Bioregionalism is the practice of intimately exploring, knowing, and tending to the natural and human communities within a particular region defined by its natural features. It is based on the notion of a “sense of place,” which is the connection we feel to the special geographical places that call to us. Bioregionalism suggests that our sense of identity is partially defined by the geographic locations in which we live.
Bioregionalism offers a radical critique of the conventional approach to place, revolving around the idea of ownership of land and the attendant right to develop and exploit. Political control over the ecology and economy of local regions rests with the nation-state government, which is generally allied with and supportive of the interests of large industrial corporations. The bioregional approach advocates replacing the man-made, historically arbitrary political boundaries of nations, states, and counties. It suggests, instead, using natural ecosystem features, such as watersheds, mountain ranges and entire biotic communities (human and non-human) as the defining features of a given region. The primary values, from a bioregional perspective, are not “property rights” and “development,” but preserving of the integrity of the regional ecosystem and maximizing economic self- sufficiency within the region. Political control would thus rest with the community of people actually living in the region.
The Place and the Story
Viewed as our homes larger whole to which we belong, the Earth is a collection of places. A place is a spatial part of the environment that we are related to in some way—through our experiences, our imagination, our perceptions or our feelings. It is through place that a mobile organism makes meaning of its habitat. Externally, places orient us, telling us where we are. Internally, they become part of our psychological, cultural and spiritual identity, telling us how we are to be here.
Place and the Human Spirit