For Textile Exchange’s Beth Jensen, going beyond simply doing less damage to actually restoring planetary health with Regenerative approaches provides a reason to hope in the New Year.

As I reflect on 2021 and look ahead to the year to come, one concept gives me hope for the difficult but urgent systems change we need to address the climate and biodiversity crises we face: regeneration.

Interest in regenerative agriculture within the apparel and footwear industry has exploded over the past several years. This is not a new concept; it is the way indigenous and native people were farming for centuries before extractive practices became dominant. In regenerative systems, the benefits extend far beyond environmental impacts, also encompassing animal welfare, social justice, livelihoods of farmers and communities, and more.

This embodies the holistic mindset we will need in order to avoid and rectify the mistakes of our past. Answers are rarely black and white; there is no single solution. We must collectively embrace a shared understanding of the interconnectedness of systems. We must become comfortable with nuance.

Textile Exchange will release a report in early 2022 to help the apparel, textile, and footwear sector understand the topic of regenerative agriculture; Paul Hawken’s book Regeneration: Ending the Climate Crisis in One Generation is also excellent for a broader view. And of course, spending time in nature is always the best motivation to preserve, restore, and regenerate this planet that gives us life.

Beth Jensen
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