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Cascadia

Ecology & Community:The Bioregional Vision

 

Ecology & Community:

The Bioregional Vision

by David Mc Closkey

“…I’ve been watching Seattle slip-slide away in Puget Sound for four months now, from late December to late April…

…The pure, predictable power of these swollen rivers of mud builds up an enormous hydraulic head until it finally bursts forth in a torrent of debris, clearing everything in its path…

…Our human contribution to the acceleration of such problems is enormous. Consider how we have altered Seattle’s landscape: paved surfaces, flattened hills, rerouted or killed springs and creeks, channellized and diked rivers, filled in wetlands, built everywhere, stripped away the native vegetation, expunged the fauna, and introduced exotic species…

…We need to wake up and return to our senses, as if from a long, drugged sleep…The very ground on which we stand seems to be washing out from under our feet…

…It’s as if we’ve been under a spell--one that does not enchant but rather ensnares us…

…From the perspective of everyday life, the dominant dynamic of the emerging age is displacement…

…Such a double displacement of the land and its peoples reveal many parallels…

…pervasive displacement of native-to-the-place life on all levels is linked, of course, to that forbidden word, domination…

…Today, global has come to mean globular, everything melted into one under their [global economic orders] control…

…when the central problematics of the era become the twin evils of displacement and degradation, the the answers we need to response are reinhabitation and restoration…

…The bioregional idea is not about the environment in general, but about specific life-places that we inhabit on a daily basis…

…Coming home to a bioregion means, first of all, learning how to reinhabit it, and then restoring its natural and social systems…

…Reinhabitation involves the twin processes of orientation and identification. It means, first, finding a truer orientation to the character and context of the lif-place we inhabit, and the, second, deepening our identification with it. Instead of claiming a territory as your own, when you fall in love with the land you may find yourself claimed by it instead! While such attunement is an individual matter, it is also a collective, culture-creating process…

…Ecology and community are two sides of the same river of life. Since they are being lost together around the world, they also need to be restored together…Our goals here are, first, to help maintain and restore the integrity and vitality of our natural systems on a bioregional scale, and, second, to revitalize local economies and communities…

…sustainability is fast becoming a mirage…Sustainable is an abstraction, an adjective in search of a noun…

…No--the problem today is not sustainability but rather viability; indeed, there can be no sustainability without viability! For the ecological crisis is now more concerned with the lower thresholds of viability of species and habitats rather than maximum flows of resource commodities…

…when ecological degradation, fragmentation, and simplification lead to loss of biodiversity and ecosystem integrity, then we must seek to restore the health of those systems…

…who is going to do the real work of restoration?…what should be the role of community and culture in long-term restoration?…

…Communities can provide the essential social basis for restoration. And restoration is also a community-building practice--it works both ways…

…where is the money for restoration going to come from?…ecoregions…could establish their own dedicated ecological restoration trust funds…watershed or ecoregional councils could serve as responsible agents, with rules to ensure proper use in perpetuity as in land trusts or other public trusts…

…All over our region, we see the emergence of a spontaneous grassroots movement to restore ecology and community together. Every community has its commons, and it’s time we restore them to health.”

For the full text of David McCloskey’s article, please send U.S.$3.50 to Columbiana, POB 792, Okanogan, WA 98840 and ask for Columbiana Magazine #20.

found at http://www.columbiana.org/bioregions.htm