While Cascadia Now! has been around on the web for some time, things have really started to pick up in 2012. People across the bioregion are becoming increasingly disenfranchised by failing governments, a lack of change and the growing number of problems facing us in the 21st century. All of these reasons, and many more, have lead an increasing number of people to start searching for local solutions to bigger problems.
Only a few weeks into the year a post went up on the subreddit r/Cascadia, “Let’s meet up! Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, NorCal! Let’s do something!!! Woo-hoo!!!” And do something we did.
After a few weeks of figuring out logistics our first meeting was scheduled in Seattle for January 28th. One of the participants offered to host our first meeting at his house in the University District. I was a little unsure what to expect. I couldn’t help but think, “Is this going to be 3 or 4 angry hippies out to destroy the federal government? “ “Are we just going to sit around talking about hypothetical’s and never accomplish anything?” “Where are we even going to start?”
It wasn’t long into the meeting that the conversation turned to what I think we all were most curious about, “what are we doing here?” It was amazing to see the amount of enthusiasm in the room as we talked about potential projects and bounced ideas off of each other. Even as people voiced their concerns the groups maintained a respectful dialogue and that’s when I fully realized that I was in the right place.
The first meeting was definitely the most awkward. I know personally I was extremely anxious about entering into a group of people in which I knew nothing about any of them, except they had an interest in Cascadia. It had just hit a point where I was tired of just hearing about it and wanted to make something happen. I’m glad I did.
In order to make sure we had a clear goal that everyone could agree to we enacted a mission statement:
The goal of the Seattle Chapter of the Cascadian Independence Project is to raise awareness of the idea of Cascadia, to increase bioregional independence within our communities socially, politically, economically and environmentally, to further democratic governing principles, civil liberties, digital privacy, human rights and regional sustainability in a respectful and peaceful manner, as well as to network and coordinate with groups with similar goals within the framework of the Cascadian Independence Project.
We then knew what our goals were, we just needed to act on them. The first thing we wanted to tackle in a serious way was networking and coordinating with other groups. There are so many people that want to get involved in some way; however the structure just wasn’t there yet.
In just a few short months groups in Bellingham and Olympia started having meeting. Cascadia Matters out of Bend, OR emerged onto the scene. Flag making parties in Portland are starting to take off. Every week it seems like a new group is popping up.
So as more and more people around Cascadia are getting involved we wanted to have a way for everyone to keep up with what’s happening outside of their immediate area and as such Cascadia Monthly was born. While this publication is editing in Seattle it is by no means strictly controlled by the Seattle Cascadia Project. We want to create a publication where all of these various groups can voice their messages and further coalesce the message of Cascadia.
We’d like to encourage any groups out there to submit material and updates about what they’re doing or anything else pertaining to Cascadia. Also anyone who is interested in joining a group, please don’t hesitate to contact us. We will do everything we can to put you in touch with an organization in your area, or just other people who’ve expressed an interest so you can form your own group. We want to keep this momentum moving and have each and every one of you be a part of it.
Let’s make 2012 the year that everyone becomes familiar with the idea of Cascadia.