issue 171 - May 1987
Everything in its place
Actions taken in one place usually have consequences in another. Chemicals dumped upstream will pollute fisheries downstream. Land purchases by city corporations will evict tenants in the countryside. Building expressways to carry goods and commuters can destroy indigenous communities. Natural wind patterns may even carry acid rain from one country to another. And all the while, artificial political boundaries cut the victims off from the aggressors.
This dislocation between action and effect is one of the targets of 'Bio-regionalism' a philosophy which argues that political and economic boundaries should be redrawn to match natural geographical ones. Production and consumption, wherever possible, should be localized and sustainable so that local people live with the consequences of their actions - both now and in the future.
On these pages we look at two alternatives for one such 'bio-region', a river valley. On the left; the valley is cut by a state line so that pollution upstream cannot be controlled by the community downstream. The production of goods and energy are large-scale and centralized. On the right: the mirror image without the political boundary; a self-governing bio-region committed to its own ecological upkeep. Work places are scattered and energy is produced where it is needed.
Left-hand side of the picture
Right-hand side of picture
Fishing and recreation