Year in Review

This piece was originally published in Cascadia Spoke, a community publication dedicated to raising awareness of the Cascadia movement and bioregionalism.

Cascadia on /r/Place

On April 1, 2022, social news site Reddit launched /r/place, their strange, collaborative, combative art project. For four days and nights, several hundred Cascadians worked together to ensure we got an amazing Cascadia flag into the final image.

For those not familiar, /r/Place is a challenge where members of different communities, subreddits, groups, fans of causes or individuals, all band together to create a piece of art on a collaborative canvas. Each user can place one pixel every five minutes. No one knows how long the challenge is going to go, or what twists the developers will throw in, such as, in this version, doubling the canvas size very day and opening up swaths of new areas for people to color in.

Larger communities run rampant. smaller communities try and hold the few pixels they can carve out, and alliances are made with the groups and subreddits around you.

In total, the 2022 rendition of /r/Place tallied more than 943 million screen views, a billion minutes spent in the subreddit per day and four billion minutes spent in /r/Place in total over the four days. The /r/Place subreddit averaged over 10.4 million daily active users.

As probably the world’s largest mandala, after an unannounced fade to white signaling the end of the four day mad dash, our Cascadia Flag survived through our insane tireless pixel blotting and awesome alliances. A huge thank you to everyone, especially on the Discord, who helped make it all happen.

Officially a 501(c)3 Nonprofit!

The Department of Bioregion (DOB) received our 501(c)3 letter of determination on April 20, 2022, which is a significant boon for our programs, projects and ability to provide services. The DOB is an anti-racist, anti-colonial 501(c)3 nonprofit dedicated to placing bioregionalism into mainstream thought as a viable solution to many problems facing our society and planet today. We seek to deepen our understanding and connection to our home places, and grow an interconnected network of bioregions and bioregional movements around North America and the world.

Launched in 2017 as the Cascadia Underground media center to empower voices and marginalized communities, we formed the Department of Bioregion to better connect bioregionalism and Cascadia, support the Cascadia movement, take action-oriented steps toward articulating why bioregionalism matters, and helping other organizers root into place beyond our own bioregion. Our mission is a world of interconnected bioregions and bioregional movements. We do this by building “Departments of Bioregion,” place-based hubs that research, promote, and disseminate information about bioregionalism, community self-determination, and regional self-reliance. Through our projects, publications, speakers and workshops, we encourage local organizations and individuals to find regenerative ways to live within the natural boundaries of bioregions. We believe that people who know and care about the places they live in will work to restore and sustain them.

In the next year we are excited to grow our network of bioregional ambassadors and support projects like the Cascadia Spoke, a Mutual Aid Network and Disaster Corps, and to strengthen our partnerships: with the flag creator to help him make a Flag Trust that protects the symbol, as well as our ongoing partnerships with the Cascadia Association Football Federation and CascadiaNW festival.

Cascadia at the SSEC Conference

The Cascadia Department of Bioregion presented with the People’s Voice on Climate as part of a 90-minute presentation for the 2022 Salish Sea Ecosystem conference on April 26, 2022, which brought more than 2500 policy leaders, advocates, academics and scientists from around the Salish Sea for a week of discussions geared around better stewarding our ecoregion and bioregion.

The panel session was titled “Climate Assemblies: Lessons Learned,” and was part of the opening session. Laura Berry, executive director of the PVOC, presented on direct democracy and the growth of people’s assemblies around the world, followed by Ed Chadd, who talked about the Washington State Climate Assembly, the first in the United States, followed by the DOB presentation, “Biodiversity Knows No Borders: Why bioregional organizing is important for climate change.”

Cascadia Women’s Film Festival

The Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival returned for the first time since COVID, live and in person from May 12-15 in Bellingham, Washington, and online from May 19-30. the multi-day annual film festival celebrates exceptional films directed by women from around the world. Now in its sixth year, it is one of only a handful of festivals currently dedicated to this purpose, and spans all film genres: narrative, live action, animation, documentary, and experimental films of all lengths.

Cascadia Day! May 18

Cascadia Day, May 18…the anniversary of Mt. St. Helens’ eruption. On that day people realized, forcefully, that the earth is alive!

David McCloskey, Cascadia Institute

May 18 is the anniversary of the Mt. St. Helens eruption and was chosen by former Seattle University professor David McCloskey as a day to represent Cascadia because of its visceral reminder of the dynamism of our region. This is a day to raise your Doug flag, wear your Cascadia patch, join or host an event that represents Cascadia, plug in with hundreds of other throughout the bioregion to help make Cascadia Day an annual reality, and to build Cascadia as a positive force for change.

If you can’t join an event on Cascadia Day, think of something distinctly Cascadian you or your friends can do: block parties, potlucks, movie nights, neighborhood cleanups, barbecues, tree plantings, wine tastings, wheat-pasting, pub nights…All can be part of Cascadia Day celebrations, and shared with others to create new narratives for values and causes we believe in. What are other holidays that could generate new Cascadian traditions?

Cascadia PRIDE!

PRIDE Month is celebrated each year to raise awareness and recognize the impact of Cascadian LGBTQIA individuals, organizers and culture. It is held each year in the month of June to honor the 1969 Stonewall riots in Manhattan, New York. For those who don’t need a PRIDE parade—we celebrate the fact that we haven’t had to face decades of marginalization, criminalization, and brutality—and so stand in solidarity and mutual aid with those who have, and still face forced medical treatment, jail time or the death penalty in a majority of countries around the world.

Cascadia NW Festival Equinox

The Cascadia Northwest Arts and Music Festival hosted its first Equinox Gathering from September 16-19, bringing together several hundred people at the Moon Valley Lodge in Sedro Woolley. With support from the Washington Festival Association, ArtsWA, WA Champter of Commerce and Boundary Bay, this was the first in-person gathering since 2020, when COVID forced a long pause. It was a great opportunity to reconnected, imagine and inspire in the runup to 2023. Cascadia NW has been celebrating our beautiful Cascadian culture annually since 2015, with three days of music, art and camping, traditionally held on 300 acres at the Masonic Family Park, near Granite Falls, Washington.

CascadiaNW is a sponsored 501(c)3 nonprofit program of the Cascadia Department of Bioregion.

Bread and Puppets

The circus is coming! The circus came to town!! The Department of Bioregion was proud to host Bread & Puppet Theater as part of a rare cross-country tour on Friday, October 21.

This event was held at the Woodlawn Hall near Green Lake in Seattle and hosted more than 250 people. With performances coast to coast, from New York to Seattle, Los Angeles to New Orleans, the iconic political puppet theater company brought Our Domestic Resurrection Circus: Apocalypse Defiance to over 50 cities and towns. Fifty-two years ago Bread & Puppet Theater performed Our Domestic Resurrection Circus for the first time at Goddard College in Plainfield, VT. Since then, this capacious and provocative title has served as the basis of annual spectacles that generations of audiences have come to rely on for satire and celebration in the face of intolerable circumstances.

The Bread and Puppet Theater is an internationally celebrated company that champions a visually rich, street-theater brand of performance art filled with music, dance and slapstick. Believing that theater is a basic necessity like bread, the company frequently brings its work to the streets for those who may not otherwise go to the theater. Its shows are political and spectacular, with puppets often on stilts, wearing huge masks with expressive faces, singing, dancing and playing music.

Bioregional Summit

The Department of Bioregion presented as part of the Bioregional Regeneration Summit, from October 24 to November 4, which brought organizers together from around the world for an interactive in-person and virtual discussion. Our segment, “Cascadia: Why Bioregional Organizing Matters,” discussed how systemic crises, of both Earth systems and human systems, are pushing humanity into a new relationship with Earth. Bioregioning offers hope that this relationship will be place-centered and regenerative. We discussed the Department of Bioregion in this context: our recent actions, thinking and where to go next.

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