What is Bioregionalism?

What is Bioregionalism?

Bioregionalism is a cultural, political, and environmental movement that promotes the recognition and use of naturally occuring bioregions as the basis for culturally and economically defined areas. These bioregions consist of areas which share physical and environmental features, such as topographical characteristics, soil type, watershed boundaries, climate, wildlife, and growing seasons. These environmental components directly influence the way in which humans living in the region interact among themselves and with the environment, and serve as the basis for the designation of their unique ecological region. Because these human, animal, and plant communities can only thrive when they work in tandem, this movement stress the importance of good environmental stewardship and sustainability farming practices that allow all lifeforms in the bioregion to live in balance.

Bioregionalism and Environmentalism

Similar in many regards to traditional environmental or ecological ideologies, bioregionalist practices differ in that they are proactive in nature and generally seek to promote a balanced, harmonious, and mutually beneficial relationship between human communities and their environment. Unlike more conventional environmental movements, bioregionalism does not portray human culture and industry as quintessentially destructive and harmful to their local environments, nor does it insist that nature is inherently victimized by human activity. Instead, this system asserts that humanity and its cultural contributions are an important part of nature itself and seeks to help communities build positive, sustainable, and beneficial relationships with their local ecosystems.

Bioregionalists do not typically engage in the protests or demonstrations often ascribed to radical environmentalism, preferring instead to focus on creating the best possible system in which all human, animal, and plant life in the region can thrive. Specifically, bioregionalism does not insist on the segregation of natural environments from human activity, but advocates for the best use of natural resources for all parties involved. Proponents of this philosophy insist that farming does not have to harm or deplete the environment, and that bioregionalist practices should allow farmers to produce ample food while also protecting the landscape and available natural resources for both wildlife and future human generations.

Bioregionalism and Food Systems

Because bioregionalism advocates for thoughtful human stewardship, putting this philosophy into practice often includes the promotion of sustainable farming techniques and the development of local food systems. The interplay between human use and environmental health is paramount; by promoting contentious farming practices, farmers take all necessary measures to keep local ecosystems healthy and functioning. In turn, these healthy ecosystems produce higher quantities of nutritious food items, which makes the farmers economically prosperous and leads to further reinvestment in the bioregion. This cycle benefits all lifeforms involved.

Most importantly for many farmers, bioregionalism advocates for the development and maintenance of local food systems. These local systems are linked intrinsically with the environment of the region, the climate, and the types of food produced. As environmental conditions change in response to degradation and climate change, these local food communities become increasingly important, as they can insulate both human and animal communities from national or international food price volatility, marginalization, food insecurity, and further destruction.

Guest article by Josy O’Donnel

Josy O'donnell bioregionalism

Hi! I am Josy O’Donnel, and I am the creator of Conservation Institute. While completing my bachelors degree, I developed an interest in the study of Earth’s future and the conservation of Earth’s natural resources. Years after, I am still immersed in these subjects. I want to share my passion with an online community of people who are devoted spreading awareness and attention to the most pressing threats to the diversity of life on Earth.


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