A special lecture on “The Bioregional Basis of Ethics and Urban Sustainability” was given at Dharma Realm Buddhist University (DRBU) on November 6, 2005 by the well-known bioregionalist Peter Berg. His wife Judy Goldhaft also presented a performance entitled ‘Water Web’.
Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft have run the Planet Drum Foundation for years. Peter Berg is author of “Discovering your Life-Place” and “A Green City Program”. Mr. Berg works with ecological city groups in North and South America, Asia and Australia and contributed to the 2005 UN “Green Cities” conference of mayors that produced the Urban Sustainability Accords, the most significant international ecological agreement since the Kyoto Protocols. Peter Berg was invited by DRBU to talk about bioregionalism.
Peter Berg said that environmentalism has been a protest-oriented activity based on attempting to deal with a destructive industrial society whereas bioregionalism puts the emphasis on a “life-place”, the natural place around human beings. He believed that making cities ecologically sustainable will be at the forefront of 21st century issues and described activities that can make this transformation possible.
Some key points that were discussed included the fact that because half of the world’s population is now living in cities, we must learn to survive as an urban species,
Homo sapiens urbanus. For cities to be truly ecological they must be based on local ecology itself. A primary goal for city dwellers will be to restore and maintain bioregional natural systems such as watersheds, soil, and native plants and animals. Cities are presently net consumers of resources and producers of garbage. They must increasingly become producers and reusers of what their residents need to survive.
Judy Goldhaft presented a 25 minute poetry/movement piece called “Water Web” that celebrates water and describes our complex relationship to it.
Peter Berg and Judy Goldhaft were also invited to Stanford University to lecture on the same topic and perform the “Water Web” after their DRBU special lecture and performance.