I’ve just settled back in West Scotland after an intense couple of weeks in the London area at both the International Permaculture Conference and Convergence.
At the Convergence I gave a presentation on Co-Creating Bioregions. You can see it yourself by looking here. I explained that bioregioning is of interest to Permaculturists for many reasons, including the following:
bioregions are a perfect fit when it comes to designing large-scale systems (I call them “the missing link“)
bioregions exhibit subsidiarity (central authority only performs tasks which cannot be performed at a more local level)
various patterns include bioregions in their structures (see my other posts on the nest, the tree and the net)
During and after the presentation I had many fruitful conversations with delegates who are bioregioning in places as diverse as the U.S.A, Kashmir and Lebanon. Three key things emerged out of these conversations:
United Nations Biosphere Reserves lend themselves well to the bioregional approach. A woman who attended told me about the Shouf Biosphere Reserve in the Lebanon with its beautiful cedar forests.
I also met folk involved in the Galloway and Southern Ayrshire Biosphere Reserve (see previous post) and they are inviting me along to give a talk about the bioregional approach.
Grassroots movements like Transition, Incredible Edible Todmorden, the French AMAP (a regionally based CSA set up) and the Slow Food movement that started in Italy are all examples of how people are enthused and excited about creating local food cultures. Such cultures are absolutely core to the concept of the bioregion and give me great hope that we will one day have a world full of soft bioregional boundaries, not the current, hard, razor-wire boundaries of repressive states.
Bioregional thinking and organisation is reaching an advanced state in both the N.E. and N.W. of the U.S.A. Here bioregions are crossing national boundaries into Canada.