Image © Robert Szucs.
Bioregional Resilience & Regeneration
During the 1960s, Buckminster Fuller developed the World Game as a comprehensive peacemaking response to the war games of the time using the best available data analysis, systems modeling, scenario building, computer technology, and information design of its day. In the 2020s, every region in the world needs the best possible decision support to find regenerative pathways for land-use, built environment, infrastructure, energy generation, and economic development in the face of increasing climate, biodiversity, water, food, economic, and other disruptions. In the spirit of the World Game, and in cooperation with the BFI Design Lab initiatives below, our goal is to invest in this shared capacity in a lean and agile way, co-design with diverse bioregions and local stakeholders from the beginning, and make an integrated set of data, tools, and processes rapidly and broadly available.
This will enable bioregions to unleash both local and external investment – using new types of nature-aligned models – at the pace and scale required to avoid collapse and rapidly jump to new levels of coherence, health, and resilience. In turn, a response to the polycrisis that is federated across hundreds of networked, spontaneously cooperating bioregions will scale up to the required planetary impact with greater opportunities for constant, locally-attuned course corrections in the face of ongoing disruptions during the rest of the century.
Bioregional Scenarios Project
BFI is co-leading an initiative with exceptional non-profit and for-profit partners to develop rapid scenario building tools that can work across scales from watersheds to bioregions to the biosphere. This capacity includes four key work streams:
- Geospatial knowledge systems;
- Comprehensive regenerative solution inventories;
- Visualization, simulation, and scenario building; and
- Aligned non-extractive bioregional investment platforms
Digital Gaia is applying a new kind of biologically inspired AI called active inference developed by globally recognized neurophysiologist Karl Friston. The company is committed to sharing the core technology kernel of active inference in the commons so that it can be applied transparently for regenerative purposes. Their initial use case is to enhance yields, soil health, carbon sequestration, and climate resilience for smallholder farmers using shared agroecological models. Active inference has broad applicability to support bioregional resilience and regeneration.
The Bioregional Digital Twin project is driven by the Collaborative for Bioregional Action Learning & Transformation (COBALT) and the UK-based geospatial visualization company Zedaxis Group. Starting with the Gulf of Maine and the River Tay watershed in Scotland, the project is creating new immersive visualizations – bioregional “digital twins” that can support community-driven transformative planning and action.
Finance for Gaia, Context Nature, and BFI are co-leading this initiative to “re-envision finance so that it may be in the service of life.” This includes a focus on new models of financing biodiversity conservation and regeneration like Common Asset Trusts and Bioregional Trusts.
BFI is co-leading this effort with John D. Liu of Ecosystem Restoration Communities. Working with local communities undertaking restoration efforts, this project is generating methods for rapid regional scenario building that can provide decision support, build shared vision, and drive investment. The effort is focusing on soil, water cycle, and biodiversity restoration to enhance regional livelihoods and climate resilience. Potential nodal areas include the Turkey earthquake recovery zone, drylands agriculture in Somalia, Kentucky coalfield recovery, and the Weather Maker’s Bardawil and Sinai project in northern Egypt.