04 August 2009

Bioregionalism and the Transition Movement

For about 25 years i have been interested in the concept of bioregion. (From Wikipedia:"Bioregionalism is a political, cultural, and environmental system based on naturally-defined areas called bioregions, or ecoregions. Bioregions are defined through physical and environmental features, including watershed boundaries and soil and terrain characteristics. Bioregionalism stresses that the determination of a bioregion is also a cultural phenomenon, and emphasizes local populations, knowledge, and solutions.")

I was introduced to the concept in the early eighties by the folks at Katuah journal. These folks brought the concepts of permaculture and a regional economy & society to many of us in the area. As I have learned more about the Transition Town movement, i realize that the concept as defined in the UK could very easily and productively be combined with the concept of bioregion to create a forward looking sustainable bioregion that looks to solve post peak energy issues through regional interconnections. Where the transition town movement sees a very localized economy, I see a more regionalized economy based on coordinated resource exchange, mutual economic support and localized innovation.

The region of Katuah has traditionally been one of relatively isolated mountain communities, grouped around larger trading centers. There is absolutely no reason why this model (think 1930 timeframe) could not be applied to the coming societal changes. My belief is that, while i know that there is a significant change coming, the pace of that change will be influenced by outside forces that we have little control over. We may see the pace continue on the long glide path we have seen over the last 35 years or the pace may be quickened through outside influence of war, disease, economic distress, who knows? It does not matter really! Once you look at the realities of the coming changes, the idea of approaching them with your eyes wide open makes a lot of sense.

Those of us who are interested and motivated to push the envelope of this movement should start the process. At some point (for my vote, I would rather it be farther down the road then closer at hand), society as a whole will be forced to change. If we start the planning and implementation of a shift, it will be a much easier transition when the majority sees there is no other choice. My hope is that it will be a gentle push rather than a violent shove, but I certainly have no idea or predictions which is more likely. In the early eighties I thought by 2010 we would all be aware of the issues and consciously moving to correct our mistakes of the past, but boy was i wrong!

So i am asking, calling, begging those of you reading this in our bioregion to contact me to bring the initial phases of bioregional transition planning together. There are already many groups doing good work in this area, from carpool groups to urban gardeners, we can make a start at assessing what we have and planning for what we will need.


  1. does this mean the first step is identify what sustainable resources are available to us locally/ regionally?


  2. Aaron, that is exactly one of the first steps in creating a vision for an energy descent plan.

  3. does this mean focusing on:
    human waste

    ????kind of thing?



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