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Regenerate Cascadia Structure
Regenerate Cascadia is a 501(c)3 social movement organization developing a long-term bioregional vision and framework for the regeneration and health of the Cascadia bioregion along the northeast Pacific rim of North America and beyond. Our work brings together regenerative communities, projects, and organizers from many different watersheds and territories to connect work done on the ground with support and resources while imagining new forms of bioregional governance that honor and celebrate our unique stories of place, led by the communities.
Our mission is to:
“To create the conditions for a regenerative culture to thrive”.
We do this work through:
- Regenerate Hubs, responsible for preparing a vision, budget, and portfolio of regenerative projects, communities and stewards within a discrete landscape.
- Regenerate Guilds, which bring together knowledge experts and passionate individuals together across watersheds to create resources that all members need.
- Regenerate Projects which are brought forward by Stewards and work to grow a regenerative culture or support work happening on-the-ground.
- Our Regenerate Cascadia Online Community, which exists to connect individuals, projects and community leaders who are leading the way within the Cascadia Bioregion.
“You are the change you have been waiting for.”
Our goal is to build the infrastructure to administer a regeneration fund on the scale of landscapes, ecoregions, and the Cascadia bioregion as a whole, with a built-in process for transparent and accountable governance, led at each scale by the regenerative communities themselves. At the heart of this work is building a network of trust-based relationships. Thus, this includes support for backbone teams at each scale who hold these relationships, as well as frameworks to support, connect, and map on-the-ground projects that can scaffold a multi-decade process needed for long-term landscape regeneration and regenerative economy.
All of these receive built-in support through our backbone 501(c)3, which provides services and administrative support to create the conditions for a regenerative culture to thrive. We aim to connect organizers, projects, and communities doing the work and see them supported with the tools and resources they need.
Regenerate Cascadia was formed by Brandon Letsinger and Clare Attwell in April 2023 during the first ever Salmon Nation Edge Prize, where their vision to activate a bioregional movement in Cascadia won the Edge Prize for Innovation in Systems and Governance. After months of planning with 100+ local community organizers on both sides of the Canada-US border, they partnered with Joe Brewer and Penny Heiple with the Design School for Regenerating Earth to co-facilitate a month-long Bioregional Activation Tour. They traveled to 14 communities around Cascadia during October 2023, hosting presentations that asked, “How do we regenerate the Cascadia bioregion?”. They met with more than 1000 individuals, including Indigenous knowledge keepers, regenerative leaders, groups, community artists, and elders across Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia through presentations, workshops, site visits, and strategy sessions. This was followed by an online Summit that brought together 50+ presentations in a ‘Festival of What Works’, and concluded with an Open Space Unconference from November 3-12, 2023, where participants cocreated working groups for Regenerate Cascadia. The vision resonated strongly with many communities across the bioregion. Jay Bowen, an elder of the Skagit people who opened the Summit, articulated the following statement in their opening ceremony: “Gathered before us are the most important people in the world. It may be a small group right now, but in a few short years, there’s going to be a long line of people waiting to get involved in this very important movement that is overseeing the welfare of our communities.”
The call to protect our bioregion is not new. In Cascadia, it sits in a broader bioregional movement that has been active since the 1970s and is now inspiring people globally to live in right relationship with the people and places where they live and has been voiced desperately by the First Inhabitants who have called this region home for more than a thousand generations.
This sentiment was articulated by Lansing Scott in 1988 in the proceedings of the second Cascadia Bioregional Congress who declared that:
“A growing number of people are recognizing that to secure the clean air, water, and food that we need to survive healthfully, we have to become guardians of the places where we live. People sense the loss in not knowing our neighbors and natural surroundings and are discovering that the best way to take care of ourselves is to go out and take action for ourselves. When we define our places using the Earth as the frame of reference, taking into account flora, fauna, landforms, climate, and so on, we are talking in terms of bioregions. Can we move from our status of an internal colony of the American and Canadian industrial system, used for resource extraction, technology services, and holiday vacationing, to a more self-reliant and self-determining bioregional community? Can we gain greater control of our common destiny? Can we? Perhaps. But it all depends. It depends on what we do and how we do it. The challenge of change is great. Without a deep and prolonged conversation about what we want to do and the capacities for supporting coordinated strategies for how to move forward, our ability to effect deep and widespread change is stymied. Is there a way to create greater “connective tissue” between various parts of our movement for change to strengthen and nourish one another? Can we interject a clear and comprehensive agenda for change into the stale debate that passes for politics these days? Can we directly steward and care for the land where we live?
These are the questions and challenges that we must face, and it is in that hope that we have gathered, not as an answer, but hopefully, to start a conversation. It is up to Cascadians, each in their way, to create and promote these changes and lead the way forward rather than wait for someone else to do it for us. This document will provide you with a basic overview of what the Regenerate Cascadia is all about and how all of us should conduct ourselves while working together.