Thursday, February 24, 2005

Neighborhood, Commmunity and Bioregion

Rather than attempting to puzzle out the grand scheme of things, chronological and global in scope, I prefer to concentrate on the local: my neighborhood, my community, my bioregion.

There's nothing I can do about starvation in Africa, even by eating all my peas. I can't do away with old nukes in Novo Sibirsk, stop emissions from coal burning in China or even reduce the number of cars on the roads in North America.

I can, however, choose to live where I am within walking distance of local markets that have food grown on local farms, where I work at a non-polluting job that offers a service to the local community. I can grow as much food as I can in my own gardens. I can live in a house with passive solar heating and low maintenance, that uses little electricity to provide for my simple needs.

I can take part in local politics in my neighborhood and community, providing an understanding of the bioregion where we all live and the place we humans play in the interplay of natural forces and cycles within this region. I can share my understanding with others so that we can all make informed decisions that affect all members of our community and its bioregion.

How will we weather the coming changes at the neighborhood, community and bioregion levels?

Since we have chosen wisely where to live, our requirements for heating are minimal and we don't need air conditioning at all. Temperatures here rarely get below freezing or above 75 degrees. We live within easy walking and biking distance of shops and markets and we have a thriving farmers market during the growing seasons. We are surrounded by agricultural land, which now grows crops mainly for export, and which will, as necessary, grow more and more for local consumption. A thriving local fishing industry provides fresh fish for local residents.

As gas and oil prices rise, we are well situated to work communally to provide for the needs of all our community members. We will work in a federation of other communities to make sure we all have what we need, and we will continue these relationships during the coming challenges.

This is one answer to the coming changes: strong neighborhood, community and bioregional associations based on mutual aid and bioregional organization.

Michael

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