Happy Cascadia Day! Or Bioregionalism Lives!

This post was originally published on Daily Kos by Stephanie Hampton, and can be found here! Give a like and follow at: Happy Cascadia Day! Or bioregionalism lives!

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The Cascadia Doug flag is a symbol for our landscape and is a direct representation of the bioregion, and for our movement. Designed in 1994 by Portland native Alexander Baretich, the blue of the flag represents the moisture-rich sky above, and the Pacific Ocean, along with the Salish Sea, lakes, and inland waters. Our home is a place of continuous cascading waters flowing from the Pacific to the western slopes of the Rockies and Cascades where water cycles back to the Pacific. The white represents snow and clouds, and the green represents the evergreen forests and fields of the Pacific Northwest. The lone-standing Douglas Fir symbolizes endurance, defiance, and resilience. All these symbols come together to symbolize what being Cascadian is all about. ~ Cascadia Bioregionalism Department

“The Cascadia flag conveys something more tangible than an abstract concept of demarcation of space. It is not a flag of blood nor of the glory of a nation, but a love of the bioregion; our ecological family, natural boundaries & the place in which we live & love.”

– Alexander Baretich

Place has always been central to me which is why I chose geography for my BS. Geography is literally everything. It is the only discipline which combines the hard sciences (meteorology, economics, geology, soil science) with the soft sciences (political science, human geography). For me, it is a special perspective on human life on Earth, literally grounded in the very soil. Humankind writes upon the landscape; however, the land also writes upon humanity. In such a way, Cascadia has written upon my psyche. Her rivers and ocean, her deep ancient woods, her rain and snow, her fertile soil and abundant wildlife including our iconic Salmon are deeply etched in my soul and guide how I feel and how I act upon the Earth.

Cascadia is an idea. A dream. Yet it is also a real movement. Cascadia Department of Bioregion leads off its website with this statement:

We make Cascadia a reality and are building a thriving ecosystem of bioregional movements around the world.

CASCADIA IS A(N);

  1. bioregion defined by the watersheds of the Columbia and Fraser river valleys that stretches from Northern California to south east Alaska and as far east as the Yellowstone Caldera and continental divide. It encompasses most of the states and province of British Columbia, Washington, Oregon and Idaho, and parts of southeast Alaska, Northern California and Western Montana.
  2. inclusive social movement to empower every individual and community to be active around issues they care, and find solidarity and support.
  3. regional identity, rooted in a love of place and stemming from shared experiences, environment, and need, as well as principles and values.
  4. positive vision for a bioregion that is resilient, vibrant and autonomous, that protects the things we find special.

Cascadia: A Movement Ready to Begin

Cascadia is a popular grassroots movement that has inspired the imagination for more than forty years and spans tens of thousands of individuals, businesses and community groups throughout the Cascadia bioregion. The Cascadia movement seeks to further local autonomy, empower individuals and communities to better represent their own needs, and create sustainable local economies through bioregional planning. We encourage people to think bioregionally (and therefore, locally), build community resilience and create new pathways for communication, politics, and interdependence that better represent the social, cultural and political realities of our region.

The flag pictured is one I bought from CascadiaBioregionDepartment.org store which gives a portion of the proceeds to the original artist, Alexander Baretich. You can purchase this flag from many vendors since it is an open source file; however, if you understand and believe the Cascadia principles, you will buy from the department.

Below is a portion of Alexander Baretich’s full statement concerning the flag and banning the use of the flag in hate statements:

The Cascadia Doug flag is also a symbol against hate. The Cascadia movement works to partner with and create a safe space for frontline and traditionally marginalized communities and voices. We reject all forms of hate, prejudice, and believe in an inclusive movement, that shows the beauty of this region, it’speople and our incredible diversity.

We reject racism, hate, fear, sexism, white supremacy, or any type of discrimination based on sexual orientation, religion, personal beliefs or choices, and these stances are reflected at every level. We look forward to building a coalition movement that empowers every person and community, and provides space for indigenous, POC, and traditionally marginalized communities, and of course the millions of amazing Cascadians who live here, to advocate with their own voices, find solidarity and support, and break down boundaries which are harmful and negative.

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Flag created in 2017 to celebrate Pride of Cascadia. Cascadia Bioregion Department.
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Seattle Sounders honor Pride of Cascadia Pride of the Sound.
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