A Sense Of Place

Close the elevator doors. Open them. Could be the second floor. Could be the twenty-second. I’ve gotten into a plane in Toronto and got out in Paris. Similar dislocation. Even when we went to the moon, we took air and water with us. In the movie 2001 Dave can’t survive for very long without his air. Frank doesn’t.

Ultimately, the individual dies without some connection to a place. In ‘Places as Inspiration’ Joel Catchlove writes, ‘without a relationship with a place, a culture cannot appreciate and respond to its sustainable ecological limits.’  If it is not sustainable, the culture too dies. He introduces bioregionalism–a ‘powerful’, ‘radical’, and ‘fundamental’ reassessment of our culture’s priorities, which ‘reaches beyond connection with the landscape to reimagine social relationships’, rooted ‘in the practices and traditions of our ancestors and [indigenous peoples] across the world’–and permaculture and place-based education.

The message here is to learn to love the local, to literally ground you, then you will be empowered to think and act globally, rather feel despair and hopelessness. [ewl, 99-100]

Quoting G. A. Smith, Catchlove writes that ‘such immersive education provides opportunities for children to “give back to others in ways that validate their own existence,” while enabling them to become skilled and confident about shaping their own lives that will benefit them and their children and their grandchildren.’ [ewl, 100-101]

Radical, eh?

Returning to low-energy ways might limit elevator use and air travel, but aren’t those just the symptoms of a deeper dislocation? Do we own the land, or does the land own us? Answers such as bioregionalism, permaculture,  and place-based education might be modern interpretations of a global, ancient solution.

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