“But what matters most is the aspiration to live in balance with nature, “walk lightly on the land,” treat the earth as a mother. No surprise that to such a morality most industrial processes, work schedules, and products are suspect!” From Ecotopia Chapter 3, Page 32
Since our country was formed, there have been numerous attempts by states, counties, and cities to secede and create their own mostly freedom and conservative-based Utopias. From Pima County wanting to leave Arizona in 2011, Colorado Counties establishing a new state called Northern Colorado, and closer to home, western Idaho/eastern Washington Counties forming the perfect 51st state of Lincoln. No efforts to secede have succeeded, save perhaps one.
In the early 1970’s, a new country was born in the mind of author Ernest Callenbach. This land would encompass northern California and the western portions of Oregon and Washington and would be deemed Ecotopia. Ecotopia describes a break-away state in the Pacific Northwest where the economy is sustainable, eating is local and recycling and public transportation are the norm. The New York Times described Ecotopia as the “Novel That Predicted Portland.”
Portland is a model Ecotopia city in many ways with its light-rail system, plethora of parks, and progressive city and county government. And while our nation “voted” to head in a vastly different direction, the West Coast States re-elected liberal governors and representatives.
However, the current and most likely forever true borders encompass the lands and people east of the Cascade Mountains including Hood River, Klickitat County, Washington, and Harney County, the home of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge. Those communities all went red in the national election. With the power base, population and sway all residing in the state capitals west of the Cascade Mountains, it could be easy to ignore the rural communities of the arid Northwest. If we seek to find ways to expand the Ecotopia culture, we need to visit, interact, communicate and listen with our neighbors from the east. We need to find ways of commonality, of unity and also the harder part of respecting our diversity of views.
The real Ecotopia is a State of Mind, may it become a State of Heart too.