Where do you live?
If you were asked this question while away from home, you probably would mention your city or state. If abroad, you would likely mention your nationality or the country in which you live. If you encounter someone from your own city or town, you might talk about your neighborhood, your Kiez or quartier — maybe even your street or building.
Where do you really live?
Something has been missing from the framework: a piece that references and connects us with nature. Your biome. If you do not know about your biome, you are not alone. We could all improve our ecoliteracy (i.e., the “knowledge of the environment necessary for informed decision-making”).
A biome is “a community of plants and animals living together in a certain kind of climate”, also known as a bioclimatic landscape. Do you share yours with water buffalo, i’iwi, monkey beetles, snow leopards, bridled nail-tail wallabies, Atlantic puffins, monarch butterflies, oriental sweetgum or pine oaks?
There are countless ways we can play a role in protecting our environments; instead of allowing grim dystopian narratives to enforce a sort of psychic paralysis vis-à-vis daunting global environmental challenges — we can get our ecoliteracy up to speed, and choose to perceive differently and act locally.
Knowing the details about our biomes and ecosystems allows us to envision specific conservation goals – in the context of our communities, moving past the disheartening discord of climate crisis news reports — moving into local, immediate, and sustainable engagement.
What are current threats to your region’s habitats? What are priority conservation actions where you live? These are essential for getting aligned correctly as individuals and making better decisions.
People and societies must change behaviorally in leaps and bounds in response to complex climate crises, but we require mentality-shifting frameworks and habits in order to do so.
Perhaps now we can imagine ourselves in a new light as we access new layers of meaning in our biomes. As professor and author Karen Bakker recently noted in The Guardian: “with the help of artificial intelligence (AI), researchers are now decoding complex communication in other species.”
In the article, Bakker cites various research, sharing revelations that “bats remember favors and hold grudges, mother bats babble to their babies in ‘motherese’ in a manner similar to humans, flowers flood themselves with nectar in response to the buzz of bees, and sea turtles make more than 200 distinct sounds, [such as the sounds they make] while still in their eggs, before they hatch, to coordinate the moment of their birth.”
Imagine really understanding, and even communicating with the plants and animals in your biome. Sounds like the birth of new communities. Stay tuned.❂
Bakker, K. (2022) The Sounds of Life: How Digital Technology is Bringing Us Closer to the Worlds of Animals and Plants. Princeton University Press
Ecoregions 2017 © Resolve – Find out about your biome and ecoregion and explore further.
McBride, B. B., C. A. Brewer, A. R. Berkowitz, and W. T. Borrie. 2013. Environmental literacy, ecological literacy, ecoliteracy: What do we mean and how did we get here? Ecosphere 4(5):67. http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/ES13-00075.1
One Earth – Bioregions 2020 navigator
Feature photo by Skyler Ewing