by Jeffrey Lewis

This piece was originally published in Home! A Bioregional Reader, edited by Van Andruss, Christopher Plant, Judith Plant, and Eleanor Wright, New Society Publishers, copyright 1990.

We need to recognize, I think, that Green values or bioregional values are not something wholly new or limited to native peoples. I know in the black community in my own family history, my roots are in the rural South, and the values that the people that I grew up with in my earliest years were bioregional. Ours was a politics, an economics, a lifestyle of place, and a real respect for the whole community, the community of beings—that was the most fundamental experience I had as a child. I experienced everything as connected, everything was related and you were to respect that and live out of that, and also to be humbled by the limits of what you knew. To recognize your own limitations and therefore to act more cautiously or to be responsible about how you lived in the place that you called home. So I think there’s a whole tradition in our collective history that we’re a part of, that we’re growing out of. I think that’s true too for rural culture in general. It’s a part of Western culture, part of white people’s own history that they need to also understand and reclaim.

Interview by Paul Cienfuegos and Ellen Rainwalker, from North American Bioregional Congress III Proceedings, 1989.

Jeffrey Lewis was involved with the 1986 and 1988 Cascadia Bioregional Congresses and lives in Portland, Oregon, where he works with young children. His interests include grassroots economics and reclaiming the cities. He has been active with the People of Color Committee of the North American Bioregional Congress.

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