Many design approaches set a goal of creating sustainable or restorative results, but neither of these goals addresses the need for our technologies to transform into mutually symbiotic parts of their surrounding biosphere.
In order for technologies to be ecosystemic and biocompatible, they must be designed to operate regeneratively, in the same way that living systems regenerate, using locally available resources and energy to build and sustain themselves, all while creating no waste.
Sustainable – tending to maintain the operational efficiency, resilience, and robustness of a system over time. In most complex systems or ecological systems, the result of aiming for sustainable design is actually slow degeneration of the system since complex and ecological systems can rarely be held in stasis. Aiming only for sustainable design instead of regenerative design therefore often leads to long-term failure.
Regenerative – tending to increase and improve the operational efficiency, resilience, and robustness of a system. In most ecosystems, this implies increasing biological fertility, ecosystem function, hydrological cycle health, human health, and community function.