If the people lead, eventually the leaders will follow.
A bioregion is a continuous geographic area seen in terms of similarities of plant and animal life and climatic and geological characteristics.
A bioregional congress is an assembly of people within a bioregion to collectively develop a body of visions, policies, and plans for enhancing sustainability, self- determiniation, justice, and ecological integrity within the bioregion.
Pacific Cascadia describes the bioregion roughly bounded by the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountains, from southwest Oregon to southwest British Columbia. This region is typified by a moderate and moist climate, evergreen-covered mountains surrounding fertile plains, and salmon-filled streams and rivers flowing down to the sea.
Bioregionalism: A movement for local empowerment and sustainability
Bioregionalism recognizes that the mass institutions of our industrial/consumerist society destroy the earth and disempower the people. The bioregional perspective presents a way of rethinking the full range of human activities and recontructing our lives and institutions along more sustainable, equitable, and locally empowering lines.
A continent-wide movement
Bioregional congresses have been organized in several places throughout North America in the last few years. Every two years, bioregionalists throughout the continent convene a continental congress. The next such congresss will take place in British Columbia in August of this year.
A movement with a history and a future
The first congress for Pacific Cascadia was held in Olympia, Wash., in July 1986. A hundred community activists, planners, and concerned citizens from British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon gathered to create a body of policy spanning a wide range of issues. This year’s congress will build upon the work of the first congress, and lay the groundwork for subsequent ones.
A movement toward wholeness
The bioregional framework can be a powerful unifying and integrating force, enabling new working relationships among single-issue groups and among people of different local communities.
The bioregion provides a common ground — literally — for us to come together in all our diversity. It is a place to stand from which we can can move the world. Join us!
This year’s bioregional congress will weave together several kinds of activities — working committees for developing policy, workshops for building skills, caucuses for peer support, plenary sessions for deliberation by the whole assembly, meetings of local area groups, ritual ceremonies for connecting the deeper parts of ourselves with the earth and with each other, and evening sessions for music, poetry, stories, dancing, and celebration.
Because the congress is designed as an integrated whole, we strongly encourage all participants to arrange to be present from the beginning to the end.
Each participant will choose one committee and stay with it throughout the congress. The committees develop statements of vision, policy resolutions, and plans, using a process of consensus decision-making and building upon previous committee work. The statements are then presented to the entire body of the congress for adoption by consensus. Consensed resolutions will be published in the proceedings of the congress.
Purposes of committee resolutions:
—to clarify our collective vision of how we want to live and what we need to do;
—to provide guidelines for living our own lives in a socially and ecologically responsible manner;
—to focus and coordinate projects and campaigns within the bioregion;
—to create a broad platform of well-articulated positions to offer policy-makers and to push into the political arena.
1. Forestry & Wilderness
2. Food & Agriculture
3. Water & Fish
4. Waste & Recycling
5. Energy & Appropriate Technology
6. Justice & Empowerment
7. Community-based Economics
8. Grassroots Democracy
9. Women/Ecofeminism/Sexual politics
12. Arts & Culture
13. Peace & Nonviolence
14. Health Care
15. Land & Housing
Workshops are designed to help provide the skills needed to move the bioregional agenda forward. A tentative listing of workshops to be offered includes:
Gender-related group dynamics
Media & publicity
Caucuses will provide an opportunity for people of similar backgrounds to meet, to develop solidarity, to network, and to empower themselves to make their voices heard in the bioregional movement and in the congress committees. They will share their experiences of participating in the congress and in the movement with the rest of the assembly, to be published in the congress proceedings. Proposed caucuses are:
People of color
(Of course, some people will fit into more than one category and will need to choose which caucus to participate in)
Bioregional Congress Schedule (tentative)
Thursday April 7
2—5 Facilitator training
5—6 Workshop-leader orientation
7:30 Opening ceremony
Friday April 8
8—? Cultural evening
Saturday April 9
6:30—8 Dinner/Committee reports posted for response
8—? Cultural evening
Sunday April 10
9—10 COMMITTEES/incorporate responses
4:30—5 Closing ceremony
The Breitenbush Retreat Center is located in a beautiful setting in the Cascades about 1 1/2 hours drive from Salem, Ore. It offers a central lodge, heated cabins, vegetarian meals, a sauna, hot springs/tubs, nature walks through old-growth forests, and more. All of this is included in your registration fee. Specificdirections to the center and information about what to bring will be mailed in your pre-conference packet.
Liked it? Take a second to support Quinn Collard on Patreon!