There’s No Place Like Home

There’s No Place Like Home

We are a restless and rootless society, says Kirkpatrick Sale in
The Ecologist, people with migrant souls who don’t
recognize the comforts of home. Nowhere is this more true than in
the United States where one-fifth of the population changes
residence each year. And, the more we move, according to Sale, the
more havoc we wreak upon the land.

‘Mobility, upward and outward,’ he writes, ‘has always been a most
treasured characteristic….Surely, that is why this nation, and
the industrialized system it has spawned, has so little regard for
the natural world. We don’t live on any one part of the land long
enough to know very much about it, and it enters our consciousness
mostly only when we wish to exploit it.’

As a way out of this environmental crisis, Sale proposes
‘bioregionalism,’ a political philosophy where regions–and the way
we live in these regions–are defined by nature, not by

Bioregionalism, writes Sale, ‘is a way of living and thinking which
views the world in terms of the actual contours and lifeforms of
the Earth – measured by the distinct flora and fauna, the climate
and soils, the topology and hydrology, and how all these work

‘It pays respect to these natural ecosystems by seeing them as
coherent and empowered social and political entities as well,
necessarily living by ecological principles of sustainability
dictated by the limits of the land itself.’

In delineating his plan, Sale acknowledges that at times it sounds
a bit too utopian, but what keeps it from being ‘cloudcuckoo land,’
he says, ‘is the fact that it is based not only on the eternal laws
and systems of nature, but on the ways of tribal and ancient
peoples who knew and followed those laws and systems.’
–Anjula Razdan
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