First Advisor

David Edward Hall

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Science (B.S.) in Arts and Letters and University Honors


Arts & Letters


System theory, Bioregionalism, Environmental policy -- Social aspects, Civil society, Human ecology




Recognizing that ecological collapse is within reach, I draw upon the observations that poorly distributed power dynamics supported through the reinforcement of individualism, hierarchism, reductionism, linear thinking, etc. are some of the basic principles that pose a challenge when it comes to embracing new and very ancient ways of interacting with the rest of living systems (Deloria, 1993; Senge, 1996; Suzuki, 2006; Hall, 2008). There exist “original instructions,” reinforced by recent scientific acknowledgements, that contain guidelines for needed action and interaction to prevent anthropogenic ecological collapse. I utilize storytelling as well as several of the leverage points for systems change suggested by Donella Meadows (1999) in deconstructing the western worldview by teasing out points of departure from an indigenous and often egalitarian* frame of reference. I then compare how more recent developments in systems theory align with shared wisdom from a multitude of indigenous cultures to support a development of bioregional consciousness, or a consciousness that is rooted in place and promotes interdependence, reciprocity and respect. I describe what communication tools I have been given by teachers in the fields of non-violent communication, group process and conflict transformation and explore the ways in which they lead to a bioregional consciousness.

*While it is impossible to tell if all tribal arrangements were egalitarian, there are sufficient living examples of egalitarian and reverse-dominance hierarchical tribal societies as well as oral stories of social organization prior to colonization which support this claim. See Egalitarian Behavior and Reverse Dominance Hierarchy (Boehm, 1993).


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