We all live in a Life-place that sits in a particular watershed and houses various types of life. In times past, people intimately inhabited their Life-places and were familiar with the various seasonal variations, the climate or where the good water was. They knew their neighbors–both human and other animals. One of the BEST things we as intelligent beings, imbued with a with healthy enlightened self interest can do to restore the habitability of the planet for ALL life is to fall in love with our Life-places and truly INHABIT them.
Our Life-places are in bioregions. Robert L.Thayer, Jr., in his book entitled Life Place- Bioregional Thought and Practice defines bioregion as: “literally and etymologically as a “life-place”- a unique region definable by natural (rather than political) boundaries with a geographic, climatic, hydrological, and ecological character capable of supporting unique human and non-human living communities. Bioregions can be variously defined by geography of watersheds, similar plant and animal ecosystems, and related landforms (e.g., particular mountain ranges, prairies or coastal zones) and by the unique human cultures that grow from the natural limits and potentials of the region.”
From Thayer’s definition it easy to see that getting to know our Life-place gives us a fascinating chance to learn about many things that make them unique, from geography to anthropology, and will show us what the actual carrying capacity of the land around us is. What waterways exist that can provide clean drinking water, fish, or small scale power generation? Fro example, The Branford River is a short walk from our place here in Connecticut. As a tidal river it harbors many types of marine animals and birds. It is too polluted to harvest shellfish from however. Knowing this, I want to see it clean again so that people, birds, fish, and all aquatic life can life in harmony with their shared environments and make my life style choices accordingly as best I can. What is happening in your watershed? How can it be improved, repaired, and restored?
When we cultivate a real relationship with our Life-places, we will inevitably be drawn to making them thrive. Our awareness then opens us up to the sanctity of all the life that surrounds us. From the soil microbes, who make soil a richly alive entity, to the mega-fauna such as bears or big cats and the aquatic species from plankton to the enormous whales that feed on them, all are seen as sacred and worthy of habitable living conditions and all are connected. New choices that support our Life-places’ needs are made and new ways of being in community open up as we engage our brains and hearts while getting to know a Life-place. Re-inhabit your Life-place and marvel at the richness to be felt from being in that place, with that community, with the LIFE all around you.
May all people learn to re-inhabit and truly love their Life-place. We protect and nurture that which we love. It makes a great deal of sense to me to nurture and love those things which give us all Life.