Sense of Place

I invited my partners and clients as well as everyone interested in regeneration to an online meeting with the theme of regenerative thinking on the 14th of December 2022.

Carlos Briceño and Martín Araneda from Chile (Turismo Regenerativo) have been guiding my way in regenerative thinking. So I invited them to join and share their thoughts.

I was very pleased that Anna Pollock was also online to share her own thoughts. Anna is a real pioneer and expert in regenerative thinking, and I am extremely grateful for her encouragement and support.

I am sharing here the thoughts that arose during the meeting, structured in a very free form, following my inspirational flow.

Jos haluat lukea tämän artikkelin suomeksi, löydät sen täältä: Paikan henki

Wind, forest and pond

When I was a little girl, I ran in the forest near home, in the neighbor’s potato and carrot field and by the pond. I especially loved the warmth of the summer breeze on my face. Sometimes I was a princess, wearing a dress and golden sandals. In another moment I was an adventurer with boots on, in the middle of a muddy field. And then I climbed a tree, next to the home’s fence, to observe and to salute passers-by.

A particularly favorite place for me was the cabin, in the middle of nowhere, on the shore of a small pond. I spent beautiful summer days there, swimming and taking sauna, surrounded by loving people.I also loved the freedom of skiing on winter days, warm juice and buns in the backpack.

I still love the same places and things to do although on the journey of my life I have fallen in love with many other places – and people.

Sense of place and living organizations

While learning regenerative thinking and putting the lessons into practice, I am most excited about defining the spirit of a place – the sense of place. Defining the sense of place requires stopping, calming down, a good flow of thoughts combined with sensitive understanding.

A place has and has always had a special meaning when humans change nature’s original ecosystem, make room for business, food production and a new way of life. We have made mistakes and now at latest is time to regenerate and change the mindset.

In addition to free emotional thinking, it is important to do background research using literary sources and listening to the stories of local people of the geological, cultural and human history of the place. As well as the traditions, beliefs and holy places which have been and still are important to people living in the place must be taken account. Ethics and aesthetics must be considered alongside ecology when developing and transforming the place.

The people making the change should understand by now at the latest that the best results can be obtained by understanding the importance of living organizations including resources, processes, relationships and emotions.

Picture a forest ecology or a mature prairie. If we were to visit any of these places to observe the environment, we would see how things are connected to each other. There is no separation in nature; species interact with the larger ecosystem. External forces like sunlight, wind, rain, and gravity impact the individual plants and species and the ecosystem itself. If we saw our organization as a living system, we would focus on the quality of our relationships with each other and between the organization and its external environment. Kathleen Allen

Bringing people together

Regeneration is a process. This is what I think with a few years of experience. My way of starting to spread the idea of regenerative thinking in Finland, is to bring people together, to learn together in the same way that I have been learning with others. I can´t really teach anyone in this path but I still can share ideas, guide and walk alongside.

Veronike from Rotterdam asked us to give some examples of how to put the regenerative thinking into practice in urban environment such as Rotterdam. Anna Pollock brought up that instead of speaking about tourism and destination, we could talk about hospitality community and find the way everyone is involved. She also reminded us of the importance of cooperation, of bringing  people together, finding the way how to revitalize the community and bring life back to people.

Martin gave examples of the addition of green areas, which are also ways to equalize temperature differences and provide protection from the sun, in addition to being important for sequestering emissions. In addition, the well-being of the local people is increased by the cultivation on the roofs of houses or in planter boxes.

This example is from New York.It is an old paper factory which has converted into a hotel. Outdoor and indoor spaces have been utilized as green areas. I stayed at this hotel years ago while visiting New York and following the story of my great-grandmother who lived there.

One of the best ways to bring people together is to eat together. Regenerative thinking has its origins in food production, caring for nutrient-rich soil and the understanding that the soil needs to be allowed to regenerate and rest. Food made from pure ingredients is a source of well-being.

Truths we must live with

The world’s population crossed the eight billion mark in November 2022 and will grow to at least ten billion until it is expected to decline around 2070 or 2100. Humans have significantly changed 75 percent of the habitats on earth. Almost half of the Earth’s habitable land area has been used for food production and it has a big impact on wild nature. Forests are, in addition to agricultural land, another large category of the Earth’s land surface as they cover 38 percent of the habitable land.

The international UN Biodiversity conference in Montreal was going on then and now we have the results: the agreement includes the previously considered most important goal that all countries protect in some way 30 percent of their land and sea area by 2030. The countries themselves would be allowed to decide what kind of terrains the 30 percent protection within their borders applies to. In addition, there will be a 30 percent restoration target for weakened areas.

With regenerative action, we can be involved in protecting nature.

All life is equally valuable

Regenerative thinking leads to the aforementioned protection of natural environments. In my opinion, regenerative thinking is strongly connected to biocentrism. According to biocentrism, human is not higher or more special than other life forms, and nature and animals are not subordinate to man. All life is equally valuable.

One of the examples presented during the online meeting by Carlos was EcoCamp Patagonia in Chile. Carlos brought up the point of view that tourism can be a better option and a way to protect nature in terms of land use than some other purpose.

I also liked a lot the examples of observing the nature and animals without using any artificial means such as food. In Martín´s example the visitors are offered the possibility to observe the night life from the pictures and videos recorded while the visitors were sleeping.

Martín has visited Selva Bananito Ecolodge and invited us to watch the video.

In general we share the idea that we must respect and understand the ways of thinking of previous generations, but in some cases, as Martín told us with some examples, regenerative thinking can also help to break the bad habits of the previous generations.

It can mean, for example that the use of harmful fertilizers and preservatives is terminated if another options are offered and good results can be proved. Another example is the cultivation of one crop that impoverishes the land. In such cases, something has often been continued, from which good earnings have been made in the beginning, often even at the risk of overuse of the land. Tobacco farming in Latin America was brought up as an example of this.

New knowledge and thinking helps the local community together to find better use for the land. We have similar examples in all countries. In Finland one of the current topics are mines and the legislation governing mining operations.

The language we speak

In addition to the visitor speakers I brought up some ideas of  Rob Holmes, founder of the company GLP which mission is to help brands reach their sustainability goals in protecting nature, communities, culture and heritage through the lens of storytelling and content marketing.

I shared an article of his in June 2021. The article pointed out same thinking as I had learnt from Carlos and Martín. You can read more about those ideas here: Regenerative thinking goes beyond sustainability

The time of rich western travelers telling less well off countries or regions what they should be offering tourists is fast going out with the tide of dictatorial tourism. We need to shake up the language a little, and stop using name tags such as ‘destinations’ and ‘locals’. They are places and they are people and by listening and sharing fascinating stories, we are steering away from any sense of ‘them and us’ or, at worst, neocolonialism. That’s why, at GLP, we also encourage people to tell their stories in their own language if they are more comfortable with that. Then we subtitle when necessary. Showcasing the voices of local people is what sustainable storytelling content is all about. GLP. The importance of storytelling…

We  are fortunate as the indigenous Sami people live in Finland. It´s a living culture and the artists like the rap-artist Ailu Valle ensures that culture is known and visible in our society.

We have an obligation to maintain also the minor languages as they are part of the culture and heritage. It can mean, for example, that even though we communicate in a language everyone understands, which is mostly English in western countries, we can speak and write our own language alongside.

That could mean for example, that in all restaurants the menus were always in the original language of the place. This is how the language becomes seen and heard.

Definition of Regenerative Tourism  – do we need it?

I’ll end my writing with a reflection that we also had at the online meeting; how is regenerative tourism defined and does it even need to be defined.

I am not able to define it and the more I learn the less interest I have in defining regenerative tourism. I prefer to talk about regenerative thinking, with an idea of breaking the barriers in between the sources of livelihood. I prefer to focus on acting, on putting the new thinking into practice. There are several articles in my blog about my thoughts about regeneration and the way I am acting in regenerative way: We want to regenerate

Fortunately I received one reply to this question we left open. Anna Pollock sent me a message. She thinks a definition is necessary and she is working on it. This was a relief for me! Now I know that the best possible definition is coming and I can just focus on essential, new learning and waiting for new information.

The end of this story

The end of this article is an invitation. Think of a place that is important to you. Think about the sense of place. Think about what you love most about that place. And the next time you travel somewhere, remember that the place you visit is a special place for someone else, that place is also loved.

We always go back to where we once loved life. One of the very meaningful places for me is the base camp of the concept called Rakkauden Metsä, Love Forest Finland, owned by my company Mood of Finland. The forest used to be my great-grandparents´ and I bought it couple of years ago. It is a place where the symbolic love trees can be planted. It´s not, though, the only place as the symbolic trees of love can be planted anywhere and the forest grows where the trees are growing. Ten euros of each tree planted and certificate bought, is donated to Natural Heritage Foundation (Luonnonperintösäätiö) to protect the old forests. I have not translated the name of the logo as this my way to show respect to my mother tongue.

This year Mood of Finland company donates 500 euros to the Natural Heritage foundation. Of this amount, 170 euros have been accumulated from Love Forest Finland certificates. Thanks to everyone who participated.

I wish you beautiful seasonal holidays and Happy New Year!

Thank you for following my blog!

With love,


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