Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tennesee to Host Bioregional Conference

For nearly 30 years bioregionalists have been gathering in congresses to envision and develop a realistic, restorative way of life in the bioregions of the Americas. We set our own agendas, operate by consensus and build a common commitment. Grand times and good friendships are only the first fruits. At bioregional congresses, we live in community, concern ourselves with the things that matter, and return home informed and inspired.

We earnestly invite the participation of all, especially those actively employing ecological precepts in the many movements and endeavors necessary for the human species to reinhabit the bioregions of the Americas and of the whole Earth.

The survival of humanity, and of the planet’s bioregions, depends on the advancement of ecologically designed economics and auditing, technology, agriculture and forestry; planning and industry; education, culture and art; philosophy, psychology, and metaphysics; law and justice; health and environmental defense; politics and land tenure. Any and all activists and practitioners in these fields are strongly urged to attend, to share their passions, lore, successes and learning experiences; to find new cohorts while participating in plenary discussions and spontaneous conversations.

If we are to avoid total ecological and social collapse followed by a brutal global monoculture, we need to begin to live by life, to listen to the planet, to learn our places. Home is the ground for honest hope. Only in our life-places can we begin anew, in the timeless way of Earth’s ecologies.

The Congress has served as an invaluable ceremonial village that links each to each across the artificial boundaries of state, province, and nation, sharing stories of place, helping us learn more from one another about how to live for the good of the earth and in the contours of our particular place on the earth.

Participants find vital and enduring transformations that ripple out from their lives into their communities. And the bioregional movement as a whole renews its sense of where it has been, where it is now, and where it needs to go to better address the many injustices happening all over the world, and to better forge strategies to restore and preserve the earth.

Join our online bioregional listserv:

A congress needs some fundamental level of consciousness and knowledge to exist in its participants even before it convenes, since it is a working body made up of fully-participating equals. Besides the obvious fact that a bioregional congress needs an ecological orientation, ecological consciousness brings the same amazing, self-organizing quality to political gatherings and organizations as it does to ecosystems in nature. This is the source of the unique power, spirit, and energy of bioregional congresses.

If you want everyone to come to an event who you can possibly reach through all your mailing lists, TV, radio, and newspaper spots, posters up on the street, with the purpose of educating them through pre-ordained schedules of special speakers and workshops, do a conference instead of a congress. If you have the time, energy, and resources, you may want to do an educative conference first as a fund-raiser and consciousness-raiser before you bring together the working body, the congress.

Following are some content suggestions for the invitation:

* Emphasize that this is a working congress (not a “conference”) requiring each person’s full participation for the full number of days the congress is in session, that those who come late or for one or two days probably won’t be able to figure out or get successfully integrated with what’s going on, and probably won’t get much out of being there.

* Suggest that a basic commitment to ecologically-based and ecologically-responsible solutions to the problems of human society may be necessary to each person’s understanding of and ability to fully and effectively participate in the congress.

* Include that “full participation” also means in food preparation, childcare, cleanup, and all the other basic functions of a temporary community (unless you the organizers intend to furnish all these services through non-participating volunteers or paid help, both of which practices, in my opinion, diminish a congress and usually markedly increase the cost).

* Include a list of organizations to which the invitation has been sent. Hopefully you will have a long and impressive one, broken down by categories indicating the type of organization. If you can get prior confirmation that the organization will be represented at the congress, indicate this by an asterisk or some other code. A good way to build credibility is to solicit congress co-sponsors (and ask for a co-sponsorship donation of money, resources, or help), and then list them in the invitation. All this is a form of “advertising” which also gives the invitee important information about the breadth and depth of what you are trying to bring together, giving strong reinforcement to the feeling that “this is an event that I really don’t want to miss.


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