region. A geographical area described in terms of
its unique combination of flora, fauna, geology, climate
and water features—the whole of which distinguishes
it from other bioregions. Thus, natural forms and
living communities, including human, become the descriptive
features of each bioregion—instead of the politically
drawn lines used to define county, state and nation.
Watersheds, being an important physical feature of
bioregions, are often used to define their boundaries.
are geographic areas having common characteristicsof
soil, watershed, climate, native plants and animals
that exist within the whole planetary biosphere
as unique and contributive parts.
refers both to geographical terrain and a terrain
of consciousness - to a place and the ideas that
have develped about how too live in that place.
can be determined initially by use of climatology,
physiography, animal and plant geography, natural
history and other descriptive resonance among
living things and the factors that influence them
which occurs specifically within each separate
part of the planet.
and describing that resonance is a way to describe
Berg & Raymond Dasmann,
Reinhabiting a Separate Country
Planet Drum Foundation, 1978
is a comprehensive "new" way of defining
and understanding the place where we live, and living
in that place sustainably and respectfully. What bioregionalism
represents, identification with place and its history
and culture, and living within the laws of nature,
is new only for people who come out of the Western
industrial-technological heritage. The essence of
bioregionalism has been reality and common sense for
native people living close to the land for thousands
of years, and remains so for human beings today. At
the same time, bioregional concepts are rigorously
defensible in terms of science, technology, economics,
politics, and other fields of "civilized"
human endeavor. Bioregionalists are lifelong students
of how to live in balance with our eco-communities.
We recognize that we are part of the web of the life,
and that all justice, freedom and peace must be grounded
in this recognition.
Bioregionalism re-connects us into the living biosphere
through the Places where we live. Bioregionalism acknowledges
that we not only live in cities, towns, villages and
countrysides; we also live in watersheds (map
above), ecoystems, and ecoregions. The awareness
of those connections to the planet is vital to our
own health and the health of the planet. By discovering
our connections to the planet, we find a context for
our lives to grow in. This context allows us to find
ways to live sustainably in our settlements while
at the same time provides us ways to nurture and restore
the more-than-human community that surrounds us and
which we are dependent on in so many ways.
following statement was adopted by the Continental Bioregional
Congress (then called the North American Bioregional Congress)
at its first gathering in 1984, and it has been affirmed
by many organizations and congresses since that time:
A growing number of people are recognizing
that in order to secure
the clean air, water and food that we need to healthfully
survive, we have to become guardians of the places
where we live. People sense the loss in not knowing
our neighbors and natural surroundings, and are discovering
that the best way to take care of ourselves and to
get to know our neighbors, is to protect and restore
recognizes, nurtures, sustains and celebrates our
local connections with:
Rivers, Lakes, Groundwater & Oceans
Traditions, Indigenous Systems of Production &
It is taking the time
to learn the possibilities of place. It is a mindfulness
of local environment, history, and community aspirations
that leads to a sustainable future. It relies on safe
and renewable sources of food and energy. It ensures
employment by supplying a rich diversity of services
within the community, by recycling our resources,
and by exchanging prudent surpluses with other regions.
Bioregionalism is working to satisfy basic needs locally,
such as education, health care and self-governance.
The bioregional perspective recreates a widely-shared
sense of regional identity founded upon a renewed
critical awareness of and respect for the integrity
of our ecological communities.
People are joining with
neighbors to discuss ways we can work together to:
our special local resources are
Plan how to
best protect and use those natural and cultural
time and energy to best meet our daily and long-term
children's local and planetary knowledge.
Security begins by acting
responsibly at home.
Fundamental Role of the Bioregional Movement
The Bioregional Movement
acts as a catalyst for social and political change
in government toward decentralization of power to
smaller units of population and land for the purpose
of: keeping wealth at home in local communities, preserving
and enriching the natural systems of water, air and
land, and practicing ways of living that foster sustainable
energy use in human endeavors. Change includes redefining
the laws governing corporations to ensure they serve
societal and planetary interests for health and sustainability.
The Bioregional Movement should pioneer new modes
of relatedness to the mystery and wonder of the natural
The above was abstracted
(and paraphrased) from a view of one bioregionalist, Gene
Marshall—full text can be found on the Bioregional
Listserve (July 2005
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