Bioregional Urbanism and Youth


This week we took a big step. We expanded our work to include youth. This is important to us because youth are our future leaders. They will be dealing with increased climate issues, environmental degradation, unequal wealth, and growing populations. We believe they can generate profound solutions, in large part because they have the capacity to think differently about how we work with our planet.

What we did:
We experimented by discussing basic Bioregional Urbanism ideas with a group of teen youth in Cambridge. For each idea, we asked gave a simple explanation and then did a fun hands-on activity to illustrate the concept.
The bioregional ideas include: 1) Bioregion-your life place or life region 2) Urbanism-how we create our world, our places, our homes, our cities 3) Stewardship -understanding and caring for our 7 core resources (water, energy, food, people, biodiversity, land, waste as resource) 4) One Planet living – we have one planet, and we have to share the resources of the planet. Certain people over consume while others don’t get their fair share. How can this change together? 5) Scaled thinking-every action affects all scales from the cell, to the person, to the family, to the neighborhood, to the city, to the bioregion, to the nation, to the planet. 6) Living beings– how do we make our places, our homes, our cities with living beings at the center? 7) Co-create -we have to work together to make our life places better 8) Shared vision and goals-to work together we need shared vision, which includes all of us and is more than any of us.
What we learned: The teens quickly understood these basic principles. They actually guessed many of these ideas, including shared goals. And they remembered them the next day and used them to understand soil science. This illustrated to our team that bioregional ideas may be inherent in us, but this thinking is not supported in our contemporary education. As we work to transform our bioregions, we’re wondering how our education and professional training needs change.