What is a Regenerative Doughnut?

Sarah R. Filley
5 min readJul 21, 2022

Hint: It bridges local actions to meet global climate goals.

Doughnut Economics by Kate Raworth authored a unifying economic theory of change to thrive in the 21st century. This involves finding the safe and just space between the social foundations (The inside circle of the doughnut) for us to flourish and the planetary boundaries that protect Earth’s life-supporting systems, ensuring we don’t continue to exceed our ecological ceiling (The outside circle of the doughnut). Here’s a great animated series in her words to break it all down. Additionally, follow my TikTok as I unpack its practical applications on a 1-acre regenerative pilot in West MI @prosperityforest

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Crucially, the Doughnut Economic (DE) framework acknowledges a profound truth, that economics as a field has failed us as a measure of national health focused on Goods and Growth. The goal of unlimited growth feels so…20th century. Chasing the Goods and Growth model of extractive economies rely on limited resources, destroys ecosystems, creates waste, and accelerates both climate change and exploitative inequities based on legacies of colonialization and genocide. Nothing in nature experiences unlimited growth, in fact in terms of physical health, unlimited growth is classified as a tumor or even cancerous. Instead of growth, DE suggests an economic framework built on regenerative principles that are distributive by design. It’s not all theory. The Doughnut Economic Action Lab (DEAL) has worked with countries, like Denmark, and cities, like Tokyo, to create national alternatives to Strategic Climate Planning. You can find an open source portal here of new practitioners and case studies here.

How do we downscale DE to a neighborhood, street, or household?

Central to the DE framework is that we all are economists now and that it will take a radical re-imagining of local agency to drive toward global climate goals. ‘In the book Doughnut Economics: Seven Ways to Think Like a 21st-Century Economist, along with the core idea of the Doughnut, Kate Raworth offers these Seven Ways to transform our thinking and imagination, from the old economic thinking of the 20th century to the thinking we will need to guide us towards a new goal for humanity, that of the…

Sarah R. Filley

Regenerative Futurist catalyzing inclusive, equitable, & strategic climate solutions for the future of regenerative cities. https://www.sarahrfilley