Bioregionalism/Living in Place

An Alternative Societal Configuration

In a bioregional society, we could reconfigure the relationship between cities, towns and rural areas. Both regions would produce particular products that would be appropriate for that locale with regard to resources and space requirements. The cities and towns would remain cultural centers that could bring people together for recreation and cultural events as well as career fulfillment. However, these habitats would be of a smaller scale of say no more than about 50,000 for cities and about half that size or less for townships so that a more intimate atmosphere could be realized. The surrounding countryside would provide room for agriculture, grazing of animals and other functions that need more open space. Areas throughout the bioregion would have untouched wilderness areas allocated to support local flora and fauna and maintain the functions necessary for Gaia to operate optimally. There would be adequate walking and bike paths such that motorized vehicles would not be necessary to navigate the urban landscape. Small businesses would prevail without large malls and tall structures that block out the sun and stars. Buildings would be architecturally pleasing to the eye and art and aesthetic considerations would prevail. Pollution would not be permitted and all human waste products would be disposed of organically. There would be places for meetings and events but they would be simple and ecological. The essence of place would be to design communities that are attractive, sustainable and ecological; places where people would want to live and flourish.

The Bioregional concept is really nothing new. Its principles reflect many aspects of the way hunters and gatherers and indigenous cultures have lived throughout history and still do in many remote parts of the world. It is an acknowledgement, acceptance and celebration of the way wild nature operates and a desire to live out the covenant we have been given as a participating species on this planet.

Philosophical Considerations

There is no perfect system that will work for all of humanity. Many political, economic and social configurations have been tried and none have been able to address all human concerns, desires and difficulties. Utopian ideals have been put to the test most often falling short of expectations. However, idealistic visions are useful in that they point to a place we would like to arrive at to live in peace and fulfillment. It is the primary project of humanity and no one knows if we will ever actually arrive there. But evolution is an ongoing process. What will society be like in 100 years, 200 years and so on? We will never know what we can do as a species unless we stay in the game of life and continue our evolutionary journey. We must go with what we are, have and desire in order to secure our future as a loyal species. In the meantime, we must make planet Earth our home, live in a manner that supports the vitality of the biosphere and learn how live with each other in a nurturing and sustainable fashion. The bioregionalism approach supports such a philosophical and pragmatic outlook.

References:

“Bioregionalism.” Bioregionalism: Living Awareness Institute, lebendig.org/bioregion.htm. Accessed 31 May 2020.

Burg, Peter. “Bioregional Approach for Making Sustainable Cities.” Planet Drum, planetdrum.org/bioreg_approach_cities.htm. Accessed 31 May 2020.

Quilligan, James Bernard. “Should We Move to Bioregionalism?” Resilience, 31 August 2015, resilience.org/stories/2015-08-31/should-we-move-to-bioregionalism/. Accessed 31 May 2020.

Sale, Kirkpatrick. “Mother of All: An Introduction to Bioregionalism,” edited by Hildegarde Hannum, Publications / Annual E.F. Schumacher Lecture, Third Annual E.F. Schumacher Lectures, October, 1983, Mount Holyoke College, South Hadley, MA, Lecture, centerforneweconomics.org/publications/mother-of-all-an-introduction-to-bioregionalism/. Accessed 31 May 2020.

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