Understanding your bioregion can be important in finding a deep rooted connection to and appreciation for the place where you live. And looking at conservation, ecosystem restoration and sustainability can also involve bioregional approaches and bioregional organisation.
When we think about where we live in the world, we will often focus on political boundaries, which may often have been rather arbitrarily drawn. We may focus on our nation, our county, or our home town, when talking about where we come from.
Bioregions might be defined by climate, geography, and a whole range of other ecological factors. But they might also be defined by other complexities – history, culture, and societal systems.
Thinking about where we come from by looking at the ecosystems and geography, flora, fauna, traditions, values, food and resources of our area can give us a deeper understanding of our place in the world and the right approach to take when it comes to embracing sustainability in our communities and our personal lives.
Recognising your bioregion can help you find commonality with those around you, and work towards common goals and common ways of thinking. It can help you understand how to plan and plant your land, and also how to co-operate with other people, and live more in harmony with nature.
In trying to live in a more sustainable way, it could be helpful to look beyond or inside national boundaries, and collaborate with others on our local community, and build bridges with other local communities who live in an environment similar to our own. Defining our bioregions and working within those – taking a bioregional approach – could be a good way to start.
I live in East Fife, in Scotland – broadly speaking within a bioregion defined by Celtic broadleaf forests (largely lost in non-recent history), an area with productive farmland, with a strong history in learning and religion, with very strong local food networks and an outward looking history. This is a peninsula sandwiched between two important glacial firths which links us inland via the Rivers Forth and Tay, jutting out into the North Sea.
There are many ways to define bioregions – large and small. But I believe that at least thinking about this topic can help us move forwards towards a more sustainable future.