Bioregionalism is a movement that is gaining momentum in many Western countries. Bioregionalism is not new – it has been around for millennia, we have a long but distant history of bioregionalism but in Western countries we have moved away from the concept of bioregion to one of globalisation. If we are to live sustainably, it is now time to return to a bioregional lifestyle.
The term ‘bioregionalism’ is difficult to define, with different people having placed different nuances on aspects of the term. In relation to organic food production and consumption the emphasis is on creating sustainable foodsheds (a term coined to define geographic areas in much the same way as a watershed defines a specific area). Although we are not often consciously aware of it, we live in a physical, ecological, historical and cultural area that is unique – its boundaries are often ridgetops rather than administrative or other arbitrary lines on a map.
In general terms bioregionalism refers to living a rooted life ie being aware of the ecology, economy and culture of the place where you live, and making decisions that support and enhance these aspects. We can do this by doing some or all of the following:
- Purchase locally grown organic food
- Purchase products made by companies that are socially and environmentally responsible, and that have outlets close to our home.
- Shop in locally owned shops rather than large chain retailers
- Know, appreciate and support neighbours
- Bank with banks that invest in the local community
- Reduce waste and know where waste goes
- Know where your water comes from and use it sparingly
- Know the human cultures that occupied your area in the past
- Have a direct involvement in your children’s education
- Know how your electricity is produced and use alternative energy sources where possible
- Connect to your food and the people you share meals with – Slow Food