Cascadia Underground Post for March 2023

Megin Watershed Local and Traditional Knowledge; Giving the Land a Voice.

By Sheila Harrington. Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places.

Sheila Harrington explains the importance of fighting the trend towards globalization to instead focus on learning about and protecting our local regions. She offers mapping as a tool for goals ranging from record keeping to future preservation, and differentiates community-created maps from commercial ones, which are missing “the essence of where we live.”

Why Mapping?

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places.

This chapter explores the many ways maps can be a valuable tool for those living in place. Maps can be used for small goals, like passing along knowledge about specific features of small land parcels over time, and large goals, like citizen science and social change. “Bioregional mapping is not so much about learning to be an expert cartographer, it is really about community building.”

Ditidaht Elders’ Oral Histories Preserved

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places.

This piece describes a program to “gather, store, and access cultural information” affecting resource management in the Ditidaht Traditional Territory. Oral histories of tribal elders were recorded and put into a database. People can access recordings of these elders sharing stories or other information linked to a specific place via a media player.

Base Map Techniques And Sources Of Information

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places

Here is a step-by-step guide through the process of map creation, from determining the objective of your map through the finishing touches. It includes the pros and cons of various map types, as well as the materials needed and instructions for making them. Also included are sources for information to use on your map, and various other suggestions and directions for useful map-making.

The Field Survey: Inventory Methods And Features

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places

This chapter gives directions for conducting a field survey to collect detailed information for a map. It includes how the survey should be conducted, types of features that can be surveyed and what specifically should be looked for and recorded, and example maps showing different survey techniques.

An Artist’s Thoughts On Mapping Cherished Places

By Briony Penn. Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places

This is a collection of artistic maps by a variety of artists, first put together for an art exhibition created by the Southern Gulf Island Bioregional Project, “Mapping Cherished Island Places.” As author Briony Penn explains, artists can show what’s not on ordinary maps, which will “generate an empathy and raises awareness about saving these special places.”

Community Maps: Creating A Bioregional Map Atlas

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places

This chapter traces the history of bioregional mapping, and then explains the two tasks required to create one: gathering information and making the maps themselves. The chapter is broken into twelve steps covering the process of both, along with a reminder that bioregional maps “should relate information that inspires action.”

Bioregional Features Menu

Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places

This chapter provides a “menu” of cultural and biophysical features a bioregional map-maker could include. It offers thirty large categories with subcategories within each, while also encouraging map-makers to come up with their own ideas that would work best for their bioregion or map purpose.

Protecting Special Areas: Covenants & Case Study

By Briony Penn. Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places.

Briony Penn defines conservation covenants, heritage conservation, and common law covenants, and explains how each can be used to protect areas of high environmental importance. A case study regarding a proposed subdivision being built over an estuary gives a specific example of using these tools to protect an area that’s vital to sustaining life in the area.


Giving the Land a Voice: Mapping Our Home Places.

This section of reference material includes a glossary of mapping terms and bioregional/biological terms, a sample covenant, resources for map creation, and biographies of the authors.

What Is Bioregionalism?

By Frank Traina. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

In this introductory chapter, Frank Traina provides a broad overview of the concept of bioregionalism, while also acknowledging that it is a concept which is constantly evolving. He traces its history and development (including practices dating to well before the word “bioregionalism” was coined) and explains its core components, including “the virtues of wildness, spirituality, and celebration.” He also shares the resolutions developed by the education committee at North American Bioregional Congress meetings as an example of how bioregional thinking can be applied specifically to education.

Living By Life: Some Bioregional Theory And Practice.

By Jim Dodge. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

This classic essay, originally published in Coevolution Quarterly in 1981, lays out three core components of bioregionalism: “a decentralized, self-determined mode of social organization; a culture predicated upon biological integrities and acting in respectful accord; and a society which honors and abets the spiritual development of its members.” But Dodge also provides a rousing call to action, making it clear that theory alone, without practice to back it up, is not enough.

The Challenge Of Bioregional Education

By Frank Traina. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

Frank Traina focuses in this chapter on the importance of experiences in the natural world (especially unguided ones that allow for self-discovery) early in life as a foundation for later bioregional awareness. He acknowledges that many people in modern times are cut off from the natural world, and the process of unlearning a human-centric worldview required for bioregional educators, but explains how essential this process is: “Awakening the natural mind is the quest of the bioregional perspective.”

Shaping Bioregional Schools

By Gregory Smith. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

Gregory Smith devotes this chapter to the design of school programs that “will foster the integration of students into communities able to meet their social and economic needs.” He presents a probable future in which economic and political conditions have changed so dramatically that traditional schooling methods are no longer adequate as preparation for students and a bioregional alternative is necessary. He also provides examples of some innovative schools already in existence that serve the needs of their students through civic engagement, job training, and more.

Coming Of Age In The Ecozoic Era

By Thomas Berry. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

Thomas Berry here presents his theory that we are moving out of the Cenozoic Era of the last 65 million or so years of history and into the Ecozoic Era, where harmony between humans and the earth is not just possible but necessary. He explains the perspective shifts and new skills that are required for this new era, and why children in particular should participate in and will benefit from these changes.

The Role Of Shaman

By David Abram. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

In this personal essay, David Abram relates his experiences studying the link between magic and folk medicine in Indonesia and Nepal. He describes the essential role of the shaman in these cultures to act as an intermediary between the human and natural worlds, explores the idea of the metamorphosis of the human body after death, and discusses his own “newfound awareness of a more-than-human world.”

Bioregional Education: Knowing Love And Connectedness

By Cub Kahn. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

Cub Kahn provides more tracing of the history of bioregionalism as a concept and a summary of what its defining features are according to different bioregional writers and activists. He argues for bioregional education as “a crash program in Earth wellness” and the need for individual passionate teachers to build this system from the ground up, as well as the necessity of this happening now.

Implications Of Bioregionalism For A Radical Theory Of Education

By C.A. Bowers. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

C.A. Bowers argues in this chapter for radicalism (defined here as a theory that “pushes the starting point back to the most basic issues”) as a guiding principle in bioregional education models. He explores what’s been lost in binary thinking that “declar[es] the absolute supremacy of one aspect of experience and deny[s] its supposed opposite qualities,” including societal privileging of written traditions over oral ones. He also discusses the common modern experiences of alienation and lack of self-understanding, and how a bioregional perspective can serve as an antidote to both.

Bioregional Education: Implications For The Classroom Practitioner

By Sharilyn Calliou. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

Sharilyn Calliou draws on her long experience as a classroom teacher to delve into the nuts and bolts of what bioregional education looks like in practice. She answers questions including where, when, and how bioregional theory can be taught, and acknowledges that fully doing so would require shifting away from textbooks and other traditional modes of teaching. She believes that “bioregionalism is not about merely imparting skills, but about developing conscious philosophical understandings guiding life.”

Educational Technology: A Bioregional Critique

By Brian Hagemann. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

Brian Hagemann pushes back against the idea that technology is always an inherently good sign of progress, particularly in the context of bioregional education. He believes bioregionally-centered educators are in a unique position to critique educational technology. He outlines problems with tech in the classroom, including the mediation of experience and the propagandistic potential of materials distributed by corporations, ultimately concluding that “bioregional educators must seek to reverse the process of alienation that occurs in the classroom, essentially to ‘de-school’ the children and open them up to the world of immediacy, experience, and curiosity that they have been denied.”

Wendell Berry’s Standards For Technological Innovation

By Wendell Berry. Perspectives in Bioregional Education.

This short companion piece to the essay above provides a list of nine requirements for new technology that is truly innovative and responsible.

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