Bioregionalism is a movement suggesting the organization of societies by commonality of place, the immediate and specific places in which people live. We all live in areas that have their own unique physical and cultural geography. This base provides us with a common heritage and framework for building economically and socially sustainable systems of living.

Peter Berg, Director of the Plant Drum Foundation, and Raymond Dasmann, wildlife ecologist, have offered the
following definition:

"Bioregions are geographic areas having common characteristics of soil, watershed, climate, native plants and animals that exist within the whole planetary biosphere as unique and intrinsic contributive parts. A bioregion refers both to geographical terrain and a terrain of consciousness -- to a place and the ideas that have developed about how to live in that place. A bioregion can be determined initially by use of climatology, physiography, animal and plant geography, natural history and other descriptive natural sciences. The final boundaries of a bioregion, however, are best described by the people who have lived within it, through human recognition of the realities of living-in-place. There is a distinctive resonance among living things and the factors that influence them which occurs specifically within each separate place on the planet. Discovering and describing that resonance is a way to describe a bioregion."


We are not organized by bioregions at present. Political divisions of nations, states, counties, water districts, sewer districts, voting districts and so on have nothing to do with inherent geographical physical, cultural and economic patterns. Many of our political subdivisions actually make management of our resources and our opportunities for social involvement more difficult.

Kirkpatrick Sale states the rationale for bioregional organization in terms of scale, economy, polity and society in
Dwellers in the Land, Chapters 5-8:

Scale: People can understand issues and their connections to them at a scale "where the forces of government and society are still recognizable and comprehensible, where relations with others are still intimate, and where the effects of individual actions are visible; where abstractions and intangibles give way to the here and now, the seen and felt, and the real and known."(pg. 53)

Economy: "... a bioregional economy would seek first to maintain rather than use up the natural world, to adapt to the environment rather than try to exploit or manipulate it, to conserve not only the resources but also the relationships and systems of the natural world; and second to establish a stable means of production and exchange rather than one always in flux and dependent upon continual growth and constant consumption..." (pg.. 68-69)

Polity: "... a bioregional polity would seek the diffusion of power, the decentralization of institutions, with nothing done at a higher level than necessary, and all authority flowing upward incrementally from the smallest political unit to the largest." (pg. 94)

Society: "... symbiosis is as apt a model as any for a successful human society, which we may envision as a place where families operate within neighborhoods, neighborhoods within communities, communities within cities, cities within regions, all on the basis of collaboration and exchange, cooperation and mutual benefit, and where the fittest is the one that helps the most -- and of course is thereby the most helped. The most important instance of such an interaction on a bioregional scale would be the social symbiosis between the city and the country ..." (pg.. 113)

Planet Drum has published a
Bioregional Directory and Map (Raise the Stakes, #24). It contains over 200 contact individuals, groups and publications that consider themselves to be bioregionally oriented. A Bioregional Association is being formed to provide links between bioregional groups.

 

Bioregionalism

Introduction_3.html
Green_Planning.html
Associated_Movements.html