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LifePlace: Bioregional Thought and Practice [Paperback]

Robert L. Thayer
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Book Description

April 22 2003 BFI Modern Classics
Robert Thayer brings the concepts and promises of the growing bioregional movement to a wide audience in a book that passionately urges us to discover "where we are" as an antidote to our rootless, stressful modern lives. LifePlace is a provocative meditation on bioregionalism and what it means to live, work, eat, and play in relation to naturally, rather than politically, defined areas. In it, Thayer gives a richly textured portrait of his own home, the Putah-Cache watershed in California's Sacramento Valley, demonstrating how bioregionalism can be practiced in everyday life. Written in a lively anecdotal style and expressing a profound love of place, this book is a guide to the personal rewards and the social benefits of reinhabiting the natural world on a local scale.

In LifePlace, Thayer shares what he has learned over the course of thirty years about the Sacramento Valley's geography, minerals, flora, and fauna; its relation to fire, agriculture, and water; and its indigenous peoples, farmers, and artists. He shows how the spirit of bioregionalism springs from learning the history of a place, from participating in its local economy, from living in housing designed in the context of the region. He asks: How can we instill a love of place and knowledge of the local into our education system? How can the economy become more responsive to the ecology of region? This valuable book is also a window onto current writing on bioregionalism, introducing the ideas of its most notable proponents in accessible and highly engaging prose.

At the same time that it gives an entirely new appreciation of California's Central Valley, LifePlace shows how we can move toward a new way of being, thinking, and acting in the world that can lead to a sustainable, harmonious, and more satisfying future.

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"The author asks three existential questions: Who am I? Where am I? What am I supposed to do? LIFEPLACE is a guide to answering the second question, which, in the end, may help us to better address the remaining two."--Scott Davis, "Landscape Architecture"

From the Inside Flap

"A superb blend of thoughtful analysis and delightfully readable prose, LifePlace is both a major contribution to bioregional literature and an excellent guide to sustainable practice."—Daniel Kemmis, author of This Sovereign Land: A New Vision for Governing the West

"LifePlace offers an inspired approach for creating an alternative, more secure future than presently faces us. Thayer's arguments are convincing; his optimism and sense of wonder are contagious. As we finish the book, we are changed by it, and its influence lingers like a time-release capsule. LifePlace is a profound contribution to landscape architecture literature and beyond."—Joan Woodward, author of Waterstained Landscapes: Seeing and Shaping Regionally Distinctive Places

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
It is a clear day in September, and I am sitting by a window in a sparsely filled airliner en route from Portland to Sacramento. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index
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5.0 out of 5 stars Live life close to the earth July 17 2003
Format:Paperback
In a narrative rich with the essence of the Sacramento Valley, Thayer crafts a compelling argument for a life lived closer to the earth. He begins this evocative book--which is part memoir, part lifestyle manual--by describing his home of the last 30 years as "a mail-order spouse whom I would grow to appreciate, then love." Most readers will forgive his reluctant love affair, for Thayer moved to California's monotonous, agricultural valley from the rugged, mountainscape of Boulder, Colorado.
The author, a landscape architecture professor at the University of California, Davis, chronicles his growing connection with and attachment to a place some might find unlovable as an illustration of his point that every area possesses both unique potentials and limitations. He advocates for communities built upon new urbanist principles, art that is framed by region and education that is reflective of place. Drawing from personal experience, he offers a multitude of suggestions on how to reconnect with our immediate surroundings.
He cautions against allowing our local communities to be supplanted by the hegemony of the global economy and champions relocalized trade. He takes exception to large, top-down organizations. "The truth," he writes, "which neither the traditional right nor left wishes to admit, is that broadly enfranchised, local grassroots efforts to identify with and care for natural regions are so powerful, so ultimately democratic, and so basically popular with the American people that they threaten the huge, entrenched political organizations on both sides."
At its core, the book holds that a bioregional orientation is the only way to create true sustainability. Building upon the themes of other authors, such as Paul Hawken, Jane Jacobs and David Orr, Thayer shows readers how a deepened connection to the surrounding natural region can add meaning and texture to our often disconnected, modern lives.
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Amazon.com: 5.0 out of 5 stars  2 reviews
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Live life close to the earth July 17 2003
By Avery Yale Kamila, www.GreenMarketReport.com - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
In a narrative rich with the essence of the Sacramento Valley, Thayer crafts a compelling argument for a life lived closer to the earth. He begins this evocative book--which is part memoir, part lifestyle manual--by describing his home of the last 30 years as "a mail-order spouse whom I would grow to appreciate, then love." Most readers will forgive his reluctant love affair, for Thayer moved to California's monotonous, agricultural valley from the rugged, mountainscape of Boulder, Colorado.
The author, a landscape architecture professor at the University of California, Davis, chronicles his growing connection with and attachment to a place some might find unlovable as an illustration of his point that every area possesses both unique potentials and limitations. He advocates for communities built upon new urbanist principles, art that is framed by region and education that is reflective of place. Drawing from personal experience, he offers a multitude of suggestions on how to reconnect with our immediate surroundings.
He cautions against allowing our local communities to be supplanted by the hegemony of the global economy and champions relocalized trade. He takes exception to large, top-down organizations. "The truth," he writes, "which neither the traditional right nor left wishes to admit, is that broadly enfranchised, local grassroots efforts to identify with and care for natural regions are so powerful, so ultimately democratic, and so basically popular with the American people that they threaten the huge, entrenched political organizations on both sides."
At its core, the book holds that a bioregional orientation is the only way to create true sustainability. Building upon the themes of other authors, such as Paul Hawken, Jane Jacobs and David Orr, Thayer shows readers how a deepened connection to the surrounding natural region can add meaning and texture to our often disconnected, modern lives.
5.0 out of 5 stars Such a good book May 22 2013
By Amanda - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I had to get this for a school book, but I loved it. Thayer's ideas on bioregional practices is very insightful. He writes in a way that you always learn something, but it's easy to read.
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