022 - Ecosystem Restoration, Philosophy, and The Probiotic Life with John D. Liu

Evolving Our Collective Consciousness To Heal The Land And Our Lives

John D. Liu is passionate about ecosystem restoration, and has been championing the solutions and associated philosophies for more than thirty years. Join us as we explore our inextricable connections to nature through John’s eyes. 

Prepared to be inspired and challenged as John shares some of his journey. We go into the thinking behind the degenerative systems, how they came to be, and what he sees as the necessary evolution of human consciousness to move into regenerative systems.

He is currently the Ecosystem Ambassador for the Commonland Foundation, and a visiting research fellow at the Netherlands Institute of Ecology, of the Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences.



Commonland Foundation

Ecosystem Restoration Camps

ERC Facebook Page

Published works - Academia page


A few of John’s documentaries:

Green Gold

Hope In A Changing Climate







- background in journalism, camera work, television & radio

- saw a lot of ego and hubris

- realised that contributing to environmental healing was much more meaningful

- changed to ecological research

- began lecturing and speaking on his research

- came to believe knowledge is a right, not a commodity

- hopeful that future generations will carry this shift in thinking



John’s Message

- discussion of the Loess plateau, its ecological destruction and subsequent restoration

- it is not inevitable that humans degrade their environment

- we have looted the earth

- by contrast, in nature there is no waste

- nature accumulates each generation

- a human collective consciousness is needed, not just experts

- felt like a detective figuring out what had gone wrong in barren places

- living separated from each other and our environment = the result is deserts, wars, etc

- there is no need for us to destroy our natural systems



The Impact of Modern Agriculture

- humans have spent a lot of time decreasing biodiversity

- modern agriculture is only 10-12,000 years old

- there are no exposed soils in natural systems (with a few exceptions)

- monoculture: human ancestors spread certain kinds of plant while killing many others



Hope For The Future

- Commonland is working on the principle of “4 returns”

- return 1: inspiration

- return 2: social capital - jobs, happiness, normal relationships

- return 3: natural capital

- return 4: return on investment, financial

- many people are beginning to be aware

- idea of ecological restoration live-in camps

- holistic view of life experience & development



Making Changes

- our descendants’ quality of life will be determined by what we learn, and how much we understand

- we have it in our power to restore paradise

- if our intention is to restore the earth, we will do it

- John believes this is our duty to do so

- what is the result of consciousness and generosity

- it’s necessary to move to the next level of consciousness

- not just a meme or a catchphrase, but a true understanding of our symbiotic relationship with the natural world



Final Thoughts

- collaborative learning

- not institutions that will accomplish it, but people

- this work needs to be done from an ecological standpoint, but also with a view to living together in peace

- these go hand in hand