Cascadia, more than anything else, is a movement to help build the inter-dependence, sustainability and resiliency for the Cascadia bioregion. We start from our watersheds, and use the idea of Cascadia as a framework, guided by key principles, to break global issues down to a local level, increase the accountability and transparency of our regional economic and food systems, and move our actions and impacts to where individuals have the greatest say in the issues that affect their lives. Different communities will have different needs, and will be the best suited to confront the issues facing those communities, but by sharing a land base, we will all have common principles, values and concerns that will pull us together.
This powerful idea and movement began at the first Cascadian Bioregional Congress on July 25, 1986 held at Evergreen State College in Olympia and celebrated it’s 30th anniversary in 2016.
As a social, cultural, political and bioregion movement it is the sum of our interpersonal interactions, and in which every person can take responsibility for are own actions, and towards a community based model for watershed governance. Bioregionalism at it’s root is the idea that maybe we should care about whats flowing from upstream of us, and what we ourselves are dumping downstream. Regardless of arbitrary political lines, it will take all of us living along that watershed to make real change happen. Rather than a segmented approach, Bioregionalism creates a model for decentralized placed based movements & hubs, rather than simply a political one in which we send people to a voting box every four years, or wait for someone else to do it for us.
A much more common definition of Cascadia instead seeks simply to help further local autonomy, empower individuals and communities to better represent their own needs, as well as push or environmental and economic responsibility, and increased dynamic, transparent and open governance. The Cascadia movement encourages people to reengage with their local communities, develop local and personal resilience (community gardens, disaster preparedness, etc.), and create alternate lines of regional communication, politics, and interdependence that better represent the social, cultural and political boundaries that define our region.
The term Cascadia was adopted in 1981 by Seattle University professor David McCloskey, as a way to better describe our growing regional identity. McCloskey describes Cascadia as “a land of falling waters.” He notes the blending of the natural integrity and the sociocultural unity that gives Cascadia its character. Definitions of the region’s boundaries vary, but usually include the area between the Cascade Range and the Pacific Ocean, and some part of the Coast Mountains. Other definitions follow the boundaries of existing subnational entities, and usually include the territory of British Columbia, Washington, and Oregon, while others also include parts of California, Idaho, Alaska and Yukon.
Cascadia as a place, an idea and movement has been featured wide range of publications, such as Vice Magazine, USA Today, NPR, the CBC, NYtimes, CNN, Forbes, Portland Monthly, the Seattle Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Oregonian and many others.
On a global scale, Cascadia expands the ideas of bioregionalism, and helps start and supports other watershed movements around the world, each working to make our world more sustainable, democratic and just. This interconnected network of bioregional movements work together, connect people into place, assist each other in hard times, learn lessons and share their own models for what has worked, and build global economic models that improve the world and the well being of those living on it, rather than degrade it.
What does a world look like where people live happily, their needs met and in balance with their environments? What would this society look like? What steps can we take to get us there? With this passport, we invite you to join us as a citizen and inhabitant of our bioregion that spreads these principles and makes this vision a reality.
It is up to Cascadians, each in their own way, to create and promote these changes, and lead the way forward, rather than wait for someone else to do it for us.