Eastern Region Permaculture Gathering

Screen Shot 2018-08-26 at 15.09.35

Next weekend is the Eastern Region Permaculture Gathering in Norfolk, where I’ll be presenting a workshop on Bioregionalism. I launched Managed Retreat at the first Eastern Region Permaculture Gathering, so in many ways this will be an update on how on my thinking has developed since then. It’s also an opportunity to shine more light on this Dengie Bioregion project and the Confederation of Soviets of the Atlantic Archipelago.

The Gathering takes place in the catchment of the River Bure, part of the Broadland Rivers catchment which also includes another four major rivers: the Ant, Wensum, Yare and Waveney. All of their catchments drain into the tidally dominated area of inland waterways known as the Broads, and finally out to sea through the mouth of the River Yare at Great Yarmouth. The 2014 Catchment plan found that ‘over 90% of rivers still fail to meet European Water Framework Directive targets due to factors including physical modification, water quantity, phosphate, dissolved oxygen and fish populations’ and that ‘at times, some groundwater and river sources exceed drinking water standards for nitrate and pesticides, resulting in the need for expensive treatment and subsequent greenhouse gas emissions as well as increased water bills’ – some clear wicked problems for that watershed.

I’m currently sat planning my session and what I attend to achieve with it. Broadly I think it’s something like this:

AIMS:

  • to give attendees a basic introduction to bioregional thinking and why I think bioregionalism is valuable and important.
  • to foster bioregional thinking in the east of England
  • to gauge interest in forming a regional community of practice.

OUTCOMES:

By the end of the session attendees should be able to:

  • outline the concept of bioregionalism to others
  • formulate a plan for bioregioning in their own ‘life-places’

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Later in September I’m also leading a session on Bioregionalism at the National Permaculture Convergence. My initial pitch for that was:

Confederation of Soviets of the Atlantic Archipelago
Bioregional thinking for these isles. Bioregionalism proposes a pathway to one-planet living based on meeting our needs from within naturally defined areas called bioregions. Most existing bioregional thinking is North American, in this session, we’ll be exploring what bioregionalism might look like in the context of this group of islands sitting off the north-western coast of continental Europe and I’ll be sharing my research into the history of bioregional ideas in the Atlantic Archipelago along with a reflection on the opportunities and challenges ahead. Bring a sense of place!
There’s a clear affinity between the two sessions, in my head the Eastern Gathering is an opportunity for more regional connection and practice while the National Convergence is a bit more theoretical – but these divisions are starting to break down for me. Not least, because I recently participated in a conference call about Bioregionalism with Isabel Carlisle Director of the Bioregional Learning Centre, Andy Goldring – CEO of the Permaculture Association, Ed Tyler, Les Moore and Anthony Melville.

 

I feel simultaneously energised by the swell of activity and a little withdrawn as I attempt to get clarity about what I’m trying to achieve with bioregional thinking on the bigger scale.

I’m off to Norfolk tomorrow and still endlessly reworking what I want to say and what I want to achieve there, all while keeping it interesting and engaging for participants.

 

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