Bioregional Solutions: Further Reading

The Bioregional Development Group was already well known to many Treehuggers for its work on sustainable housing and community development – see our posts on BedZED, for example, or on their huge One Planet Living communities that are planned on five different continents around the planet. However, this week we’ve been looking at some less well-known aspects of this inspiring organization’s work, including their localized paper recycling ‘laundry’, their decentralized charcoal production network, their TreeStation for urban forestry management, and even their efforts at reviving the lavender-farming heritage of the suburbs of London. There is no doubt then, that the Bioregional vision of sustainability is as broad as it is deep.

But how scalable are the approaches taken by this forward thinking group, and where can folks go to learn more? One of the first places to start might be checking out our interviews with founders Pooran Desai and Sue Riddlestone, or with Greg Searle of One Planet Living North America. Once you’ve done that though, we’d recommend you get into some serious reading, and fortunately Bioregional have an accessible, informative book available that outlines their approach in depth. Written by the aforementioned founders, Pooran Desai and Sue Riddlestone, Bioregional Solutions for Living on One Planet tells the story of many of the above projects, from lavender growing to the building of BedZED, and sets out the ecological footprinting models used to aim for true One Planet Living. While the book is slightly dated now, having been published in 2002, it still offers a wealth of information and inspiration on rethinking the way we supply everyday goods and services. For the more technically minded, Bioregional also offer a selection of toolkits, reports and case studies, some of which can be downloaded directly from their site. And for those who want more hands on experience, the group has also been known to offer training courses and seminars, so keep an eye on their website for more details. For now though, we’ll leave you with this quote from the group’s website as to why they do what they do:

" BioRegional began back in 1992 because we recognised that over-consumption of resources is the major driving force for environmental degradation. We reasoned that if we could produce more of our goods from local resources, especially waste and renewable resources, in an efficient way then we could reduce the impact of the goods and services we use. [...] The organisation was founded as a charity because in developing these new ideas a lot of public education about the issues and research and development needed to be carried out. But we always intend for our projects to be models which could be taken into the mainstream economy, either through the establishment of new companies, as in the case of BioRegional Charcoal and BioRegional MiniMills, or by working in partnership with existing companies, as in the case of BedZED and Local paper for London. The market focused approach complements EU and government policies which have an equally positive impact, as in the case of the Landfill Tax, and we are keen to pass on our experiences to government. But the main difference about BioRegional is that we deliver real-life practical solutions."

While the world is full of exciting and forward thinking groups battling to get green into the mainstream, we believe you’d be hard pushed to find an organization doing better than Bioregional to get a hold on what big-picture sustainability really means. We hope this week’s series of posts has provided inspiration for others to get out there, and to emulate the hard work they are doing. ::The Bioregional Development Group::

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