By Kendall Miller
I learned to swim before I could walk – true story. From as early as I can remember, I wanted to be a marine biologist. I learned to SCUBA dive when I was just seven years old. I have always been infatuated with the ocean. It is my happy place, my support system, and my source of energy. When it came time to pick an academic track, I decided to study marine ecosystems.
Through my research and field work primarily focused on tropical, developed coastlines, I began to realize that many of the problems occurring in our ocean environments are the result of pollutants on land. I saw firsthand how agricultural runoff and chemical pesticides deteriorate our marine ecosystems. Synthetic pesticides such as glyphosate are not only getting into our bodies—they’re finding their way into our waterways and harming marine life, too.
Oceans make up 70% of our home planet, and we can’t afford to lose the amazing diversity of life underwater. So, as any good optimist would do, I began to look for solutions.
I first learned about regenerative farming through oysters. Yes, oysters! Oyster farms are being developed and used all over the world to help clean our waterways and create important habitat structure and buffer storms. These shellfish are not only good eating, they are also regenerating Mother Nature. From there, I took a short leap to learning about regenerative organic farming practices on land. I began to see that we have an opportunity to restore nature—most crucially our soil—to its original state through traditional farming methods and the elimination of harmful chemical pesticides.
The key is diversity. In an ideal state, soil contains billions of unique and diverse microorganisms. Same with the human gut—and same with our oceans. Each organism performs an essential role in the health of our bodies and ecosystems. Regenerative practices—by land or by sea—restore natural biodiversity, helping our bodies, land, and oceans flourish.
I have tried to apply this philosophy of regeneration to my entire life. Whenever I am faced with a problem, be it work, personal, or supporting a friend, I try to look at it through a regenerative lens. How can I apply the principles of regenerative cultivation to relationships? Work culture? Physical health?
You’ve heard it a million times - this year is unprecedented – and what has kept me going through all the hardships has been the spirit of regeneration – looking towards a better future. I don’t have all the answers, but just as I have always found solace in the ocean, I now also find solace in regeneration. As one of my favorite authors and spiritual leaders, Tara Brach, put it, “you can’t change harmful actions from your past, but you can seed your future.”