“Among its many life systems has been the emergence of a peculiar mammal with distinctive cultural abilities — including the innate capacities to redirect evolutionary energies away from other species to feed itself. This is what has enabled humans to degrade landscapes all over the planet and drive the Earth into a pattern of overshoot-and-collapse.
“Paradoxically, this human capacity to alter landscapes at large scales is the very same ability we can use to regenerate the Earth. If we can degrade landscapes as our cultural systems evolve, it is also possible to design our cultural systems so that they become regenerative.
“If we are to transform the human presence on Earth as a process of intentional cultural evolution, we will need to actively and consciously organize ourselves into bioregional economies. Luckily, the seeds of this Great Transition were planted in fertile bioregional soils all over the planet more than 50 years ago.
“Simply visit the Cascadia Bioregion of the Pacific Northwest to see how rich and diverse its “relocalization” efforts truly are. Drop into a Quechua village high in the Peruvian Andes and you will discover they have retained an indigenous life system that functions well in their place. Visit the managers of water systems in Bhutan to see how they have evolved a set of religious institutions that map onto the effective management of their watersheds.
“Go anywhere that humans have lived for extended periods of time and you will discover seeds of bioregional regeneration in the cultural adaptations enabling them to live in that place.”
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Photo: Punakha Dzong, located between two major rivers, Phochhu and Mochhu, Bhutan Credit: Pema Gyamtsho on Unsplash