Logo for The Wave

Last month we noted the rapid demise of big coal (may it rest in peace) and the large holes - literal and figurative - it was leaving in people's lives and the biosphere. Coal isn't the only industry that causes significant damage. In fact, in 2013 a report for the UN estimated that global industry had externality costs (costs not incurred by the firm but by others) "totalling $7.3 trillion, which equates to 13% of global economic output". That's a chunk of change!

But business can also have benefits that are not internalized. These are positive externalities. Take, for instance, regenerative agriculture. It has many benefits that may or may not be captured by the farmer.  Here is a list of potential benefits we've identified in a variety of projects:

  • Soil quality increase
  • Food nutrition increase
  • Food flavor & diversity increase
  • Biodiversity increase - including but not limited to, pollinators
  • Conflict reduction
  • Famine reduction
  • Climate shock reduction and management
  • Employment, (more and better jobs)
  • Product innovation, (amount, variety, and value)
  • Tourism, (amount and value)
  • Cultural revitalization
  • De-desertification
  • Re-forestation
  • Reduced fertilizer consumption
  • Reduced water consumption
  • Reduced water pollution
  • Improved physical and mental health
  • Reduced Greenhouse Gases
  • Reduced particulates
  • Carbon sequestration, 

and, last but not least:

Of course, not every project generates every benefit but these are the kinds of things generative projects can produce.

The problem with these positive externalities is that the farmer doesn't necessarily get rewarded for producing them so may not invest to produce even more. This is one of the little puzzles we need to solve to create the regeneration wave.

Have examples of positive externalities we should pay attention to? Please share!

Thinking Positive

And One More Thing

In closing

We are very early in the process of defining what it means to build a regenerative economy. While the terminology will continue to evolve, we're convinced the ideas are directionally correct. Now we are studying, testing, plotting, and building interest, support, and resources. 

Thus this newsletter, which will come out about weekly with brief observations and links to related materials exploring innovation and the regenerative economy. With effort, and a bit of luck, we hope support for these concepts becomes a wave sweeping the world! Check out the archive to see if this newsletter is right for you (or a friend).

If you find this email valuable, please share with a friend. If you don't, please unsubscribe (link at the bottom.) We also much appreciate comments, advice, and suggestions for links to highlight.




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3. This newsletter is a service of RASA, the Regenerative Agriculture Sector Accelerator.

4. Please send questions or suggestions to David Witzel