Bioregionalism asks us to reimagine ourselves and the places where we live in ecological terms and to harmonize human activities with the natural systems that sustain life. As one of the originators of the concept of bioregionalism, Peter Berg (1937-2011) is a founding figure of contemporary environmental thought. As arguably the nation's first post-environmentalist, in the 1970s Berg perceived the negative direction the environmental movement was taking and began to articulate a more positive and pro-active alternative, centred on the concept of bioregions.
The Biosphere and the Bioregion introduces readers to the biospheric vision and post-environmental genius of Berg, with original tributes from sixteen prominent writers and thinkers, whose reflections illuminate facets of Berg's continuing importance and offer fresh angles on bioregionalism. The Biosphere and the Bioregion provides a highly accessible introduction to bioregional philosophy, making Berg's paradigm available as a guiding vision and practical "greenprint" for the twenty-first century. As well as offering hands-on, practical solutions for urban sustainability and habitat restoration, The Biosphere and the Bioregion enters a current debate about whether the global scale of environmental problems requires that we develop a "sense of planet" rather than a "sense of place." Berg's dispatches – from North America, Japan, China, and Ecuador – reveal how each place (bioregion) is a functional part of the life of the planet (biosphere), requiring place-specific ways of harmonizing culture with nature.
From books and essays to published interviews, this selection of writings represents Berg's bioregional vision and its global, local, urban and rural applications. This valuable compilation lays the groundwork for future research by offering the first-ever comprehensive bibliography of Berg's publications and should be of interest to students and scholars in the inter-disciplinary fields of environmental humanities, environment and sustainability studies, as well as political ecology, environmental sociology and anthropology.
"Peter Berg set in motion an entirely new realm of environmental thinking and social action by establishing the bioregionas the best location and scale for sustaining human and non-human life. His pioneering work needs to be broadcast widely, and this book accomplishes that task."
– Robert Thayer, University of California, Davis, USA
"With global initiatives providing only tepid solutions to the problems of environmental destruction and economic insecurity, Berg's empowering vision of how people can live fulfilling lives in the context of local, sustainable communities is more relevant than ever."
– Richard Evanoff, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan
"Berg’s Pacific-rim vision of reinhabitation is articulated with poetry, verve, and wit. An explorer and advocate of complexity, he speaks alike to ‘densely-creatured food chains’ and to the cultural ecologies of expanding cities. In this guide to one of the best ideas of the past forty years, one also finds a manual for the decades ahead."
– Jonathan Skinner, Warwick University, UK
"The Biosphere and the Bioregion is a captivating, stimulating collection of essays drawn from the work of Peter Berg, internationally known bioregional thinker and activist and founder of Planet Drum Foundation. This brilliant selection, interlaced with original tributes from prominent writers and thinkers, brings to the student or general reader many of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time."
– Ann Fisher-Wirth, University of Mississippi, USA
"Peter Berg was a true visionary – a foundational thinker in the fields of bioregionalism and sustainability. Cheryll Glotfelty and Eve Quesnel have produced a careful and engaging introduction to Berg’s important work. This book shows how Berg offers a vivid counterpoint to sanguine representations of the global tilt of contemporary society."
– Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA
"Peter Berg reads the land through the soles of his feet, reads watersheds with his heart--yet guides us to re-inhabiting with sensitive practicality. We are now fortunate to have his work gathered in this impressive guidebook."
– Laurie Ricou, The University of British Columbia, Canada
"Peter Berg took a stand as an activist, and these essays reflect his unique position in life as one of the first bioregional poets and practitioners for a new millennium. To take a stand for resilience requires that we know when to draw the line in terms of our unsustainable behaviour, join with others to adapt and sustain the cultural values inherent to home place, and forge a new economy that can restore the self-generating capacity of a living community and bioregion."
– Michael Vincent McGinnis, Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA
"Want to make the world a better place? These lively short essays will get you thinking, talking, imagining, and acting to that end."
– SueEllen Campbell, Colorado State University, USA
Preface: Meeting Peter Berg Cheryll Glotfelty and Eve Quesnel
Introduction Cheryll Glotfelty and Eve Quesnel
Part 1: Peter Berg's Bioregional Vision
1. The Post-Environmentalist Directions of Bioregionalism
3. Talk about Regional Consciousness to a Globalist and He'll Call you a Feudalist
4. Learning to Partner with a Life-Place
5. A River Runs Through It
6. Globalization, Soft-Shoe Planet-Murder, and Bioregional Philosophy
Part 2: From Gray to Green: Planet Drum's Greenprint for Transforming Cities
1. City People
2. Green City
3. A Metamorphosis for Cities: From Gray to Green
4. A San Francisco Native Plant Sidewalk Garden
5. A White Paper on San Francisco's Future and the Natural Interdependence of Pacific People
Part 3: Bioregional Travels around the Pacific Rim: Peter Berg Visits Japan and China
1. Finding the Future in the Mud
2. Colors Are The Deeds Of Light
3. Instructions From Mountains and an Island
4. Guard Fox Watch Takes on the Olympics
5. China's Epic Conflict of Capacities
Part 4: Ecological Restoration and Rights of Nature: Why Peter Berg Went to Bahia de Caraquez, and What Ecuador Can Teach the World
1 . How to Biosphere
2. Conservation, Preservation and Restoration in Ecuador
3. Lagalou: To Get Things Done With Feeling
4. The Core of Eco-tourism
5. "Rights of Nature" in New Ecuador Constitution, 2008
6. Unexpected Benefits of Restoring Biodiversity
Part 5: Tributes Saul Yale Barodofsky, Peter Coyote, Jim Dodge, Susan Griffin, David Haenke, Robert Hass, Joanne Kyger, Malcolm Margolin , Duncan McNaughton, Stephanie Mills, Giuseppe Moretti, Clayton Plager-Unger, Kirkpatrick Sale, David Simpson, Gary Snyder, Starhawk, Kimiharu To and Seth Zuckerman
1. Peter Berg Day Proclamation
2. A Peter Berg Lifeline
3. Peter Berg Bibliography
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Cheryll Glotfelty is Professor of Literature and Environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA. Eve Quesnel is a journalist and lecturer at Sierra College, California, USA.