Bioregionalism

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Description

Gaia Education:

"Bioregionalism is a comprehensive way of defining and understanding the place where we live, in the aim to live in that place sustainably and respectfully. While the term “bioregionalism” is a new way of representing and identifying with a place and its history and culture and living within the laws of nature, the concept is new only for people who come out of the Western industrial-technological heritage. The essence of bioregionalism has been a reality and common sense for native people living close to the land for thousands of years, and remains so for most human beings today.

Bioregionalism re-connects us into the living biosphere through the places and regions where we live. Bioregionalism acknowledges that we not only live in cities, towns, villages or ‘the countryside’; we also live in watersheds, ecosystems, and eco-regions." (https://medium.com/@gaiaeducation/bioregionalism-e32937bb610b)

Source: Excerpt from the ‘Social Design’ dimension of Gaia Education’s online course in ‘Design for Sustainability’


Discussion

James Quilligan:

"The bioregional economy offers an opportunity for genuine accountability in our patterns of consumption and restoration of resources, reconnecting us with the consequences of our decisions. When people actually know their aquifer storage and crop acreage yields, then they can calculate how much groundwater and food they can produce, the size of the population they can supply and how to absorb the associated waste.

Bioregionalism takes us beyond the Enlightenment beliefs about inherent rights which are guaranteed by sovereign governments. When the people of a bioregion are making decisions about the production and management of their resources, they are creating a conscious relationship with their regional water and food supplies. In essence, they are expressing the fundamental right of resource sovereignty, a freedom that is denied in liberal democracies.

Basing economics on the functions of nature means reversing the consumption of scarce and non-renewable resources. It also means provisioning energy and materials sustainably for everyone in society. In evolutionary terms, the dignity of bioregional identity is the birthright of every human being—the inalienable value which arises from natural rather than political boundaries.

Tolerance and a respect for diversity involve a deliberative, participatory process for the management of resources and a revitalization of the cellular memory that connects people with the Earth. Resource democracy thus has a basis in many spiritual traditions. The individual attempts to integrate the Divine into his/her Human Nature, and his/her Human Nature attempts to integrate itself with the Earth. This means uniting the individual with the collective identity not only through healthy social relations, but also by ensuring a more equitable allocation of resources and restoring vital human contact with the Earth.

Human dignity is presently at odds with policies which disrupt or suppress the ability of citizens to provide for their basic needs. This is why the socially marginalized and the poor must be included in policies which promote dignity and carrying capacity. In this context, the principle of responsibility to protect (R2P) is providing hope for the security of vulnerable resource areas by the global community, particularly when it encompasses the human right to sustenance and a healthy environment.

Ensuring that all people receive an equal degree of esteem and consideration is the foundation of a new belief system. Bioregional democracy offers a world of vibrant respect for life and a lasting commitment to justice and peace. By generating freedom, guaranteeing equality and building social cohesion—and developing the conditions in which these principles are no longer set in opposition as they have been under Western liberalism—human dignity will become the basis for a new culture of bioregional identity and sustainable citizenship.

Like the natural world of which we are a part, human beings evolve to survive and survive to evolve. In this way, human dignity is like the headwaters which are the source of biodiversity and community within a watershed. The sense of respect arising from bioregional identity starts an unbroken stream of social responsibility, empathy and care flowing through interpersonal relationships. This generates the conditions for resource cooperation across borders and enables human beings to express the evolutionary will to succeed on a collective scale." (http://www.kosmosjournal.org/article/human-watershed-the-emerging-politics-of-bioregional-democracy/)