Bioregional State

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= the bioregional state is a framework of protecting preexisting forms of ethnobotany and human diversity. [1]

It consists of two institutions:


Finn Jackson:

"What is a bioregional state?

A bioregion is a geographic area that has roughly the same geology and plant life, that is different from the man-made borders imposed upon it. For example, the North Downs, South Downs and the Weald are all distinctive geographic features. Hampshire, Surrey, West Sussex and Kent are all man made counties. The Weald and Downland is possibly a bioregion. It shares distinctive landscape and farming practices, and also building styles, as revealed at the Weald and Downland museum.

So a bioregional state is about matching political boundaries to biological ones. Because doing that is more efficient and effective than drawing a line on a map and saying “This side mine, that side yours.” (


Sources recommended by James Quilligan:

  • Bioregionalism, edited by Michael Vincent McGinnis
  • or the wonderful overview of land-planner and former professor Robert L. Thayer, Jr, Life-Places: Bioregional Thought and Practice.
  • I also suggest a couple of great classics, Dwellers in the Land: The Bioregional Vision by Kirkpatrick Sale
  • and Envisioning Sustainability by Peter Berg. (Sale and Berg were arguably the founders of the modern field of bioregionalism in the 60s-70s, along with Gary Snyder, and have a lot of pioneering insight.)

In terms of ecology councils, that is certainly a core part of bioregionalism -- people making their own decisions about sustainable production and distribution of resources. All of the authors I've cited focus on this aspect, for sure. The group that I'm working with now takes Whitaker's vision (not necessarily his book) very seriously. Indeed, why not match our political boundaries with our natural boundaries?" (

More Information

Mark Whitaker:

"In his 2005 book Toward a Bioregional State: A Series of Letters About Political Theory and Formal Institutional Design in the Era of Sustainability, Mark D. Whitaker argues for another version of the green state. This version of the green state is a slow strategic and institutional means toward greater sustainability starting from our lack of sustainability presently.

This is different from other ideas of a green state for three rationales: first, other green state ideas start at the artificial point of an already achieved sustainability so they are mere philosophical conjectures of what a state might look like from the point of view of some mental conjectures about a non-existent situation; and second, therefore, other green state ideas ignore the most important issues: they are lifeless and without pragmatic strategies to move from unsustainability to sustainability; third, other forms of the green state only analyze state institutions in an artificial isolation from the rest of the political economy and the material world. Because of this third point, there seems to be a strange construct in others' view of the green state as if the state is some magical creation that can force change of the politics of society instead of seeing the state as merely being a reflection of the wider distribution of systemic power in other areas and in itself. Therefore, in the bioregional state, the green state is related to environmental capacity building in the real world in steady, slow, pragmatic steps from unsustainability to sustainability." (