Thursday, December 11, 2008


It's a classic image, a stone dropped in a pond, the ripples radiating out from the point of impact. If we think of the center (and first ripple) as being local, a couple of ripples out is the region.

Jim Dodge defines "Bioregionalism" as being "from the Greek bios (life) and the French region (region), itself from the Latin regia (territory), and earlier, regere (to rule or govern). Etymologically, then, bioregionalism means life territory, place of life, or perhaps by reckless extension, government by life."

Bioregions are areas defined by the plant life, the animal life, the rocks, the soil, the rivers, and the cultures of the human community. What they are not is political entities.

I feel like I have a lot more in common with people living in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick, than I have with people living in Texas, Nebraska, or California. The US government might claim that I share a national identity with people living in the latter area and not the former, but I don't see it. New England and the Maritimes are separated by the fact that some politicians drew lines on a map, but people in both areas hold much in common. When I hitchhiked around Nova Scotia, many years back, I talked with the people there about this and got a positive response. One man said that there was a saying that every one in Nova Scotia had a cousin in Boston. We share a lot of history, geography, land and sea, and much flora and fauna.

I'll talk more later about the region that I live in, but I want to say that as we build alternatives, eventually thinking in terms of bioregions makes sense. Bioregions are about looking beyond local to what is around that, they are about connecting with nature and the earth, and about committing to regional sustainability. They are the next step in organizing and creating a future. How we do that organizing will be the subject of my next post.

Quote of the day: "Bioregional action is based on local control and decentralization; nonviolence; sustainable lifestyles; and on revaluing and redefining of home." - Judith Plant
Word (or phrase) of the day: Vermiculture
Hero(es) of the day: The Shministim

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