The Biosphere and the Bioregion: Essential Writings of Peter Berg, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Biosphere and the Bioregion

Essential Writings of Peter Berg, 1st Edition

Edited by Cheryll Glotfelty, Eve Quesnel


326 pages | 15 B/W Illus.

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Bioregionalism asks us to reimagine ourselves and the places where we live in ecological terms and to harmonize human activities with the natural systems that sustain life. As one of the originators of the concept of bioregionalism, Peter Berg (1937-2011) is a founding figure of contemporary environmental thought.

The Biosphere and the Bioregion: Essential Writings of Peter Berg introduces readers to the biospheric vision and post-environmental genius of Berg. From books and essays to published interviews, this selection of writings represents Berg's bioregional vision and its global, local, urban, and rural applications.

The Biosphere and the Bioregion provides a highly accessible introduction to bioregional philosophy, making Berg's paradigm available as a guiding vision and practical "greenprint" for the twenty-first century.

This valuable compilation lays the groundwork for future research by offering the first-ever comprehensive bibliography of Berg's publications and should be of interest to students and scholars in the interdisciplinary fields of environmental humanities, environment and sustainability studies, as well as political ecology, environmental sociology and anthropology.


"Peter Berg set in motion an entirely new realm of environmental thinking and social action by establishing the bioregionas the best location and scale for sustaining human and non-human life. His pioneering work needs to be broadcast widely, and this book accomplishes that task."

–Robert Thayer, University of California, Davis, USA

"With global initiatives providing only tepid solutions to the problems of environmental destruction and economic insecurity, Berg's empowering vision of how people can live fulfilling lives in the context of local, sustainable communities is more relevant than ever."

–Richard Evanoff, Aoyama Gakuin University, Japan

"Berg’s Pacific-rim vision of reinhabitation is articulated with poetry, verve, and wit. An explorer and advocate of complexity, he speaks alike to ‘densely-creatured food chains’ and to the cultural ecologies of expanding cities. In this guide to one of the best ideas of the past forty years, one also finds a manual for the decades ahead."

Jonathan Skinner, Warwick University, UK

"The Biosphere and the Bioregion is a captivating, stimulating collection of essays drawn from the work of Peter Berg, internationally known bioregional thinker and activist and founder of Planet Drum Foundation. This brilliant selection, interlaced with original tributes from prominent writers and thinkers, brings to the student or general reader many of the most urgent and pressing issues of our time."

–Ann Fisher-Wirth, University of Mississippi, USA

"Peter Berg was a true visionary—a foundational thinker in the fields of bioregionalism and sustainability. Cheryll Glotfelty and Eve Quesnel have produced a careful and engaging introduction to Berg’s important work. This book shows how Berg offers a vivid counterpoint to sanguine representations of the global tilt of contemporary society."

–Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

"Peter Berg reads the land through the soles of his feet, reads watersheds with his heart--yet guides us to re-inhabiting with sensitive practicality. We are now fortunate to have his work gathered in this impressive guidebook."

Laurie Ricou, The University of British Columbia, Canada

"Peter Berg took a stand as an activist, and these essays reflect his unique position in life as one of the first bioregional poets and practitioners for a new millennium. To take a stand for resilience requires that we know when to draw the line in terms of our unsustainable behaviour, join with others to adapt and sustain the cultural values inherent to home place, and forge a new economy that can restore the self-generating capacity of a living community and bioregion."

–Michael Vincent McGinnis, Monterey Institute of International Studies, USA

"Want to make the world a better place? These lively short essays will get you thinking, talking, imagining, and acting to that end."

–SueEllen Campbell, Colorado State University, USA

Table of Contents

Preface: Meeting Peter Berg Eve Quesnel Introduction Cheryll Glotfelty Part 1: Peter Berg's Bioregional Vision1. Reinhabiting California Peter Berg and Raymond Dasmann 2. Globalists versus Planetarians: an Interview of Peter Berg Michael Helm 3. Figures of Regulation: Guides for Re-Balancing Society with the Biosphere 4. A River Runs Through It 5. Bioregions 6. The Post-Environmentalist Directions of Bioregionalism 7. Learning to Partner with a Life-Place Part 2: Transforming Cities from Gray to Green 1. A White Paper on San Francisco's Future and the Natural Interdependence of Pacific People 2. Bioregional and Wild!: An Interview of Peter Berg The New Catalyst A Metamorphosis for Cities: From Gray to Green 3. A San Francisco Native Plant Sidewalk Garden 4. City People: An Interview of Peter Berg Derrick Jensen 5. San Francisco Bioregional Chant 6. San Francisco Proclamation, Peter Berg Day, by the City and County of San Francisco Part 3: Bioregional Travels around the Pacific Rim 1. Walking into the Ring of Fire 2. Guard Fox Watch Takes on the Olympics with Kimiharu To 3. Bioregionalism Comes to Japan: An Interview of Peter Berg Richard Evanoff 4. China's Epic Conflict of Capacities 5. Colors are the Deeds of Light 6. Finding the Future in the Mud 7. Instructions from Mountains and an Island Part 4: Ecological Restoration and Rights in Ecuador 1 . Conservation, Preservation and Restoration in Ecuador 2. How to Biosphere 3. Lagalou: To Get Things Done With Feeling 4. The Core of Eco-tourism 5. "Rights of Nature" in New Ecuador Constitution, 2008 6. Unexpected Benefits of Restoring Biodiversity Part 5: Tributes Saul Yale Barodofsky, Peter Coyote, Jim Dodge, Susan Griffin, David Haenke, Robert Hass, Joanne Kyger, Martin A. Lee, Malcolm Margolin , Duncan McNaughton, Stephanie Mills, Giuseppe Moretti, Clayton Plager-Unger, Kirkpatrick Sale, David Simpson, Gary Snyder, Starhawk, Kimiharu To, Robert Young and Seth Zuckerman Appendix: Strategies for Reinhabiting the Northen California Bioregion

About the Editors

Cheryll Glotfelty is Professor of Literature and Environment at the University of Nevada, Reno, USA. She is co-founder and past president of the Association for the Study of Literature and Environment (ASLE).

Eve Quesnel is a lecturer at Sierra College in California and writes for an independent newspaper in the Lake Tahoe region of California, USA.

About the Series

Routledge Environmental Humanities

From microplastics in the sea to hyper-trends such as global climate change, mega-extinction, and widening social disparities and displacement, we live on a planet undergoing tremendous flux and uncertainty. At the center of this transformation is human culture, both contributing to the state of the world and responding to planetary change. The Routledge Environmental Humanities Series seeks to engage with contemporary environmental challenges through the various lenses of the humanities and to explore foundational issues in environmental justice, multicultural environmentalism, ecofeminism, environmental psychology, environmental materialities and textualities, Traditional Ecological Knowledge, environmental communication and information management, multispecies relationships, and related topics. The series is premised on the notion that the arts, humanities, and social sciences, integrated with the natural sciences, are essential to comprehensive environmental studies.

The environmental humanities are a multidimensional discipline encompassing such fields as anthropology, history, literary and media studies, philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology, and women’s and gender studies; however, the Routledge Environmental Humanities is particularly eager to receive book proposals that explicitly cross traditional disciplinary boundaries, bringing the full force of multiple perspectives to illuminate vexing and profound environmental topics. We favor manuscripts aimed at an international readership and written in a lively and accessible style. Our readers include scholars and students from across the span of environmental studies disciplines and thoughtful citizens and policy makers interested in the human dimensions of environmental change.

Please contact the Editor, Rebecca Brennan ([email protected]), to submit proposals.

Praise for A Cultural History of Climate Change (2016):

A Cultural History of Climate Change shows that the humanities are not simply a late-arriving appendage to Earth System science, to help in the work of translation. These essays offer distinctive insights into how and why humans reason and imagine their ‘weather-worlds’ (Ingold, 2010). We learn about the interpenetration of climate and culture and are prompted to think creatively about different ways in which the idea of climate change can be conceptualised and acted upon beyond merely ‘saving the planet’.

Professor Mike Hulme, King's College London, in Green Letters

Series Editors:

Professor Scott Slovic, University of Idaho, USA

Professor Joni Adamson, Arizona State University, USA

Professor YUKI Masami, Kanazawa University, Japan

Previous editors:

Professor Iain McCalman, University of Sydney Research Fellow in History; Director, Sydney University Environment Institute.

Professor Libby Robin, Fenner School of Environment and Society, Australian National University, Canberra; Guest Professor of Environmental History, Division of History of Science, Technology and Environment, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Sweden.

Dr Paul Warde, Reader in Environmental History, University of Cambridge, UK

Editorial Board

Christina Alt, St Andrews University, UK, Alison Bashford, University of New South Wales, Australia, Peter Coates, University of Bristol, UK, Thom van Dooren, University of New South Wales, Australia, Georgina Endfield, Liverpool UK, Jodi Frawley, University of Western Australia, Andrea Gaynor, The University of Western Australia, Australia, Christina Gerhardt, University of Hawai'i at Mānoa, USA,□Tom Lynch, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, USA, Jennifer Newell, Australian Museum, Sydney, Australia , Simon Pooley, Imperial College London, UK, Sandra Swart, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, Ann Waltner, University of Minnesota, US, Jessica Weir, University of Western Sydney, Australia

International Advisory Board

William Beinart,University of Oxford, UK, Jane Carruthers, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa, Dipesh Chakrabarty, University of Chicago, USA, Paul Holm, Trinity College, Dublin, Republic of Ireland, Shen Hou, Renmin University of China, Beijing, Rob Nixon, Princeton University, USA, Pauline Phemister, Institute of Advanced Studies in the Humanities, University of Edinburgh, UK, Sverker Sörlin, KTH Environmental Humanities Laboratory, Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm, Sweden, Helmuth Trischler, Deutsches Museum, Munich and Co-Director, Rachel Carson Centre, LMU Munich University, Germany, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Yale University, USA, Kirsten Wehner, University of London, UK

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Economic Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Development / Sustainable Development
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Environmental Economics
NATURE / General
NATURE / Ecology
NATURE / Environmental Conservation & Protection
NATURE / Essays
NATURE / Ecosystems & Habitats / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Environmental Policy