This site is about living in the place where I reside: Essex’s wonderful Dengie peninsula.
Living-in-place means following the necessities and pleasures of life as they are uniquely presented by a particular site, and evolving ways to ensure long-term occupancy of that site. A society which practises living-in-place keeps a balance with its region of support through links between human lives, other living things, and the processes of the planet — seasons, weather, water cycles — as revealed by the place itself. It is the opposite of a society which “makes a living” through short-term destructive exploitation of land and life. Living-in-place is an age-old way of existence, disrupted in some parts of the world a few millennia ago by the rise of exploitative civilization, and more generally during the past two centuries by the spread of industrial civilization. It is not, however, to be thought of as antagonistic to civilization, in the more humane sense of that word, but may be the only way in which a truly civilized existence can be maintained.
Peter Berg and Raymond Dasmann, ‘Reinhabiting California’, The Ecologist, Vol. 7, No. 10, (December 1977)
In a recent Guardian article, the writer Owen Sheers touches on another part of this with a reflection on a word birthed in the Atlantic archipelago:
The Welsh word cynefin is often translated as “habitat” in English, but in usage it goes deeper than that: an individual’s homeland, their topographical idiolect, the place where they belong. My favourite definition is “a landscape which, as you step into it, feels like arriving at your hearth”.
In our heavily mediated, defiantly globalist ‘flat’ world – thinking, talking and writing about living bioregionally can sometimes seem a fringe idea with little purchase in popular consciousness – faced with this, I remember these words of David Fleming:
Localisation stands, at best, at the limits of practical possibility, but it has the decisive argument in its favour that there will be no alternative.
quoted in Resurgence magazine, issue 236 (June 2006)