Bioregionalism

Bioregionalism

Bioregionalism

Bioregionalism

Synopsis

Bioregionalism is the first book to explain the theoretical and practical dimensions of bioregionalism from an interdisciplinary standpoint, focusing on the place of bioregional identity within global politics. Leading contributors from a broad range of disciplines introduce this exciting new concept as a framework for thinking about indigenous peoples, local knowledge, globalization, science, global environmental issues, modern society, conservation, history, education and restoration. Bioregionalism's emphasis on place and community radically changes the way we confront human and ecological issues.

Excerpt

Certain ideas are in the air. We are all impressionable [by them], for we are made of them; all impressionable, but some more than others, and these first express them. This explains the curious contemporaneousness of inventions and discoveries. the truth is in the air, and the most impressionable brain will announce it first, but all will announce it a few minutes later.

(Ralph Waldo Emerson, "Fate")

Bioregionalism is an idea of the kind-and with the kind of potency-which Emerson describes. It is not any one person's idea, or in fact any group of people's idea. It is of a different order than that.

Earlier in the same essay, Emerson had written: "When there is something to be done, the world knows how to get it done." Bioregionalism is the world at work on itself, getting something done which the world knows to be in need of doing. It gets the work done through ideas, through words written and spoken, through organization, discipline, practice and politics. But from first to last, it is the world's work, and the world either knows or will figure out how to get it done.

It may not work as quickly as most of us would hope. Take the case of my own bioregion-the Rocky Mountain West. John Wesley Powell, a great observer of the West and later Director of the us Geological Survey argued over a century ago that the West was different, and that because of its uniqueness, it would be especially important to organize human activity in the West including political jurisdictions-according to the lay of the land, not according to an artificial grid. We ignored Powell with a vengeance-basically trying for a century to fit the West into an undifferentiated pattern of national policies and programs, as if it were in fact no different than any place else, and then requiring it to deal with such uniqueness as may be left to it by means of political jurisdictions even less organic, less responsive to landscape than had been created in any other region.

For a century, the results of this blindness to the West's uniqueness, while damaging in a number of ways, could still be tolerated. But now, for a variety of reasons, regionalism is ripe for re-examination, and the West is positioned to begin thinking and acting in a genuinely regional manner. Watershed councils are springing up by the score across the country; bioregional efforts in places

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