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7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit

This is about regenerating our future – rippling out from the GTB (Greater Tkaronto Bioregion). The GTB is leading and learning from bioregions forming around the planet.

We are in ecological and cultural overshoot. Complexly interconnected local and global crises will continue, increasing in intensity.

We're activating whole systems transformation – across generations and bioregions – that manifests as both big and bold (revolution) AND small and steady (evolution).

The 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit, emphasizing intergenerational and place-based dynamics, will connect the dots across seven broad themes: environment/climate, economy, community, health, education, life course, and Indigenous ways of knowing. We'll fractally scale-link from the GTB to the Great Lakes Basin and other sub-continental North American areas, culminating with the entire Earth and the birth of a new global bioregional network.

As we slide across themes and scales, the Summit will feature both local and international speakers.

We're looking to #ChangeTheStory of how we live on our planet. The Summit itself will be an unfolding story – like a flower slowly blossoming through the week. Take a moment to feel into that evocative metaphor with this video.

The 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit is a collaborative effort of the Legacy Project, as the core team for 7-Generation GTB, and the Design School for Regenerating Earth, with the Indigenous Environmental Institute (IEI) at Trent University.


Greater Tkaronto (Toronto) Bioregion

7-Generation GTB is organized by the land – 3 million hectares on the northwest shore of Lake Ontario, within the subcontinental area of the Great Lakes Basin (which has around 20% of the world's fresh water). The land anchors and brings coherence to the story people co-create – a population of around 10 million people (about a quarter of the population of Canada).

7-Generation GTB Structures and Processes Through 7-Generation GTB, we're pragmatically creating parallel structures and processes as we nurture regenerative seeds. The three key structures are a Bioregional Learning Center (the keystone structure), a Portfolio of Projects (featuring landscape regeneration), and a Bioregional Foundation (which supports a funding ecosystem, regenerative economy, and alternative governance). These are woven together through two fundamental social processes: intergenerational relationships, especially connecting youth with elders; and prosocial collaborations (fostering psychological flexibility, collective healing, complexity thinking, creativity) across organizations/municipalities/silos. Throughout the Summit, there will be "reveals" for each of these structures and processes.

7-Generation GTB Tree of Life 7-Generation GTB is systems complexity work, bringing together both social regeneration and ecological regeneration for ecopsychosocial wellbeing on the timescale of lifetimes across generations.

We take a "short-term for the long-term approach" – helping/saving as much as possible now, while centering life in every decision and action. Metaphorically, we talk about this as growing a Tree of Life.

Find out more about the underlying bioregional and intergenerational dynamics, as well as the seven themes. There's also a collection of videos you can explore ahead of the 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit.


The 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit is the unfolding of a story through a series of sessions that slide across themes and scales. The first session, around the Legacy Table at The Cedars site in the GTB, will be intimate and personal. We'll move up to the planetary scale on the final day, with the birth of the new Bioregional Earth network.

The story will start as many stories do, "Once upon a time… as the world was in crisis, generations came together, grounded by the land, to #ChangeTheStory…" We'll write the rest of the story together, throughout the week-long Summit… and beyond.

There will be limited in-person seating; most sessions will be available virtual/livestreamed for all. The schedule will evolve as we finalize the speakers. Please check back to see updates.

#ChangeTheStory, Bioregional Learning as a Keystone

Opening Session:
Walking a Regenerative Pathway to #ChangeTheStory

"If you believe that human connection is necessary for human evolution, then the [dinner] table does it better than almost any place." Michael Hebb

The Cedars, on the Oak Ridges Moraine at the headwaters of the Beaver River in the GTB, is the main hub of the GTB Bioregional Learning Center (Toronto, Canada). The heart of The Cedars is the Legacy Table, handcrafted from Heritage Maple and designed to evoke both a spout of water and a tree. Join us around that table for the start of the 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit.

The Legacy Table is the place where we talk about "the big stuff." Sitting around the Legacy Table will be 7-Generation GTB core team leaders Susan V. Bosak and Brian Puppa (of the Legacy Project), and Design School for Regenerating Earth Founders Joe Brewer and Penny Heiple.

Can we face the enough vs. feasible dilemma head on – in a way that meets our predicament at a reasonable scale, puts life at the center of every action and decision, and gives humanity a chance to navigate through? Can we #ChangeTheStory?

Bioregional Learning as a Keystone
"The [Bioregional Learning Center] collects, makes sense of, and disseminates information about the resources of the bioregion, and about the welfare of the people and of the ecosystems… [It's] able to see things as a whole, to look at long-term consequences, and to tell the truth." Donella Meadows

In a changing and uncertain world, how do we (re)learn how to live in our place? How can we be guided by the principles of the Earth Charter while being grounded in a specific place/bioregion? How can we create interconnected stories of place?

For background, check out the GTB: Past, Present, Future video.

Global regeneration leader Joe Brewer, author of The Design Pathway for Regenerating Earth, believes that one of the most important dimensions of bioregional regeneration is organizing a learning ecosystem that coherently integrates everything taking place in the bioregion – and then connects the bioregion into learning from and with other bioregions.

A Bioregional Learning Center is a keystone structure, and a community-facing learning lab for real-world resilience and inspiration. It can weave together holistic Indigenous knowledge systems with the best of Western scientific thinking to become a place of convergence, co-creation, and innovation across worldviews. We'll be sharing a reveal around the GTB Bioregional Learning Center.

Optional field site visits in the GTB

Summit Campfire
Meet other Summit participants in informal virtual conversation.

Empowering Generations: Together, Feeling, Creating

Fired-up Youth and Feisty Grannies
"Connections between generations are essential for the mental health and stability of nations." Margaret Mead

In some Indigenous cultures there's an understanding that, if you want to get something done, you bring together a "fired-up youth with a feisty granny." Young and old balance each other and become a formidable force. Generations working together can become a kind of "super organism."

We're bringing together 7-Generation GTB student Eco-Leaders and Elders-in-Residence who are part of the Bioregional Learning Intergenerational Zone through local schools. The idea is for generations to "see" each other in new ways. We'll explore building relationships that go beyond blame and stereotypes to learning from and with each other and taking collective action together.

Whether we're young or old, how do we walk a regenerative path, in community? Can we all see ourselves as elders-in-training to find the wisdom we need?

Feeling the Path
"May you always know you have my hand to hold." JJ Heller

There are some who say that in a world of polycrisis, the dreams of the young have been broken, as has the legacy of the old.

How can we find strength in each other? Through an embodied intergenerational experience, this part of the day is designed to help young and old feel more empowered, and more open to trusting others, of all ages, who they see sharing the same story.

We exist in relationship – with our own bodies, each other, and the living planet. So the smallest unit of health isn't the cell or the individual, but the bioregion. Without healthy bioregions, you can't have healthy people or families or communities. And if the planet itself is not populated with healthy bioregions, then it will not be healthy.

We need to feel the regenerative path as much as we need to walk it.

Head to Heart Through Art
"Art is not what you see, but what you help others see."
Edgar Degas

Creative expression across generations is a powerful way to explore and share a story. Art is power – it can influence perception, opinion, even values. "Art," said Theodore Dreiser, "is the stored honey of the human soul."

We'll create some art together, as well as share art created by students and elders across the GTB. The theme is "Regenerate Earth," inspired by the Regenerate Earth poster with artwork by community artist Clare Attwell.

We also draw on the book Dream, created as a passport to the 7-Generation GTB work.

Summit Campfire
Meet other Summit participants in informal virtual conversation.

Dollars and Sense

Regenerative Economies and Bioregional Funding Ecosystems
"I know that the current economy is driven by finance and if the economic premise of our entire global economy is in conflict with the laws of physics, we have a serious problem." John Fullerton

It's interesting that "economy" and "ecology" share a common etymological root, yet in our current society they couldn't be further apart.

In a time of uncertainty, what do we value? Is water the new gold?

Some leading international thinkers will explore alternative financial structures for supporting regenerative projects in bioregions and creating regenerative local economies. We'll look at how we can illuminate and mobilize different kinds of value, especially ecological and social capital. We'll be guided by the Capital Institute's Eight Principles of Regenerative Economics and characteristics of an Indigenous economy.

We'll be sharing a reveal around the GTB Bioregional Foundation, specifically a Bioregional Funding Ecosystem.

Sensemaking and Storytelling
"A story is a fundamental system on which to create an experiential palette, an understanding of life. Stories are the nearest thing we have to a map of the soul's journey."
Virginia Burges

As we find ourselves in the middle of the Summit, we'll review the status of the story we're all creating.

Drawing on a Warm Data approach, we'll do some collective sensemaking and storytelling. What will we notice?

As misinformation and polarization increase, the sharing and weaving together of stories, especially across generations, is where a participatory culture can begin.

Optional field site visits in the GTB

Finding a Third Way

This is a day when we bring care and integrity in dedication to finding a Third Way forward. We need the best of Indigenous ways of knowing with the best of Western science. As we continue the process of truth and reconciliation, we must recognize that we need to take a step beyond to discover a new way of being on this planet.

Earth is in an unprecedented moment in history – never before have humans affected the entire planet, causing planetary changes that usually happen slowly over thousands of years to happen in decades and trigger various tipping points.

Indigenous peoples warned colonists that going against Natural Law (which starts in your bioregion) is like going against life, toward your own demise. Indigenous Faithkeeper Oren Lyons was involved in the creation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples. He has said it can be summed up in four words: values change for survival. We need a new/old story.

"When I stare too long at the world with science eyes, I see an afterimage of traditional knowledge. Might science and traditional knowledge be purple and yellow to one another, might they be goldenrod and asters? We see the world more fully when we use both." Robin Wall Kimmerer

"If society judiciously modelled the traditions of the various [Indigenous] nations, the place of women in society would be central, the distribution of goods and power would be egalitarian, the elderly would be respected, honoured and protected as a primary social and cultural resource, and the ideals of physical beauty would be considerably enlarged." Paula Gunn Allen

For Indigenous peoples, everything rests on right relationships within Natural Law – can we go back to the future?

The idea of respect is foundational to all of this work – not only between people of all ages and backgrounds, but also future generations, other-than-human life, and the Earth itself.

In an article on Relational Systems Thinking, Dr. Dan Longboat explains that "one of the things that's really central in engaging with different perspectives and different knowledge systems, in how they interact, is this idea of sacred space; it is really about ethical space. Within our context of it as Haudenosaunee, whenever individuals or two things come together to make an agreement, whenever they collaborate… then the space in between them is the sacred space; you can kind of think about it in terms of how they are respectful towards one another, how they are caring and compassionate towards each other, how they are empathetic with one another… We are both sailing down the river of life together. And our responsibility is to help one another but more specifically, the river of life is in danger right now and there will be no more river of life. So, it behooves us now to utilize our knowledge together to work to sustain, to perpetuate, to strengthen the river of life. Why? So that all life will continue. And at the end of the day any social innovation or systems stuff should be all about the continuation of life and however we understand it to be – not just human life but all of it, for this generation right to the end of time."

As we work to regenerate the GTB in the context of the Great Lakes Basin, a new convergence is emerging for bioregional learning and stewardship – and it will be revealed.

People and Place

Listening to the Land
"It's so stupid, this idea that land can be owned. Land, which existed long before people... It doesn't belong to us. If anything, the soil owns us. It lets us move around for a bit and then it takes us back." Alistair Mackay

This is the moment we give voice to the land, water, and all other-than-human life.

We will reveal and celebrate the GTB Portfolio of Projects. As we bring together conservation authorities, municipalities, parks, farmers, foresters and others who work on or care about the land, we will share powerful stories of possibility and regeneration.

This is about integrated landscape management across the bioregion, from the ground up, and beyond.

Unprecedented Collaboration
"Collaboration has no hierarchy. The sun collaborates with soil to bring flowers on the Earth." Amit Ray

In an individualized culture, we've lost many relational skills. Before community, we need to (re)learn how to be "in communing."

Community is both a feeling and a set of relationships among people. People form and maintain communities to meet common needs. At the same time, human beings are both selfish and social, emotional and rational.

Can we find a realistic pathway to learn together, work together, to find power in the commons? Prosocial Principles help us find a way forward. There are four core motives for decision-making in social dilemmas: understanding, belonging, trusting, and care for self and others.

The Story Emerges

Closing Session: Birthing Bioregional Earth
"When the earth is sick and dying, there will come a tribe of people from all races… who will put their faith in deeds, not words, and make the planet green again." Cree Prophecy

As the 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit comes to a close, gather together, ground yourself, find the story.

Voices across the GTB and from other bioregions will come together. We are finding each other around the Earth.

Interconnected bioregions can regenerate the entire planet. BE part of the story as generations STAND UP to #ChangeTheStory for a Bioregional Earth.

This promises to be a profound and historic moment.

Every ending is a beginning…

The 7-Generation Bioregional Earth Summit is a collaborative effort of the 7-Generation GTB core team at the Legacy Project and the Design School for Regenerating Earth, with the Indigenous Environmental Institute (IEI) at Trent University.

Would you like to receive Summit updates? E-mail Brian Puppa, Executive Director, Legacy Project.