Someone in the Bioregional Catalysts group was seeking a kind of “elevator pitch” (very succinct paragraph or two) conveying the essence as simply as possible. He said when people asked him about it he sometimes felt at a loss because the concepts are so alternative and (he imagines) complex.
Members of the group have been working on this. My contribution reflects how my own interest in bioregionalism has more to do with the social aspects than the ecological. Usually it’s the other way around, but I have no doubt that nature will survive. Even if (sadly enough) the anthropocene mess were to result in the temporary loss of three-quarters of the extant species, I’m sure nature would fully regenerate in the long run. I also don’t really think the human species will go extinct. We’re just too clever.
But we’re not happy. We’re not settled. And the result is a great deal of sociopathology and psychopathology.
An ecological focus is fully justified. We see a great deal of that in the movement. I think there’s less insight about our modern social disquiet. That explains why my “elevator synopsis” focuses at least as much on the social as on the ecological dimensions.
— — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — — —
Desiring healthier and more satisfying lifeways, we need to downscale, decentralize, and re-localize.
Growth and development have led to modern mass society, within which people are stressed under conditions of instability, rootlessness, and alienation from nature. The current hyper-scales of governments, institutions, and technologies tend to be overwhelming and disorienting.
We’ve lost our bearings as we’ve lost our grounding. We need to, in many respects, get back . . . back to locating our identities in communities rather than institutions; back to living in ecologically appropriate bioregions rather than geopolitically determined nation-states; back to feeling at home again among the flora and fauna of our localities.
Bioregionalism entails a vision for creating socially and ecologically sustainable communities and cultures in harmony with the limits and regenerative powers of the Earth. It encourages us to find guidance in the wisdom of the peoples who thrived by living more lightly and more locally in the original, natural, healthy ways.