The glossary and the definitions help to clarify terms which are often used here. The personal use of the term is emphasized. Where sources are missing, the definition has been compiled from various sources. Neither glossary nor definitions have the claim to completeness.


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Bioregion / Bioregionalism: A bioregion is defined less by political than by geographical and ecological boundaries, and include the natural resources necessary for a region (resources such as land, water, food, energy and waste disposal). As such, a bioregion must be large enough to preserve the integrity of biological and social communities, as well as ecosystems while still small enough to be perceived as home by its inhabitants.
(according to Lawrence F. London, Jr., World Research Institute:

One of the forerunners of modern bioregional development, the American Alan von Newkirk, understands a bioregion to be an ecological habitat, in which “all lives, that of humans, plants and animals form a unity which guarantees the surviving of its species.”

Bioregionalism, in such approach regionalization aims for bioregions to sustain their integrity and identity.
(According to Wikipedia)

I refer to a bioregion as a geographical area in which the social organism is in a constructive and interdependent relationship with the natural organism.


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Common good: the Latin term bonum commune denotes the well-being (the common good, the common wealth, the common welfare, the goodness) of a commune rather than just the interests of an individual or group.
(See Wikipedia)

In reference to Thomas Aquinas, I call common good “that which is good for all beings” For a commune, this means justice for humans striving for freedom, equality, and fraternity as laid out in the three-folding of the social organism by the late Rudolf Steiner.


Commons: Commons or collective property is property which is freely accessible to all members of a given community. Commons can be provided for by the state, municipalities, the private sector, and/or communities (e.g. parts of the Internet e.g. Wikipedia). Common things shared are the inner framework of a fruitful community.


Community mapping is a method to capture communities in their diversity. One of the origins of community mapping lies in making visible habitats, as well as ecological and socio-demographic interrelations. As such, community mapping is used when a strong connection to the natural environment needs to be made visible. Originally used as an instrument of city planning, community mapping is now increasingly used as a participatory process with social and ecological objectives for the promotion of regional or local economies.

I am referring to community mapping as a participatory process in order to capture the goods (commons, resources) of a community, making them visible and comprehensible.


Commune refers to a community that expands beyond the family. (According to Wikipedia)

Correspondingly, I use the term commune for a neighbourhood, part of town, a village, a city, a bioregion or a country.


Community Charter: A Community Charter provides answers to how people – e.g. communities such as a neighborhood or a school – want to live together. It defines the rules of communal living.

In its execution, a community charter may be more or less detailed. This can be a mission statement, a declaration of intent or binding rules, which are recorded in writing and are signed by all parties (much like a conrtact). The process that leads to such an agreement is called a chartering process.

I consider a community charter a binding agreement, which helps the individuals of a community to get along in the community.

Culture: Culture is the totality of the intellectual, artistic, and creative achievements created by a particular community in a particular area during a particular epoch. (See Duden)

For me, culture is the creative, artistic designing carried through all aspects of human life and the earth at large; based on insight and awareness, and implemented by values and virtues, it brings about the true, the beautiful, and the good in humanity and makes nature shine (the latter, accordingto the late Rudolf Steiner, is the task of agriculture).


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Development: assumes that there is something that can be developed.

I call development the process of accessing potential and, by doing so, to making it a resource.


Design: I see design as development and creation joined together; both the allocation (creation) of (new) resources and the development of existing potential.


Division of labour: The principle of division of labour is sound proof of the fact that human beings are geared towards cooperation. There is hardly anyone who produces everything he or she needs to live by him- or herself. We provide but one element to the economy, be it a product or a service or part of such. This is what is called division of labour. Through the division of labour, we contribute to the production and distribution of goods and services. The needs of our counterparts are met through our input just as ours are met through his / her contribution. An economy functions optimally the more our own needs are satisfied by others, and the less we claim the benefit singly. This principle – the basis of true economic culture – is what we call fraternalism or solidarity.


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Economy: A healthy economy (economy) is guided by the needs of the people, with life and dignity for all, including ecology.

Through the production of goods and services, and the distribution and the consumption of those goods and services, an economy (resp. economic system) is created.

The place where business is done is called a market. In order for a market to be manageable by the people to serve their needs, it should be straightforward and regionally delineated. The raw materials used in a delineated economy as well as the required per capita should be of regional origin and renewable. This is how people ‘own’ (build, shape, control and adapt) their market, or economy. At the end of the day, economy has to serve the people!

The production of raw materials into goods should happen in the same region where these goods (and services) find their customer. Such a regional economy does not require long distances between producers and consumers. The fact that people of a region know each other, generally makes for good quality products and services. This is what is called a national or a regional economy. Imports are only what cannot be produced locally/regionally. In order to avoid spillovers, inappropriate competition, unnecessary environmental pollution (through transport), or dependencies such imports occur according to the principle: as little as possible; as much as necessary, .


Economic culture: A thorough understanding of economical activity arises when we bring together the two terms to host someone and in waiting. Then economy has the meaning of both the catering of the guests (customers), as well as being in waiting (preservation, keeping) of the economic resources (e.g., soil and land). (See Bernhard Heindl in Culture and Politics 2/12). Such an economy can be referred to as an economy of the common good (common good economy) or simply as economic culture.

Through the division of labor, we contribute to the production and distribution of goods and services. We contribute to the need or satisfaction of our fellow beings just as our needs are met by their work. In doing so, an economy is the healthiest the more our own needs are satisfied not by our own achievements, but by the achievements of the others, and the less we claim the benefits of our labour for ourselves, but rather dispense and share them. This principle, guiding a healthy economy an economic culture is what we call fraternity resp. solidarity.

In addition, economic culture creates space for meaningful work. This in turn is beneficial first and foremost to the people of the region. Technical tools (machines) are only used when no human hand can be found.


Economic cycles should to be as effective as possible (eco-efficiency). This means the production cycles, the produced goods and related flows of used material should be designed in such a way that they are embedded in balanced relations between ecological and social systems. Raw materials are used frugally. The use of non-renewable raw materials is generally avoided. The aim is to reach a higher level of efficiency (eco-efficiency), i.e. by achieving higher results with less use of resources as well as reducing environmental impacts by waste reduction and the reduction of pollutants. Furthermore, renewable raw materials used are being reused in the economic cycles (raw material efficiency) and without loss of value (circular economy, no-waste economy). The quality of products is to be increased, resulting in longer life-cycles. Increased purchase costs lead to more care and promote share and exchange economies.


Education: The German term for education (Bildung) derives from the old High German term ‘bildunga’ which means ‘creation‘, ‘portrait‘ and ‘gestalt‘ and refers to the formation of humankind with regards to their mental abilities, and encompasses the totality of a person’s abilities and qualities.

Most theories of education reflect relationships to oneself, to others, and to the world as a sign of education. The ability of humankind to learn is the foundation of education. (According to Wikipedia)

To me education is the appropriation and critical reflection of knowledge as well as a process of lifelong learning in which personal, spiritual, mental and social competencies and practical life-skills are further developed.


Empowerment: The term empowerment is said to come from community development in the US. Empowerment refers to strategies and measures that increase autonomy and self-determination of individuals and communities allowing self-assertive representation of one’s interests.
(According to Wikipedia)

To me empowerment is the development of resources and the allocation of potential that enables people and social organisms to better understand their lives (situations) and embark on the best perceived direction.


Ethics: In its shortest definition, ethics refers to the norms of human behaviour.

For me, ethics is the conscious and critical reflection of ones values and behavioural norms and the corresponding virtuous behaviour.

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Holistic: holistic derives from the adjective ‘whole’. In its original form, whole means complete, undamaged and intact. A holistic view is one that sees a thing in the totality of its parts, as well as its characteristics and interrelations. This includes a consideration of as many aspects and connections as possible such as identifiable origins, objectives and provisions, characteristics, attributions and classification, direct and indirect relationships and cross-relationships, rules, values and standards, surrounding conditions, benefit balances, application aspects as well as secondary, spill over and reciprocal effects of system behaviour – and foreseeable reactions of others when handling it.
(According to Wikipedia)

I understand holistic as a comprehensive and all-encompassing way of viewing an object both from within (its inherent essence) as well as from without (in relation to and interaction with the world), in order to understand its being and effect.


Holistic learning: holistic learning means learning with all senses (according to Rudolf Steiner, there are 12 senses; according to Johann, H. Pestalozzi at least three: learning with, head, heart and hand) with the goal of viable humans creating a viable humanity (To help a person to do ‘it’ by him/herself).

For me, holistic learning means learning to connect thinking, feeling, and willing, thereby combining perceptual, sensory and reflection processes, manifested in conscious actions (expressions of the will).


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Integration: The term integration derives from the Latin terms (integratio resp integrare) and means renewal, complementing, and mental refreshing. All the definitions looked into do not correspond with this concept, but rather refer to integration as the taking up, the inclusion into a larger system. There is no trace of the opportunity of a renewal of a larger system.

For me, integration means the inclusion of an individual, an entity (or a group) into an existing larger entity, and subsequently its unfolding of its healthy potential for the renewal and spiritual rejuvenation of that host entity.


Inclusion is a societal understanding, the essential principle of which is the appreciation and recognition of diversity .The term is derived from the Latin verb ‘includere’ (include, incorporate, lock in, encircle). (based on German definition in

In the handbook of Disabled Pedagogy (2006), the German Andreas Hinz defines the approach of inclusion as “General educational approach, which argues on the basis of civil rights, to oppose any social marginalization, and thus seeks to assure all humans the same full right to individual development and social participation, regardless of their speical needs. (…) ”

The German Federal Agency for Labour approaches the term in a different way: “[…] Inclusion ends the interplay of exclusion and integration (recapturing).” – Bundesagentur für Arbeit, D (Hrsg.): Flyer Inclusion – What does it mean? November 2011.

To me, inclusion means the consistent implementation of integration (see glossary), opposing any form of exclusion, in the understanding that social diversity should be understood as one central element of human survival and life and therefore is preferable to social ‘mainstreaming’. All the more so because the inclusion of (vulnerable) people with different needs and abilities makes becoming human possible – is simply the foundation of humanity – with social exclusion (segregation) to be rejected as unworthy for human kind.


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Learning through engagement (or service learning) is a form of learning that combines social engagement of students with professional learning. (Seifert, Zentner & Nagy, 2012)
The aim of learning through engagement is to anchor the social engagement of children and adolescents in the curricula, connecting it with regular school learning. The experiences of the pupils/students through such learning are taken up in the classroom, reflected on and linked with teaching content. Young people learn that it is worthwhile to engage with and provide services to the community. They practice social skills and learn democratic competencies. In addition, they can include their practically acquired skills and experiences into the lessons. Teaching becomes relevant and action-oriented.

Therefore, learning through engagement is based on the understanding that community engagement can be combined with school learning in the classroom. As a result, service (engagement) and learning are mutually beneficial: on the one hand, the community is enriched by the theoretical and conceptual knowledge of the pupils acquired in the classroom and, on the other hand, theoretical and conceptual learning is enriched in relevance, action orientation and depths of understanding by practical, social experiences.


Living (or in English Social) Environments defines the human world in its pre-scientific era based on self-understanding and experience, in contrast to the theoretically determined scientific world view, and is used in philosophy, sociology, social work. (See

I refer to living environments as the world we experience individually but can label abstractly e.g. as working environment or other forms of social creations that go beyond the nuclear family (e.g. associations or communes), the areas of self-explaining, traditional behaviour, but also of comprehensive historically given socio-cultural environments.


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Organism: in biology, medicine, and spiritual science an organism is both a singular living entity as well as an entire living organism – externally separable – in which there is an interplay of sub-units (organs). Such understanding views an organism as an individualized natural being, which as such shows the phenomena of life, especially metabolism, growth, and reproduction.
(According to Wikipedia and Anthrowiki)

The late spiritual scientist and founder of modern anthroposophy, Dr. Rudolf Steiner, describes communal forms of living as social organisms. Its organs can be divided into spiritual, law, and economic life.

I refer to plants, animals and humans as organisms and the earth as metaorganism and use the term community (rather than social organism) consisting of several sphears (living environments) and is at the same time means and purpose (leaning on Kant), and is more than the sum of its elements (leaning on Aristotle).


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Potential: I refer to potential as unused goods (renewable as water and non-renewable as soil to name a few) and intangible goods (e.g., attitudes, knowledge and ability).

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Regenerative / regenerative design: The term ‘regenerative’ describes processes of recovery, renewal or revitalization of primary sources of energy and material, with the intent of creating sustainable systems that reconcile the needs of society with the integrity of nature. A regenerative system regenerates lost systems.

Regenerative design is a form of bio-imitation with the aim to align man-made systems (e.g., communes) as close as possible to ecological organisms. (According to Wikipedia, Regenerative Design ‘)

I use the term regenerative design to describe the ability of an organism (i.e. commune) to revitalize and renew itself.


Resilience: Resilience refers to the hardiness of a material, a system; the capability of an organism or an individual to return to an equilibrium (a balanced state) after a deforming shock, disturbances, crises or catastrophes. (See Walker & Cooper 2011).

Resilience means forward-looking measures. For community development, this means implementing measures today to increase the capability to resist crippling effects of crisis tomorrow.
(By definition Resilienz Universität Weimar)

For me resilience means the ability to smartly create an organism to meet possible future challenges.


Resources: To me resources are physical goods (eg. renewable as water and non-renewable as soil) and intangible goods (e.g., attitudes, knowledge, and abilities) that can be utilized.


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Social capital: The term social capital describes the ability of a society to organize and maintain its social cohesion. Mutual trust, rules, and norms, as well as networks, play a crucial role in which people are able to jointly face challenges and solve problems. Social capital is created by the willingness of citizens to cooperate. The vital component of social capital is, therefore, trust. Trust expresses itself through friendliness (friendliness encourages sympathy) and willingness to help (solidarity). Added to that comes hospitality. Places of social capital formation are on the one hand family and educational institutions, on the other hand, civil society organizations such as associations and citizen movements. Thus, all initiatives whose purpose goes beyond the interest of individuals and small groups, by political definition are part of the civil society or third sector.
Considering this, the concept of learning through engagement is almost self-explanatory as a blueprint for the formation of social capital. It is predestined to expand the horizon of students, in addition to promoting public spirit and responsibility. Through the challenge of proving themselves in a hitherto unknown terrain, the participants get important impulses for their own personal development and develop social competence.


Subsistence: Latin: ‘subsistere’ for ‘that which exists from within itself’. Subsistence sums up our basic needs for life: eating, drinking, protection against cold and heat, caring and socializing. When subsistence is assured, life can continue. (Bennhold-Thomson / Mies 1997)

To me subsistence means the ability to gain a high quality of life and it’s meaning out of oneself.


Sufficiency (latin for sufficere) means fair/enough. In the German-speaking world, the term was first put into an ecological context by Wolfgang Sachs meaning deceleration, unbundling, de-commercialization and clearing out.

I use this term to reflect the ability to be frugal; to recognize the right proportion.

Sustainability: The ecological principle of sustainability means that not more can be consumed than can grow back, regenerate, and be available again in the future. (According to Duden)

The UN defines sustainability as a necessity to achieve a permanent stable society, in which ecological, economic and social goals are not pitted against each other, but addressed equally.
(See Brundland Commission of the United Nations, 1992)

The term sustainability to me means not to consume more natural resources than can grow back, or be renewed in a manageable time; in order not to live at the expense of future generations.

System / System Theory: in its condensed definition, a system is an entity, composed of several sub-entities (parts), connected and interrelated to one another with a meaning, purpose or task. (See Duden)
In summary, system theory means that anything and everything can be described as a system, if it can be analyzed in terms of its inherent organization and its relationship to the surrounding environment.

I refer to a system as an artificial and, therefore, understandable (albeit at times complicated) construct, manmade for a purpose (in contrast to living organisms). I do distinguish between technical systems (machines) and social systems (organizations).


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Tolerance: (latin for tolerare = acquiescent) Tolerance (also forbearance) generally refers to the acceptance of foreign (other) beliefs, ways of doing things and manners. In a modern society, tolerance means the protection of minority voices and views from repression and is considered a basic condition for humanity.

Tolerance does not mean indifference (towards others) or complacency against ill behaviour or bad actions. Much rather, it is the prerequisite for a meaningful, peaceful, theoretical examination of competing claims for truth.

I see tolerance as the ability to create an inner space for views and behavior of my counterpart, which do not correspond to mine, but I choose to accept.


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Values: Values are attitudes which are generally accepted as desirable within a society (generating a society of values) and which give orientation to people. In contrast to norms and rules (which have restrictive character), values are always formulated in a positive manner. Values create virtues (behaviour).

Value systems are born out of common set of values shared by a society . The netting of linked but differently weighted values is called a hierarchy of values.

A commonly shared minimal ethical standard is the principle (mentioned in all religions) to treat other the same way one would like to be treated. (See Hans Küng, Worldethos)

To me values refer to the totality of an inner life-affirming and generally benevolent attitude toward fellow human-beings and the environment, which (like a compass) points to corresponding actions and behaviour.

Virtues: The German word for virtue ‘Tugend’ (latin for virtus) is derived from the German term “taugen” (to be good for something) with the original basic meaning of capableness (competence, efficiency) of someone (see Duden). Since the early days, virtues have been used to describe individual characteristics (and correspondingly behaviour) that make a person a good human being.

For me, virtues refer to the ability to behave accordingly to corresponding values (attitudes) that characterize people as human-beings.

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Work corresponds to the human need for self-realization, where meaningfulness is more important than efficiency. In other words, no one can determine for anyone else but him- or herself what kind of work is meaningful, furthermore, we should refrain from telling someone else how and how much they should do, as we should be free in deciding our work.


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