Bioregionalism is the consciousness or awareness of the interconnectedness of the water-life cycle within a given region. Even in the driest of deserts, a bioregion is defined by its water-life cycle, no matter how short and seemingly sparse a cycle may be. The great water-life cycles are actually the generation and transfer of energy. So each bioregion is a living system of interconnected communities and churning of energy. Tao philosophy ascribes the flow energy in the body and systems to ch’i (or qì), often translated in English as life force. The water-life (within great water-life cycles) is like the ch’i within the biomass of the Earth. It is a flow of energy and, as living beings dependent on these life cycles, it is crucial we sustain, maintain and preserve these cycles in healthy ways. As bioregionalists awakened to the acknowledgment of the importance of these cycles and regions of the Earth, it becomes part of who and what we are. The bioregion permeates the very soul of the awakened inhabitant (i.e. the bioregionalist).
Hence, a bioregionalist is one that advocates for the awakening in consciousness and the protection of the water-life cycle. Bioregionalism is a paradigm shift away from the current paradigm of resource extraction, anthropocentric worldview, domination over, consumerism, “Man vs Nature” division and even patriarchy. Bioregionalism is focused on communities (sociological and ecological), interconnectedness and interdependence. Bioregionalism is a combination of biocentric (life centered), ecocentric (ecosystem centered), kincentric (relationship centered) and/or Gaia-centric (Earth centered) as opposed to anthropocentric (human centered). Bioregionalism is a living celebration of life.
Bioregionalism and in this case specifically Cascadian bioregionalism (or Cascadianism) is the radical shift in our relationship with the Earth and all other living beings and the shift in relationship with each other as humans as well as ultimately a shift in the very relationship with the self.
Bioregionalism becomes an anti-colonial and decolonizing approach by not letting us be the prisoners of imperial cartography, the lines drawn on a map by distant political diplomats and circumstantial events, but instead embraces the diversity of the landscape and its natural flow of energy (water).
Therefore, Cascadia is defined by the water cycles, watersheds, tectonics and biodiversity. Cascadia, the bioregion, extends to the western slopes of the Rockies and then flows back with moisture in the rivers, streams, creeks and runoff back to the Pacific to start the cycle over as rain, snow and ice. The uplifting of the Cascade Range, Olympics and other mountain ranges created an elevated barrier that churns the waters to produce the climates within the bioregion. The Rockies end up being that eastern edge where precipitation that falls on its western slopes flow back to the Pacific. The precipitation that fall on the eastern slopes flow to the Gulf of Mexico and into the Atlantic. Bioregionalism is the awakening to the fact that we as a species do not live in a vacuum, but have a deep interconnectedness to all things and that we exist in a huge dynamic relationship with multiple communities (human and nonhuman).
A vision that is anti-capitalism, anti-imperialism and an end of exploitation of all kinds. This new model is one of horizontal structures, cooperative relations (mutual aid) and resilient communities. It is a decentralized network that branches out like a nervous system throughout a bioregion. This new approach is called a Bioregional Cooperative Commonwealth (BCC).
~ Alexander Baretich