This post is the third in a series exploring ten principles of bioregional living and spotlighting a fellow Cascadian who embodies each principle.

“Respecting and reviving local identity, wisdom and culture; encouraging the involvement of people in shaping their community and creating a new culture of sustainability.”

From: One Living Planet

 

Why are Culture and Community Important in Cascadia?

As members of the Cascadia bioregion, we all share a similar culture. Our bioregion is special as a result of the unique qualities that makes it Cascadia. The mountain ranges that provide us with fresh water and unique fauna, and the ocean coast that brings us vast sea life provides us with a culture that bonds us through natural resources.

These bonds unite us in ways that laws or politics cannot, and these bonds allow us to foster a close-knit community that works together to protect the environment which shapes our culture.

It is imperative to the health and sustainability of our wondrous bioregion that we rally together with others who love the Cascadia bioregion as much as we do. We all know of the many threats that our environment and community faces. By joining others with similar goals and passions, we can magnify the impact of each person. As a community, creating a new culture of sustainability becomes possible.

 

What does this look like?  An example from Cascadian Valerie Edwards, Group Organizer Against Human Trafficking

We had the chance to talk with Valerie Edwards, a fellow Cascadian who has been demonstrating her passion for cultivating a community who care about a common issue. She has organized a group named Sole Survivors who will be pushing each other through the Federal Way Coalition Against Trafficking – Break the Chains 5K.

When asked why Valerie believes community is important, she told us, “with community togetherness any issue that threatens the people from living safe, healthy, peaceful and happy lives can be identified as a group and solutions created. I think we all want safe surroundings.”

 Our bioregion and home is very important. Protecting it from environmental threats requires that we work together. “It brings a sense of urgency that there are issues here, close to you, your family that threatens our safety net, not several hundreds miles away,” Valerie said.

“The community can create a sense of non tolerant issues that threaten the community. If education is available, it helps to create a safer path for the community by ways of expectations, which the ending result would be better lifestyle choices,” she continued.

Valerie has been very passionate about rallying together others who care about the community as well. We were curious as to why she found it imperative to do this 5k hand-in-hand with others instead of doing it alone. She responded with, “I reached out to the community when i realized this is a ‘our community issue.’ It’s local right here in our city. The more people that join, the more financial help the establishment receives for their out-reach, it became very important to me to do something for these children, boys and girls, and women that need help, need education and the feeling they have a safe community to leave that lifestyle with positive support.”

To help others visualize the impact of participating in culture and community, Valerie shared with us previous years impact.  “I looked at how much this fundraiser raised last year. Over $18,000. What a great feeling to know that with the community involvement how many people were reached, how many young lives were saved and turned around…..What a huge success if even it’s just one.”

Stay tuned for the fourth principle of bioregional living: Land Use and Wildlife by Mariah Edwards-Heflin.

Mariah is studying Communications at Seattle University. Her passion is helping others understand how to live a healthy and sustainable lifestyle. She also competes in bodybuilding and powerlifting. She also enjoys reading and meditation on rainy days, and hiking and gardening when the weather permits. Mariah looks forward to learning more about Cascadia and teaching others along the way.