the form libraries, wiki's, summits, solution awards and more. Each link is an inspiring world of its own. The Localization Action Guide and Low-impact Living are good places to start.
Appropedia — "The site to develop and share collaborative solutions in sustainability, poverty reduction and international development through the use of sound principles and appropriate technology, original research and project information."
Centre for Alternative Technology — "CAT is an educational charity dedicated to researching and communicating positive solutions for environmental change."
Global Regeneration Institute (Brazil / Global) — "We work for the collaborative creation of the first "WikiSolution" on the internet to organize, unify and allow easy access to those responsible for initiativesled by people, companies, governments or institutions that can act for the benefit of society. We currently offer over 760 solutions from 35 countries, available in 14 languages."
Humanity Rising — "Humanity Rising represents a movement of people and organizations coming together to ... create an international coalition strong enough to transform conversations that matter into actions that make a difference."
Localization Action Guide — "This guide, created by Local Futures, provides tools and resources to build resilient local economies and flourishing local communities."
Low-impact Living — "A huge resource bank for living sustainably and re-skilling for career change, supported by a network of like-minded people, businesses & organisations. Browse the categories below for 230+ topics with frequently updated info, books, magazines, news, videos, courses, products, services & specialists to answer your queries."
LUSH Spring Prize — "Rather than reducing impacts and maintaining the earth’s damaged systems, the LUSH Spring Prize showcases work that seeks to heal and grow; taking a holistic approach to overcoming environmental, social and economic challenges."
One Community Global — "We are creating open source resources and solutions for all aspects of sustainable living."
Open Source Ecology — "We’re developing open source industrial machines that can be made for a fraction of commercial costs, and sharing our designs online for free."
Permaculture UK — "A website that accompanies Permaculture Magazine, filled with solutions focusing on the shared goal of growing a more environmentally-friendly lifestyle and wider culture. Covering everything from the individual growing organic food to the structuring of ecovillages and agroforestry."
Regeneration — "Challenges and solutions for ending the climate crisis [outlined in the book Re-generation by Paul Hawken] in one generation. Entries include resources, initiatives, people, and organizations that teach, engage, influence and transform."
Rob Greenfield — "Rob’s mission is to help others live others to live happier, healthier and more sustainable lives and has created a large number of resources and guides to facilitate this, 400+ articles, 200+ videos and 100’s of interviews with media, multiple books and a TV series."
Shareable | How-to Share Guide — "Shareable’s growing collection of how-to share posts, which can help you save money, reduce waste, and build community through sharing."
Sustainability Now — "A global movement of changemakers sharing information and implementing cutting edge solutions to planetary problems related to food, energy, housing, water, waste, economics, health and consciousness."
The Greater Reset — "Our desire is to help all people find community and liberty by providing practical steps and knowledge for co-creating a world that respects individual liberty, bodily autonomy, and choice."
Vikalp Sangam | Resources (India) — "Browse through the list of categories each having its own resource list of visual & audio (that includes presentations & slideshows); books, reports & newsletters; Websites; Networks; and Tools."
Inspiring & Educational Documentary & Films Libraries
EarthCare Global TV — "EarthCare Global TV is initiating this first step toward Internet TV page, beginning by listing films, documentaries, interviews, animations that have been created by conscious ones around the globe to share about sustainable living on this planet."
Films for Action — "Our mission is to empower citizens with the knowledge and perspectives essential to creating a more compassionate, just, regenerative, and democratic society. Over the last 16 years, we've curated over 1,000 free documentaries and 4,000 short films, plus over 150 pay-per-view documentaries, spanning 34 topics related to changing the world."
Films for Change (Local Futures) — "Browse through our collection of thought-provoking films curated by Local Futures. In each category you will find films that expose destructive consequences of the growth- and consumerism-based economy, as well as those that showcase positive and transformative solutions."
Films for the Earth — "We want to activate people for environmental and climate protection. With selected films that raise awareness, inspire action – and show us what is worth preserving."
Films for the Planet — "Films for the Planet promotes globally connected storytelling that inspires generative discourse and positive action for the greater good."
Global Oneness Project — "We are a free multimedia platform for educators and students. Through our immersive storytelling and curricula, we explore the deeper issues facing humanity. Use our award-winning films, photo essays, and essays to learn about social, cultural, and environmental issues from people and communities worldwide."
Happen Films — "We make solutions-focused documentaries that explore how we can build resilient communities and landscapes in the face of global challenges. We share the stories of inspirational people creating a more beautiful world."
If Not Us Then Who? — "Using our powerful visuals we are organising a global roadshow to reach new audiences and help build a movement in support of the indigenous fight to protect forests."
Kirsten Dirksen — "Videos about simple living, self-sufficiency, small (and tiny) homes, backyard gardens (and livestock), alternative transport, DIY, craftsmanship, and philosophies of life."
Rob Greenfield — "Rob’s life is his message and videos are one of the many mediums that he uses to educate and inspire positive change. He hopes you find them useful for your journey to living a happier, healthier and more sustainable life like millions of others have!"
Story of Stuff — "Our first movie, The Story of Stuff, unleashed a torrent of pent-up demand for honest conversation about our consumption-crazed culture. Since then, we’ve produced dozens of animated shorts and documentaries that chart a path to a more just and sustainable future."
Waterbear — "Whatever you feel passionately about in the world of climate action, biodiversity, sustainability, community, diversity and more, WaterBear provides access to award-winning and inspirational content that empowers members to dive deeper, learn more and take action."
The Global Transformation Movement
Today there are an estimated 700 million to 1 billion people and 3–4 million collectives who, each in their unique way, are working for a better world. United, we already have everything we need to co-create a thriving world for all life on Earth. Read more . . .
This video is about the largest social movement in the history of humankind...