Daniel Wahl is one of the speakers at the eMallorca Challenge Forum on energy, mobility and sustainable tourism, which will be held on June 3 and 4 at Fàbrica Ramis, in Inca.
He has lived in Mallorca since 2010, where he helped create SMART UIB and also works locally and internationally as a consultant, educator and activist. His clients include companies, universities and NGOs from all over the world. In 2016 he published Designing regenerative cultures, which had wide international repercussions.
EMallorca Challenge Forum
What are regenerative cultures?
“Our ancestors around the world created regenerative cultures, caring for the ecosystems and bioregions that they inhabited. Our impact must be healing and regenerate the resources we consume. This is how 98% of human history has worked. It is about returning to a culture in which we are part of nature and repair the damage we cause. We do not limit ourselves solely to extraction, we regenerate the impacts that we produce.”
“In 8,000 years of agriculture, we have lost 50% of the world’s forests and in recent centuries, the consumption of fossil fuels has had a harsh impact that has not been repaired. We must all shift our mentality in the face of climate change, in the same way as we promote gender equality and greater economic equality.”
It is not about big innovations, it’s about using existing knowledge:
“Yes, it is about going back to the wisdom and experience of our species, but also taking advantage of centuries of science and technology. All this knowledge must help us to re-establish a balance in which human and planetary health are linked. Pandemics are more likely if we destroy ecosystems. The laws of nature have been in place for 3.8 billion years. We don’t choose them, but we can learn from them.”
Wahl has been living in Mallorca since 2010 and that has a lot to do with his theories:
“Mallorca and the rest of the Balearic Islands can be a fantastic field of bioregional study, a pilot region for regenerative culture, with a different model for each island. From here we can help 400 million people living in the Mediterranean basin, as well as areas of California, Australia and South Africa, which have the same climate. In Mallorca, entities are already springing up that are committed to regenerative cultures, can function in a collaborative network and be pieces of the puzzle. It’s no use getting together to talk about what they are doing separately. I would highlight two pieces of the puzzle: we have important marine research entities and it is significant that organic farming expanding the most in the Balearic Islands. You can create consumer groups to make your products cheaper.”
What can be done in a regenerative Mallorca?
“Implement a global vision of tourism, transport, agriculture, water balance and landscape protection. For example, in Mallorca agriculture trees are not planted to create shadows. With crops on bare land permanently exposed to the sun more water evaporates and some of it is wasted. If the first layer of the earth exceeds 30 degrees, the microbiology dies and fertility is lost. Before, crops and wooded areas were mixed. More recently, the soil was left to burn in the sun and fertilisers were added.”
“In Mallorca, wool is burned, which generates emissions. In addition creating traditional fabrics, it is a good insulator for houses and lanolin is a natural lubricant. Another example: a major caterer has found that carob flour and ground almonds from Mallorca are great for their desserts.”
What do we do about tourism?
“There can be regenerative tourism if hoteliers support local products and renewable energy; they could even become partners in the companies that supply them. We should move towards a model of fewer tourists staying her for longer periods of time and even convert hotels into spaces where European retirees can live for long periods of time, with healthcare. Seasonally adjust with fewer tourists.”
Hotel support for local production has always been talked about, but with a few exceptions, it has ever been done:
“Hoteliers should consider whether a lower quality external supply is really more beneficial to them to save a few euros. The commitment to local products with added value generates a multiplier effect and contributes to a stronger local fabric which benefits us all.”
“Being islands allows us to put an end to the combustion engine before others, so we have more options for funds and aid. Why not recover the old railway map of Mallorca, but with electric trains, promote electric rental cars and the shared use of common vehicles.
What is the difference between regenerative culture and sustainability?
"A regenerative society never has an end, the process never stops and previous work done in favour of sustainability should not be despised.”