Humanity’s Bioregional Places: Linking Space, Aesthetics, and the Ethics of Reinhabitation

John Charles Ryan

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Originally theorized as a radical environmental movement, bioregionalism connects humanity to the specificities of a place. To establish greater cohesion between environments and cultures, bioregionalism endeavors to integrate societal activities and the nuances of natural spaces known as bioregions. The criticism of bioregionalism, however, pertains to the shortcomings of circumscribing culture within ecological boundaries. In light of its criticism, bioregionalism can strengthen its theoretical basis and its potential for cultural change by engaging critically with space, aesthetics, and ethics. This engagement first involves the recognition of bioregionalism as an ethical possibility based on the fundamental spatial unit of the watershed. A watershed comprises vital regional ecological processes, bearing discrete aesthetic properties and patterns. Through the sensuous possibilities of watersheds, a bioregional aesthetic can be integrated with an ethic of reinhabitation. The relation between space, aesthetics, and ethics gives form to and sustains the experience of place, which is intrinsically related to promoting the awareness of ecological sustainability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-103
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2012
Externally publishedYes

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