Friday, June 22, 2012

Bioregionalism

Matthew Switzer of the Planet Drum Foundation in San Francisco (Shasta Bioregion) made contact to engage over our bioregional strategy for achieving sustainability in a world without money (outlined in Chapter 11 of Life Without Money). He writes:
Ever since I debated my economics-major college roommate about the paradox of value (aka the diamond-water paradox), and whether someone would ever trade a car for an apple (e.g. when the car owner is starving to death), it hit me that money — exchange value — is nothing more than an abstraction backed by “credit” that fuels the drive to produce, invest, extract and consume, inevitably drawing on the planet's ecologies as resources for this kind of development.
Beyond that, I was always intrigued by the more “anarchist” economic theories that called for the abolition of the wage-system, mutualism and mutual aid, etc. to free us from the wage-slavery in which we commit all sorts of atrocities in the name of a paycheck. Anyway, for the longest time I felt like no one really recognized this as a legitimate concern and even had a book in my head all lined up: "The Declaration of the Free Society for the Abolition of Money." But thanks to your book I can put that off for a while!
A while back Planet Drum Foundation put together a Bioregional Association of North America (BANA) to bring together bioregional groups and restore natural systems, develop sustainable practices, and create a cultural identity based on the nature of one's place. It was dissolved before I began working here, but I believe something like it is critical, and perhaps if it was organized as a moneyless economy, it could really open up volunteer opportunities for restoration projects and growing sustainable trade networks that could shift the economy away from material consumption of cheap plastics to a more healthy culture, eliminating detrimental work for money to survive and move instead towards more self-fulfilling life-styles. Such is the dream I guess, and I think Planet Drum would like to resurrect that project in some way.
Personally, I'd like to incorporate the idea of gift circles and non-monetary transactions as a primary method to halt the flows of capital and destructive practices of industry, and thought it would be a good idea to talk. The founding director of Planet Drum Foundation, Peter Berg, who did much to popularize the bioregional movement, was also part of the Diggers movement in the 60s counterculture in the San Francisco Bay Area that called for what they termed “The inevitable gift economy,” also outlined in “A Modest Proposal,”  so I thought it would be a great idea to start putting something together as part of our 40th anniversary next year.
We'd like to offer the opportunity for those willing to get together and discuss the possibility for a new endeavor to these ends. It’s not against the rules of bioregionalism to help other bioregions, so what kinds of activities or communications are important to include in a global bioregional network? Who knows, maybe we set up a “Federation for the Reinhabitation of Earth’s Ecologies” (FREE), and do everything we can to live up to the name… :)

If interested, please don't hesitate to send a message.

From one bioregion to another,
Matt — PDMembership@gmail.com

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