It’s a question that for many Cascadians is a no-brainer.
Taking care of where we live not only feels good, but it’s vital to our survival. We know this. We know about climate change, deforestation, fossil fuels, and other serious and real dangers to our planet. In fact The Sightline Institute, (an independent, nonprofit research and communications center) dubs Cascadia as a thin green line because we are the greenest part of the wealthiest country in the world - and because as home to three quarters of the deep water parts along the west coast, we are the thin green line that stands between resource extraction in the east, and exporting it to the greatest fossil fuel consumers in the east.
On May 6, the UN came out with a report citing “nature’s dangerous decline [as] ‘unprecedented’ species extinction rates [are] ‘accelerating’” - over one million species - and it’s the most comprehensive report of its kind to say this. The Chair of the department, Sir Robert Watson said
“The Report also tells us that it is not too late to make a difference, but only if we start now at every level from local to global,” he said. “Through ‘transformative change’, nature can still be conserved, restored and used sustainably – this is also key to meeting most other global goals. By transformative change, we mean a fundamental, system-wide reorganization across technological, economic and social factors, including paradigms, goals and values.”
Initially - that report may seem pretty scary. How do we solve these huge global problems? Bioregionalism is that transformative change. Perhaps Cascadia is an example of what Sir Robert Watson was saying. Washington plans to be zero energy by 2045 (China, in fact, by 2020). Ellensburg is completely powered by wind. Portland, OR has zero energy neighborhoods. And the list goes on and on. Probably your neighborhood has a few houses powered by solar panels. Already government organizations are breaking down arbitrary borders to look along the length of a whole watershed and understanding the benefit of economic and environmental sustainability and resiliency.
“Bioregionalism means learning to become native to place, fitting ourselves to a partiular place, not fitting a place to our predetermined tastes. It is living within the limits and the gifts provided by a place, creating a way of life that can be passed onto future generations.”
- Judith Plant, New Society Publishing
The UN says it’s not too late to save our species. So perhaps it is the time to think about bioregionalism outside of Cascadia. Perhaps the way to heal the earth and save our species, is to live bioregionally across the globe.