Cascadia Underground Posts for August 2023

Nature, Culture, and Community

  • Home! A Bioregional Reader.

This introduction to Part 3 outlines a series of essays focusing on the need for creating new communities and sources of connection, all ultimately returning to the idea that “the promise of community is that we shall get to be ourselves.”

Networking Nature

  • By Lynn Margulis and Dorian Sagan. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

This brief excerpt from Micro-Cosmos pushes back against a couple of deeply embedded assumptions about life on earth. First, the idea of evolution as a linear progression, with humans as the supreme and perfected example, rather than recognizing that “micro-organisms are indispensable to every known living structure.” Second, the idea of life as a neverending bloody battle, when life is in fact built on cooperation and interdependence.

Design Should Follow, Not Oppose, the Laws of Life

  • By Nancy Jack Todd and John Todd. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

The Todds, Nancy Jack and John, provide a view of life starting at the micro and then, step by step, zooming all the way out to macro. They start by exploring the completely self-contained system of a micro-organism, and then the way distinct organisms fused with each other to create new ones, but all along “ancient biological patterns are not abandoned but maintained through vast reaches of time.” They explore larger forms of life like ecosystems and bioregions, and, perhaps most importantly, make the point that “the natural world lives in flux and understands change,” a sharp contrast to the build, destroy, and rebuild cycle of human-created systems like cities.

From a Mechanical to an Ecological Worldview

  • By Nancy Jack Todd and John Todd. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

This piece argues that scientific advances of the 20th century irrevocably altered our conception of the world, and that this change and the resultant “new or renewed awareness of the universe” presents an opportunity for creating something new. This changed world will synthesize knowledge from many different branches, and no longer set scientific and spiritual modes against each other.

Culture Is the Missing Link

  • By Van Andruss and Eleanor Wright. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

In the form of a series of descriptors applied to humanity, this essay traces the rise and fall of human cultures and the need to create new ones. “Small society provides the means to restore ourselves to each other and to Nature.”

Totem Salmon

  • By Freeman House. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

Freeman House explores the impact of North Pacific salmon on landscape, food chain, and the health and culture of people living with them. He describes the First Salmon Ceremony performed by the Yurok, provides statistical proof of the inefficiency of industrial salmon harvesting, and suggests specific actions for locals to protect the salmon and all who depend on them. “Only salmon, as a species, informs us humans, as a species, of the vastness and unity of the North Pacific Ocean and its rim.”

MAGICal Reflections: All Species Representation at the North American Bioregional Congress

  • By David Abram. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

An excerpt from the report of the “species-intermediaries” at NABC III gives tips for developing connection with and empathy for non-human animals while also staying attuned to the voices of humans, “a practice that requires practice.”

How Humans Adapt

  • By Kelly Booth. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

“What is the adaptive unit for human beings?” Kelly Booth answers this question by determining what is and isn’t required for an effective adaptive unit. The essential components are “integration, scale, and sensitivity to a particular place.” Booth gives examples from biology and anthropology, and explains how modern humans can reorganize into a truly adaptive unit again.

Mutual Aid: A Factor of Evolution

  • by Peter Kropotkin. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

A list of examples of ways groups of animals cooperate in nature and how it benefits them.

Home Is Here

  • by Wilfred Pelletier and Ted Poole. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

Wilfred Pelletier presents an alternate view of community, one in which all work is directly related to survival, people operate together with a “community consciousness” for the good of all, and “I’m allowed to just be, and that is the greatest freedom I know.”

Optimum Scale

  • by Kirkpatrick Sale. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

Kirkpatrick Sale argues that all human constructs are guaranteed to fail if they are too large or too small, and concludes that “the optimum scale is bioregional.”

Black Values

  • by Jeffrey Lewis. Home! A Bioregional Reader.

Jeffrey Lewis explains why the values he was raised with growing up in a black community in the rural South are bioregional values.

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