From 'normal' to 'natural': downscaling to village

An story of how a tiny village can explore ways to evolve their initiatives

Picture this. Tuesday evening a group of 30+ neighbours of a tiny village within the Pewsey Vale in Wiltshire gathered in this 2-hour informal film and discussion event. The film is a documentary that explores Biomimicry, a scientific methodology using nature's knowledge to solve human problems.

The Goal

We aimed to come together as neighbours, pause and open our minds to shift away from the default approach of what is considered 'normal' of divisiveness and degeneration, and instead, embrace a mindset that is more distributive and regenerative by design.

As the director herself, Fernanda, explains, "BIOCENTRICS seeks both to provoke and to provide the public with routes of hope, by broadening the vision of the possible transformations of looking at nature as a mentor and a source of knowledge. By considering sustainability, circular economy, ecology and health as principles of individual and collective reconnection with the elemental nature that inhabits us, it is possible to visualize a future that is very different from the dystopian perspectives that we are getting used to consuming.” But the film goes beyond philosophical and conceptual reflection, showing accessible solutions, in examples already materialized by this practice.


The key element was the film. After the One Earth Film Festival in Chicago, I reached out to the director Fernanda Heinz Figueiredo who has been incredibly approachable and helpful as she puts it: "Our biggest wish is that as many people as possible can watch it." So we were given very special access to this film called "Biocentrics" and allowed us to do a village viewing, the film is just under 2 hours long.

"A non-fiction film, “Biocentrics” takes the viewer through different corners of the planet to reveal a methodology of innovation inspired by nature. A new posture and a tool to face the global challenges that lie ahead and putting life back at the center of decision-making."

We held the event in the local social club, and took the opportunity for optional donations for the much-needed insulation works.


It was quite straightforward, we set the space in theatre style for the film and an informal discussion at the end to discover what had emerged for us.

Some helpful prompting questions from downscaling the doughnut:

  • How can all people of this place thrive?
  • Which values do we need to bring to like in the way we do community?
  • How can this place be as generous as the wildland next door?
  • How can this place respect the health of the whole planet?
  • What sort of behaviours or attitudes will make it easier to do this?
  • How would we know we have the things in place?

We discussed so many topics from the importance of bringing all generations along, to being inviting rather than demanding, being engaged with place, being conscious about the words we use for example moving from what's 'normal' to what's 'natural'...

Film viewing and discussion in Woodborough Social Club

"The film was interesting - with some beautiful camerawork as well. Food for thought, for certain. And hopefully action. "

"It was a wonderful way to spend an evening, expanding and thought-provoking."

"That was super interesting. Thanks so much for arranging it all. I need time to pounder"

"Fascinating and thought-provoking evening."

"A most interesting film and one that has opened yet another window for my and our lives"

A stepping stone

Having a film like this is a great asset, it's inviting rather than imposing, helps focus and it's inspiring, the narrative is away from divisive and calls for abundance and hope.

This event was an invitation and a first step to help us to move from 'urgency' to 'agency'. It acted as an ignitor, few attendees felt activated to take these concepts in some of their initiatives.

It acted as a seed of transformation. An enabler to reimagine what we do and embrace a more distributive and cooperative approach. This opened the mind and readiness for us as neighbours to be able to touch on the concepts of Doughnut Economics, degrowth, regeneration and much more.

Let us continue to build upon the momentum we have created, one neighbour and village at a time. Stronger Together.

It's up to us.





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