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Bioregions - Kirkpatrick Sale and "Dwellers in the Land"

The idea of bioregions is articulated by writer and journalist Kirkpatrick Sale in his seminal work “Dwellers in the Land” which takes the form of a manifesto for bioregional development  Here is a short summary that gives a flavour of this radical approach to sustainability.

"Imagine a world structured around ecological and cultural diversity, rather than national and political parameters. In response to present and impending ecological and economic crises, Kirkpatrick Sale offers a definitive introduction to the unique concept of bioregionalism, an alternative way of organizing society to create smaller scale, more ecologically sound, individually responsive communities with renewable economies and cultures. He emphasizes, among many other factors, the concept of regionalism through natural population division, settlement near and stewardship of watershed areas, and the importance of communal ownership of and responsibility for the land. Dwellers in the Land focuses on the realistic development of these bioregionally focused communities and the places where they are established to create a society that is both ecologically sustainable and satisfying to its inhabitants."


In The Interpreters, a book by the Irish author known as AE, written at the height of the Irish Revolution, there is a passage in which a group of disparate men, all prisoners, sit around discussing what the ideal new world should look like. One of them, the poet Lavelle, argues fervently against the vision put forth by one prisoner, a philosopher, of a global, scientific, cosmopolitan culture. “If all wisdom was acquired without,” he says, “it might be politic to make our culture cosmopolitan. But I believe our best wisdom does not come from without, but arises in the soul and is an emanation of the earth-spirit, a voice speaking directly to us as dwellers in the land.”


Kirkpatrick Sale's Schumacher Lecture on bioregionalism contains many of the formative ideas in "Dwellers in the Land"

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