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Re: <nettime> Bioregions
John Hopkins on Sat, 15 Jul 2017 19:00:05 +0200 (CEST)


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Re: <nettime> Bioregions


Brian, Jan --

The river basin model is an old and sensible idea that has been suggested before -- one instance I am familiar with, as I now work some with water issues in the US West, was tabled by John Wesley Powell (see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Wesley_Powell for more background) who -- when the arid (technically 'desert') West was being colonized by white settlers -- noted the potential problems relating to water rights among those people (forgetting the fact that there were natives already there with significant experience in dry-land farming and basic sustainable irrigation!).

A chief complication, he saw, came when the land was being carved up into arbitrary geo-political regions (that were mostly political as opposed to being geographic or relating to the geography). He made a simple suggestion that was unfortunately already too late in the game in the late 1860s -- that was to base any/all geo-political boundaries on watershed boundaries, which would at least reduce the complicated problem of water rights to geographically-defined spaces that related directly to the resources itself. At that point in time, water was everything in the West -- there was no oil production, and until the advent of the reciprocating pump, people had to rely on surface water or shallow wells (no more that 15-20 meters). SO, water access was very limited spatially.

Powell's idea was never implemented, so now each geo-political unit fights with every other neighboring unit over water 'rights'. The only exception I know about in the US West is the 'asequia' system that goes back to earlier Hispanic settlements (now around 400 years old)... (http://www.coloradoacequias.org/acequias)

But the problem of the concept of bioregions is that they always seem to be the first step in chopping the environment up into pieces, rather than making the deep acknowledgement that a bio-region is never dis-continuous, nor does it have edges except as delineated by mostly short-sighted human conceptualization. On top of this conceptual problem is the reality of trying to re-organize peoples world-view to see the world differently -- even if you had the perfect indoctrination system, it would take, say, three generations (60 years) minimum to effect a simple, solid shift in awareness.

It is abundantly clear that with all human 'progress' very little 'connection' has been accepted across the natural system. That is, most science research starts by saying there is no connection between things unless proven empirically. I wonder what science would look like if the initial presumption was that everything is connected unless proven not so empirically! Naive, perhaps, but...

Jan wrote:

"i guess one way to look at it would be my immediate environment as the
extension of my body and the bioregion as the extension of the local
environment, inter-bioregions > ... > global > interplanetary etc"

This is the basic (living) systems model that James Greer Miller espoused: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Grier_Miller -- as a way of coping with/understanding scaled complexity and the interconnectedness of 'reality'... It is reductive, but as a general approach provides some mental tools for apprehending holistic systems. Any work that would promote this way of thinking would serve to de-power the typical rigid pigeon-holed approach to seeing the world...

JH

On 12/Jul/17 07:54, Brian Holmes wrote:
Well, the bioregion is definitely not the nation, but it is the outside in you! So maybe outernationalism comes home in bioregions?

I and an Argentinean friend, Alejandro Meitin, tried a true outernationalist collaboration, which is a shared map of our respective river basins. He lives at the mouth of the Paraguay-Parana river, and I live on the divide between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi:

http://ecotopia.today/livingrivers/map.html

http://ecotopia.today/riosvivos/mapa.html

As long as we accept that the human purpose is to accumulate more than your neighbor and the devil take the consequences, well, democracy wil not only remain impossible, but also, the attempt to totally artificialize and mortify the earth will go on toward its predictable conclusion. So anyway, our work was about turning science into sensitivity and competition into collaboration. My part mainly delved into the amazing environmental science that is publicly produced in North America. Alejandro has been doing grassroots campaigns for twenty-five years, and he has the idea that it is not the state and the corporations, but instead, the local inhabitants who maintain the dynamic equilibrium of the territory. Both of us are extremely critical, but not only.

I am actually off for a few days in the woods without internet but glad to see the word bioregions on this list! I am totally curious who might right back. Surely Frederic has something interesting to say about it, and anyone who wants, feel free to contact me with your projects and inventions and tales...

BH

On 07/12/2017 12:45 AM, jan hendrik brueggemeier wrote:
dear nettimers -

i am very curious about and would very much appreciate to hear some
views on the concept of the "bioregion" in the context of this thread
about "outernationalism" (Frédéric).

this is not meant as "the solution" to the humanitarian crisis we are in
(including finding the much needed rallying cry) but more like as a
productive concept to work through...

i guess one way to look at it would be my immediate environment as the
extension of my body and the bioregion as the extension of the local
environment, inter-bioregions > ... > global > interplanetary etc

it is, of course, at this stage more of a scientific concept than a
cultural one.

cheers,
jan

On 12/7/17 12:18, Brian Holmes wrote:
On Tue, Jul 11, 2017 at 5:49 AM, Frederic Neyrat <fneyrat {AT} gmail.com
<mailto:fneyrat {AT} gmail.com>> wrote:

     the question is: how to refuse simultaneously the authoritarian
     Euroland and any sort of nationalism? The only answer is: with a new
     form of internationalism. On which basis? The fact that a human (I
     continue here another nettime conversation) is always more than a
     mere human, that a local place is fortunately more than itself, that
     a political fight contains an "ideological" surplus that connects it
     to other places, etc. We need a narrative able to give a face to
     this surplus, this "more than", and we also - more than anything
     else - need a people of tellers able to produce this Great Narrative.


This is true common sense, the great missing rallying cry from which
everything else can spring.

I see it exactly as you do, Frederic. Everything that inspires me to go
on working and loving and striving in the national context comes from
outside it, whether that "outside" is an inner core of resistant
otherness or a distant solidarity borne on language's wings. The nation
is an irrevocable problem, which I accept as such, because the others
exist and call me beyond it.

What does the tale tell? That someone came from a far-distant place,
maybe just down the road, maybe here in our midst, and said "Your land
is a trash heap and a sorrow and a blight on the face of humanity, like
mine. But we could do better, if we ourselves were otherwise."

I've been hearing that tale, always different and new, for decades. It
continues to make me into whom I was not the day before.

Thanks for that, Brian


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--
++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Dr. John Hopkins, BSc, MFA, PhD
hanging on to the Laramide Orogeny
twitter:  {AT} neoscenes
http://tech-no-mad.net/blog/
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