Stop for a moment, and envision the world that you would want to live in, if all reality were stripped away. A world free of exploitation, where people lived happily, their needs met and in balance with their environments. What kind of society would that look like? What kind of steps would it take to get us there? By taking that moment – you have begun your lifelong journey to becoming a bioregionalist. To achieve our dreams, we cannot work within existing paradigms, rather we must create our own.
As a term, a bioregion is a shorthand designation for ‘bio-cultural region’ and is rooted in the idea that culture stems from placed and that human cultures develop in relation to the natural ecosystems they inhabit. They are the largest sense of scale where connections based on watershed will still make sense, and serve as containers on which to break down large, intangible issues, onto a local level from which every person can walk out their door, and get active about what they care about.
Bioregionalism at its most simple is a philosophy that connects people and ideas into place, which work watershed by watershed, in ways that are sustainable, democratic and just, and which work to find solutions to these issues, magnify solutions already being practiced in a community, and create accessible pathways for every person living in a region to be able to get active. Each watershed and community will be different, and each region and community will know their needs the best, and be the best to represent those needs.
By creating bioregional movements that are hubs for every movement around the common shared principles of bioregionalism, we create a framework of action for a decentralized, rapid, voluntary and radical change that our planet needs. There will be no one right answer, or one right solution. Rather it will be hundreds of solutions working together, adapting to fit different needs of different backgrounds, locations and contexts, to achieve the real change that we want to see.
Bioregional movements create these spaces, both physically, and and as a terrain of consciousness, so that every person has the space to lead on issues they care about, and to provide solidarity to magnify the impacts of each to the greatest extent. Each community will know the issues it is facing the best, and it is only when all of these answers are working together, that we will find the solutions to the problems that are greatest in our society.
To create real and lasting change in this region, and be the rapid change our world needs, – we need to reach out and connect with every one of the 15 million people living in this region, have that be a positive interaction, provide ways for them to involved, and create a shift in our habits, each able to spread it to friends and family.
As part of this, let’s take the burden on ourselves to reduce friction to make it as easy as possible for people to shift their actions and habits. We don’t live in a bioregional model yet. Let’s provide a positive framework, where people can learn, make mistakes and grow – with compassion and support.
It is up to bioregionalists to create and promote this change, each in their own way, and to lead the way forward with passion rather than waiting for someone else to do it for us.
The Job of a Bioregionalist
- On a personal level – work to better ourselves in our habits, principles, how we eat, consume, work and play – and improve our relationship to the land we live and rely on
- On a an interpersonal level – examine how we treat each other, approach others with respect and compassion, work to make every interaction a positive one, learn about the history and context of how we came to be to where we are, create spaces to address past injustices, and work in equitable and a just manner together in mutual aid, solidarity and support.
- On a societal level – create new models, tools, culture and identity – the sum of all of our interpersonal actions and choices, which is positive, inclusive and authentic, rooted in place, and create accessible pathways for the 15 million people who live here to hook in, get involved, and shift our impact as a region. Magnify the solutions already existing.
Together, a Cascadian seeks to live bioregionally, to live and work according to bioregional principles, living in a sustainable manner with a net positive impact on their land and community.