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From Watersheds to Mountains, What If We Based Our Borders on Nature?


From Watersheds to Mountains, What If We Based Our Borders on Nature?

Rachel Stoeve

There’s little natural about the boundaries that divide states and countries. They’re often imaginary lines that result from history, conflict, or negotiation. But imagine what the world would look like if borders were set according to ecological and cultural boundaries.


All of West Virginia’s borders follow natural features save for a few short pieces. That has not led to any better management…


For consideration of the human reductionist science perspective vs sentient nature. 2013 talk at Bioneers by Anthropologist Jeremy Narby


The concept of bio-regionalism predates the author’s references, and the name i think of with regard to this concept is Kirkpatrick Sale (Dwellers in the Land)

i think if folks want a better understanding and overview of this concept than is presented in this article, and the force it has exerted throughout history, check out;



Think global, act local, or bioregional, as the case may be -


From the artificial to the natural


I would not be quick to dismiss the value of this piece’s focus on the limitation of scale (geographic and demographic) on governance “Oftentimes, no matter who wins in elections or policy, someone is left out or disenfranchised. Governing ourselves in smaller, naturally-bounded regions might ease those tensions”.

These thoughts are quite reminiscent of Kenneth A. Lockridge’s summation after tracing the evolution of Dedham MA over four generations and one century in A New England Town: The First Hundred Years, Dedham, Massachusetts, 1636-1736. He wrote, and I can only paraphrase, but it’s pretty close to verbatim, One doesn’t want to be a demographic determinist, but it may be that human evolution has led to a limitation on the size of the polity within which humans are able to deal collaboratively with each other.


The parts (acting locally on the basis of bio-regionalism) and the whole (total collective) are not mutually exclusive. Just as Vandana Shiva explains that soil restoration can help to restore the entire web of species, small acts can and do impact the whole. Therefore both perspectives (microcosm & macrocosm) are important.