Happy Pride, Cascadia

June is Pride month. We use this time to acknowledge the LGBTQ community and honor the memories of those who fought for their right to love and be equal. It’s an important time for all of us to reflect on the sacrifices made for equal rights, to celebrate progress in a freer society, and to recognize there’s still so much more to be done until freedom reigns truly for each of us.

With the advance of gay rights in the United States, Canada, and around the world, Pride month has evolved into more of an excuse to party in recent years. Festivities are important, but they are not and should not be the reason to mark this occasion. It wasn’t the desire to party which caused those at the Stonewall Inn–led by queer and transgender people of color, mind you–to rebel 48 years ago; it was the desire to live free with the same dignity and rights to love as everyone else.

Pride month is supposed to celebrate the spirit of resistance and overcoming prejudice. It’s important to remember and honor that. And, with regard to us here in Cascadia, it’s important we embody this spirit now more than ever.

This is not a blog post to use as an excuse to vent about particular political issues. Beyond the obvious turmoil over intolerance and authoritarianism in the United States, forces of hate are trying to establish themselves right here in Cascadia, on both sides of the US/Canada border. And, if we’re too flippant or complacent, these forces could usurp our movement for a better future.

A small amount of people in Cascadia are allowing their fears to overcome their senses and are arguing for a perverted, segregated, authoritarian vision for our region. They see the world as a battleground for rights and liberties, based on characteristics like race and religion, in a zero-sum game where one segment must win by suppressing the will of the others. They see social progress not for what it is–an expansion of freedom for all–but as a threat to their worldview and, thereby, their very personhood.

I’m not going to link to anything which can give these groups more visibility. Instead, I’ll summarize by saying that some of these people are attempting to use Cascadia as their own platform to advance fear, prejudice, and hatred. They have little influence and won’t succeed in creating a distorted world based on (what can best be described as) white national socialism. But, they can cause real damage by linking themselves to the idea of Cascadia.

Our movement is about openness and diversity. It’s about egalitarianism, love, and living true in and to the region we call home. It’s also a movement which is still in its infancy; it’s small, but growing quickly. The danger posed by these select few is that they can have a disproportionally large voice in playing to people’s fears and causing widespread backlash. If they go unchecked, they could succeed in linking themselves to the idea of Cascadia to the point where it is permanently tarnished and rejected by the very majority of people in this region we want to see become part of this movement.

Most people in this region are not familiar with the idea of Cascadia or the concepts of bioregionalism yet. However, if we are to succeed in growing this movement, we must work ever harder to ensure that it is these values which permeate throughout our speech and deeds. It is vital for each of us, from all parts of the region and (almost) all parts of the political spectrum, to stand up and counter these forces of fear and prejudice. Not in a violent sense, but in a united and forceful one.

What better way to resist than to celebrate and proclaim the very things these forces of prejudice are attempting to fight: diversity, acceptance, freedom, and love.

Pride month is about celebrating the LGBTQ community. As a gay man myself, I very much appreciate this. But Pride month should foremost be about embodying that spirit of resisting hate and working toward a better vision which is good and true. This year, Pride month can and should be about so much more in Cascadia.

Now, more than ever, it’s important for us to do this. Not just as Americans or Canadians, but as Cascadians and human beings. Ultimately, Cascadia isn’t about politics or ideologies; it’s about creating a better future in which all of us here in this region can truly be free to love, live, and pursue happiness. And yes, this future includes those who currently are inclined to concede to their fears and succumb to their prejudices. Hate is a learned behavior; it can be un-learned so that love may prevail.

It is in this spirit you, I, and everyone should go out and celebrate Pride this month. Whether you’re in Seattle, Idaho Falls, Prince George, Eureka, or anywhere in between, make sure you’re a true force of love this month and beyond. Counter hate with the same compassion you wish to see in the world and show everyone what Cascadia is really about.

Happy Pride, Cascadia! Wave that rainbow Doug flag high!

Gay Flag_Cascadia

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

Cascadia & Bioregionalism: A Rejection of Exclusionary Identity Politics

north cascade mountains

Cascadia is not a liberal idea. Cascadia is not a conservative idea. Cascadia is not a capitalist idea. Cascadia is not an anti-capitalist idea. When it comes to political ideology, Cascadia is not a partisan idea. Cascadia is a bioregional idea.

So long as you embrace that Cascadia and being Cascadian is inherently tied to, and a result of, the natural essence of this region itself, then personal political ideology is not a qualifier which either precludes or excludes authenticity to being Cascadian. You can be liberal and be Cascadian. You can be conservative and be Cascadian. You can be libertarian, socialist, anarchist, or almost any other political affinity and be as legitimate of a Cascadian as any other.

I say “almost any other” because there are some elements of political affinities, and a select few ideologies in and of themselves, which fundamentally reject the premise of bioregionalism and, thereby, the very idea of Cascadia. These elements are attributed to a subset of identity politics which argues that auxiliary human characteristics, such as race, ethnicity, religion, or personal political affiliation have essential power in defining a civic community or civic belonging in general. When such elements are embraced, the result is a tendency for groups of persons to form exclusive political alliances based on such characteristics. A given race or ethnicity, for example, is used to preclude or exclude other people from being a member of that community; “we” is exclusive and “the others” don’t belong.

One key component of bioregionalism is recognizing and acknowledging that our societal identity—our shared sense of civic belonging—is shaped from the bioregion itself. Our shared traits and values as one common civic community comes in part from our shared geography, climate, flora, fauna, et cetera. Place shapes identity. This is why the shared culture and values of our region exist as they do and are recognized as they are.

By accepting this, you inherently reject this exclusionary subset of identity politics. By accepting this, you affirm that auxiliary human characteristics do not define who belongs in Cascadia and who doesn’t. Bioregionalism intrinsically affirms that characteristics such as race, ethnicity, religion, or personal political affiliation are irrelevant when defining our common sense of civic belonging. Thereby, when Cascadia is embraced as a bioregional idea, it cannot be limited or preferential to any person or group(s) of people based solely on auxiliary human characteristics. I would argue that any ideology which pushes for Cascadia and the Cascadian identity to be exclusive based on these traits is inherently “un-Cascadian”.

Bioregionalism, in its essence, is an inclusive idea. Anyone from any background can come to Cascadia and “be Cascadian” should they choose to embrace the region and share in the ways which allow society to thrive here. The individual whose ancestors have lived here since time immemorial and the individual with ancestral roots half a world away can both be as equally “Cascadian” as each other. The native-born and the immigrant can both “belong.”

This does not mean everyone who identifies as Cascadian sheds all individuality to think the same things and behave in the same ways. Rejecting the form of identity politics I’m talking about results in any individual, from any ethnic or cultural background, being fully accepted as their true authentic self and being acknowledged as fully equal member of the same civic or national community. Furthermore, the vast array of differences in individuals’ race, ethnicity, cultural background, family history, religious beliefs, political affiliations, and so forth are not cause for any to claim differentiation in civic or national identity.

Using myself as an example: I, as a white male with western European ancestry who identifies as Cascadian, must fully accept the immigrant born in South America, and the black woman whose ancestors were brought to this continent as slaves, and the First Nation member whose ancestors have been buried here for 50 generations, and the gender non-conforming person, and the devout Muslim who worships five times per day, and the white man whose political beliefs are very different from my own, and all other Cascadians as being as legitimately Cascadian as myself. We are all Cascadians because we call this region home.

There’s one clarification I want to make to avoid confusion around this “hot button” term: not all forms of identity politics are inherently bad. For example, when individuals of a specific marginalized community are treated unjustly and unequally, because of a given auxiliary characteristic (i.e. skin color), by society, or when society tolerates their mistreatment by other individuals-at-large, then forming a political alliance based on such a trait to empower members of this community and arguing for their equal treatment can be a positive form of identity politics. There’s a difference between using identity politics to empower those oppressed and using identity politics to define and exclude communities; my argument is solely against the latter.

The goal of all those in the Cascadian movement should be to reject exclusionary identity politics and affirm Cascadia is open to all. If we are to succeed in affirming bioregionalism and establishing Cascadian unity, to quote a paragraph in my book, Towards Cascadia:

“[The Cascadia movement] will not be based in ideology or focused on the exclusion of others. It will be based on affirming the reality of our regional ethos and including everyone in this region. Radical acceptance of different viewpoints will be needed in order for this movement to grow and succeed…Even if someone does not realize it yet, anyone living in this region has the potential to embody the Cascadian ethos and identify as Cascadian, through and through. A movement that tries to promote only a ‘certain type’ of Cascadian or exclude those who ‘aren’t Cascadian enough’ will maintain division in this region and play favor to the status quo.” –Page 173

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

Cascadia, Where Do We Go From Here?

cascadia flags, womens march, anti-trump protest

I was trying to think of something both concise and comprehensive enough to demonstrate how I’m feeling this morning. Then, I realized I had already written it:

“We in Cascadia have reached a crucial point in history for our society. Most of us haven’t realized just how crucial it really is or why it is, but we most certainly feel—at least subliminally—that we have reached a point of no return. Something monumental needs to change; our systems of governance, discourse, and decision making on a societal level, on both sides of the international border, cannot continue existing in their current manifestations with their current demeanor…This goes beyond problems with democratic process or bureaucracy. Our “national” identities as Americans and Canadians have become irreversibly flawed and incompatible with Cascadia. Our collective liberties as Cascadians are being suppressed, leaving our region out of balance. Our ability to bring ourselves back into balance is thwarted as a result of non-Cascadian influences dominating federal priorities. Our systems of government, as a consequence, are inadequate to meet our needs. Treating the symptoms of our flawed bodies of governance may temporarily and superficially take care of what we think is ailing our status quo. But no matter how many elections we have in the near future, they will not fix the fundamental issues plaguing Cascadia.” –Towards Cascadia (pages 122-123)

The quote above is taken from my book, Towards Cascadia. I wrote that paragraph more than 3 years ago. Both the United States and Canada had different leaders at the helm of their respective federal governments. Yet, that statement feels truer now than ever before. Perhaps you feel the same way this morning (particularly if you’re on the American side of the international border)?

President Trump has issued an executive order authorizing the federal government to ban and/or detain foreigners traveling to the United States if they originate from a select list of countries, all majority-Muslim. He is proving he’s more focused on pleasing the most hardcore of his supporters than working with Congress to actually solve the economic problems which motivated most of his voters to go to the polls last November.

President Trump has also issued an executive order approving both the Dakota Access and Keystone XL oil pipeline projects. Furthermore, Prime Minister Trudeau has applauded the President’s decision on approving the Keystone XL pipeline specifically, as it will transport more tar sands oil from Alberta to Texas. This only contributes further to the global climate crisis we desperately need to fight against.

Prime Minister Trudeau has also authorized the construction of the Trans Mountain pipeline from Edmonton, AB to Burnaby, BC, through hundreds of miles of Cascadian territory. This decision not only flew in the face of some First Nation organizations, it also increases the risk of permanent damage to the Salish Sea (impacting the Puget Sound). While I personally applaud him for other initiatives he’s led and yesterday’s statement supporting refugees rejected by the United States, some of the actions taken by his government do nothing to alleviate my feeling that we, as I put it above, “have reached a point of no return.”

There will be many more actions taken by both the United States and Canada which either negatively impact Cascadia or are at least opposed by a majority of Cascadians. This will be true this year, 4 years from now, 10 years from now, and so forth. In this regard, it matters little who is leading our respective federal governments or which political parties are in charge of making decisions. No matter how many federal elections come to pass, the divide between Cascadia and the rest of the United States and Canada will continue to steadily grow. Our respective federal priorities are dominated by more powerful and more populated regions outside of Cascadia; this status quo will never change.

If you feel the same uneasiness I do, regardless of how you voted in your country’s last election or what your personal political ideology is, I encourage you to stop looking east for answers to the most pressing civic issues which we face today. Start looking toward your neighbors and your bioregion. Only together, united as one and independent from the burdens pressed upon us directly from our existing federal institutions, will we be able to make progress and truly be free.

A united and independent Cascadia is a ways off (and yes, to the naysayers, it is realistically and legally possible). But, in the meantime, what can you do right now? You can:

  • Share your thoughts about Cascadia with family and friends
  • Travel Cascadia and experience places on both sides of the border you haven’t been to before
  • Become a part of communities and organizations (online and/or in-person) that support Cascadia peacefully and lawfully
  • Advocate for policy proposals which benefit our region and our society
  • Voice your support or opposition to public officials concerning pressing matters
  • Boycott organizations which actively work against our interests as Cascadians

In essence, take it upon yourself to learn more and get involved. Whether you’re already a Cascadia supporter or this is the first time you’re reading anything about it, I encourage you to keep exploring this notion for yourself. You don’t have to be the activist or community organizing type of person to make a difference. But, if you’re not willing to work for your (and Cascadia’s) future, no one else will either.

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

The Cascadia Independence Movement Must Be Greater Than Politics

douglas fir tree cascadia, cascadia doug flag nature

Since the Presidential election last Tuesday, intrigue in the idea of Cascadia has spiked. Predictably, much of this spike in interest originates from partisan political frustration rather than a general interest in the existing movement or its keystone principles. As I wrote last week, no significant change is likely to come as a direct result of this phenomenon, nor should we expect it to.

As predictable as this spike in interest has been, so too have the common reactions from the majority of people who’ve never heard of Cascadia before. The theme of such feedback can be summed up as follows: the idea of Cascadia is foolish and worthless because liberals and conservatives in different areas of the region would, of course, never be able to form a consensus with one another, let alone that any actual attempt to secede would result in conflict and disaster.

Setting aside the logistics of secession for now (which is an entirely different discussion for another day), this type of kneejerk reaction falls into the same trap as some of the politically-motivated advocacy has been for a one-sided, left-wing separatist movement calling for the states of California, Washington, and Oregon to secede (Pacifica); because certain states and/or counties voted Democrat and lost means they’re no longer compatible with those that voted Republican. I have just one rhetorical question in response to this argumentative framework: since when did any single partisan political ideology or party become the foundation for nationhood? Spoiler alert: it never has.

Making a single partisan affiliation the bedrock of any national movement is utterly foolish and destined to fail spectacularly. By doing so, there’s no stopping how narrow or rigid that ideology can get before it continues splintering groups of people which would (and should) otherwise be united. Eventually, you get to a point where the parameters of any given ideology are so exclusive that they allow for only a small subset of individuals. Anywhere you go, be it a country, a state, a city, or even a neighborhood; you’ll find a spectrum of politics that spreads beyond any single ideology.

This is why I want to emphasize how pivotal it is to recognize Cascadia, the Cascadian identity, and the Cascadian independence movement as being far greater than politics. Just as the identities of “American” and “Canadian” convey national values, sentiments, and affinities far beyond partisan politics, so too must “Cascadian.” This means we must reject those naïve and ill-fated attempts to equate Cascadia with any given partisan political ideology or group.

The Cascadian identity and the movement supporting it must be about our societal common bonds which originate from our bioregion. Our common bonds as a society do not come from the colors of our skin. Nor do they come from the locations of our birth. Nor do they come from the bloodlines of our ancestors. Nor do they come from the holy spaces we worship in. Nor, especially, do they come from the personal political ideologies we subscribe to as individuals.

We must acknowledge the fact that we are different from the rest of Canada and the United States because our bioregion is separate and unique. We must embrace the possibility that we are able to unite as one because our bioregion is one. We must look past existing political borders and colors on maps and accept the natural boundaries God has given us. We must rally around the rivers, mountains, forests, and climate Mother Nature has provided us in our bioregion. Only then can Cascadia be a big and bold idea that persons of different partisan affiliations can embrace.

I cannot speak for anyone else, but I want to stake my claim here:

Whether you reside in Canada or the United States;

Whether you live east or west of the Cascade mountain range;

Whether or not you voted for Justin Trudeau’s Liberals last autumn;

Whether or not you voted for Donald Trump last week;

If you cherish our bioregion and acknowledge that our foundational bonds as a society come from it, then I stand with you.

This is what identifying as Cascadian should mean. Even if all we ever achieve is tangible unity in a cultural sense, growing this movement into a national force will require patience and radical acceptance. We must reach out to and accept our neighbors of many different persuasions if we’re truly committed to this movement and the goal of a united Cascadia. By doing so, we reject fear and cynicism.

Many will mock our efforts and some may even claim them to be treasonous. We know that supporting and advocating for Cascadia is not treachery. Much like Quebec nationalists are loyal Canadians and Scottish nationalists are loyal Britons, both groups even being members of their respective country’s Parliaments, we Cascadians are loyal Americans and/or Canadians who embrace a different national identity which is good and true. Without shredding or diminishing our loyalties to our fellow citizens, or skirting our obligations as citizens of our countries as they exist today, we choose to build the foundations for a strong and united Cascadia which may one day be politically free and independent.

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

What the 2016 Election Means for Cascadia

donald trump protest seattle election 2016

The 2016 election in the United States has resulted in President-elect Donald Trump, who won the Electoral College even though more actual people voted for Hillary Clinton. I highlight this only to emphasize that, for the 2nd time in 16 years, a candidate with more popular support has lost the electoral vote needed to become President. After this latest example of how the American voting model has stymied democratic fidelity, protests have erupted in several cities across the country. In Cascadia, these protests have taken center stage in Portland and Seattle as frustrated citizens vent their anger toward a result they see as unconscionable.

While the bulk of the protesting here has taken place in western Cascadia, smaller protests have occurred in eastern Cascadia as well, such as the one in Boise just last night. That’s not to say all of Cascadia is entirely displeased with the result of this election. Many counties in Oregon and Washington voted at least a plurality for the Republican nominee. In Idaho, nearly 60% of voters did the same. It would be easy to look at these numbers and conclude that these protests are due to nothing more than partisan affinities. But there remains a strong sensation of unease and incompatibility across Cascadia right now, even among some people who voted for Donald Trump out of frustration with the entire federal system emanating from the District of Columbia.

This may help explain the expressions of frustrated Cascadians wanting to separate themselves from the United States entirely, no longer wanting a few thousand voters in Florida or Ohio every year determining the fate of the country and Cascadia’s future. #CascadiaExit has popped up on Twitter (I’m only disappointed that there wasn’t a more clever pun like “Brexit”). A ballot initiative in Oregon to secede from the union has begun collecting signatures. These types of expressions happen all the time after divisive elections. Remember Texas talking about secession four years ago after President Obama was re-elected? How about Canadians from Manitoba to BC calling for a separate confederation of Western Canada after the Liberal Party’s victory last autumn?

Nothing concrete ever comes as a direct result of these types of expressions. Nothing concrete will likely come about this time either. This shouldn’t surprise anyone. A political initiative born primarily out of the heightened level of anger over a temporary political event doesn’t tend to last much longer than it takes for such anger to decrease naturally with time. Upholding that level of passion is just not sustainable.

No, we won’t swiftly and peacefully secede in some wonderful revolution which magically unites all of Cascadia as one. However, this does not mean we don’t have an opportunity as Cascadians to capitalize on this event.

Interest in the idea of Cascadia has skyrocketed in the last 2 days. I can affirm the visits to this site alone have quintupled on average since Tuesday with no extra marketing or publicity efforts that usual. We have a remarkable opportunity, right now, to introduce our movement to many newcomers and get them invested in the idea of Cascadia as a long-term goal. Not everyone will agree with every single point risen, which is perfectly alright. But the political and social environment to spread our ideas and talk to our fellow Cascadians, who aren’t yet aware of Cascadia, has never been more optimal. This is how strong movements grow organically in the early stages.

It is important, however, to not give up on the foundations of our movement and give into a desire for political expediency. Support for Cascadia should not be built off of reactionary politics or a narrow ideology. We must re-affirm that Cascadia as a civic identity is grounded in bioregionalism, without which “Cascadia” is nothing more than a trendy, unremarkable, American-centered phenomenon which quickly dies out over the next month or two. “Cascadian” must remain just as strong, if not stronger, of an apolitical identity as it is a political identity if we’re ever to have a chance in the future to establish the world we wish to thrive in. Just as “American” and “Canadian” convey so much more than politics and partisan affiliations, so too must “Cascadian.”

If we’re serious about Cascadian unity and growing this movement the right way, it will be a slow and arduous process. The growth of awareness will be slow but steady; newcomers’ full embracement of the movement will be the same. But, over time, a strong movement will be able to assert itself in the civic sphere of influence in Cascadia without being easily laughed off or ridiculed.

Our goal right now in this sphere of influence is to solidify a multi-partisan foundation in support of Cascadia on both the American and Canadian sides: liberal, conservative, socialist, libertarian, et cetera. The message of our movement is and will continue to be that we are fundamentally one people united and shaped by our unique region, separate from the rest of Canada and the United States. No matter who wins the next set of elections in either country or how many elections come to pass, we will forever be in a state of subordination, unable to truly thrive as we were meant to by our very nature, because of undue influence from other regions in our two countries.

We can and must unite and grow together under the one common goal; that we ought to truly be free and able to thrive as Cascadians. The rest is just noise.

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

Towards Cascadia Now Available in Paperback

Towards Cascadia Book Cover

When I published my book, Towards Cascadia, in Ebook format last fall, the number one piece of feedback I received was the desire for a physical book. There’s something about the printed word that will never be overshadowed by technology. After several months of coordination, formatting, and final tweaks, I’m pleased to announce that Towards Cascadia is now available in paperback.

The book itself is about the Pacific Northwest, why its society is set apart from the rest of North America, and how to achieve a new vision for the future. It explores notions of societal identity, bioregionalism, freedom, politics, and more as they pertain to Cascadia.

Ever wonder why living in, and being a part of, the Pacific Northwest truly feels different than living in any other part of the United States or Canada?

Ever wonder why you can travel from Oregon or Washington to British Columbia (or vice versa) and feel very much at home, while traveling to another region in your own country feels foreign and unfamiliar?

Ever wonder why political dysfunction or disunity within the United States or Canada feels more potent and more regionally-based than ever before in modern history?

Every wonder how Cascadia could unite and even possibly become independent from Canada and the United States without becoming hostile or starting a war?

Ever wish that a new beginning was actually possible and attainable, but you just don’t know where to start?

I asked myself these same questions. After more than 3 years of exploring these ideas, reading books and essays from fellow Cascadians, and challenging my own pre-existing worldview, I did my best to produce a cogent argument for Cascadia which could reach most in this region, including the majority of people who have never heard of Cascadia before. And now, it’s available for you to read in an actual physical book.

If you’re interested, you can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

Cascadia: The Thin Green Line

Reverence of our lands, mountains, rivers, forests, and seas is in our civic DNA as Cascadians. They sustain us and give us our sense of shared identity. We get to wake up each morning and veer out to the mountain peaks in the distance knowing we’re privileged to live in a special place. We’re inspired by temperate sunny days and gray rainy skies alike. We thrive in the evergreen forests, in the high desert, on the banks of the river gorge, on the plateaus and in the valleys.

It should come as no surprise then that sustainability and conservation are pillars of our shared civic religion as Cascadians. Regardless of political party or location, there’s a significant and noticeable bias toward protecting our wondrous home region:

  • Oregon enacted the first of its kind bottle recycling law in the US more than 40 years ago to reduce pollution.
  • British Columbia leads Canada with a carbon tax policy that has drastically reduced greenhouse gas emissions per capita since its implementation in 2008.
  • Oregon, Washington, and Idaho consistently rank in the top 10 in terms of states which have lowest carbon dioxide emissions per capita.
  • Idaho has led the US in percent of electricity produced from renewable sources in recent years.

Despite these examples, Cascadia stands at a crossroads—both metaphorically and literally—when it comes to the integrity of our home region. Right now, there are oil pipelines, fossil fuel trains, and export facilities transporting dangerous and dirty fuel sources from the Prairies to the Pacific through Cascadia, all so large energy corporations can sell to markets in Asia. Furthermore, there are several similar projects being pushed for expansion right now by these same companies.

The existing fossil fuel infrastructure already puts us at risk of permanent damage to our home and our livelihood; expansion would increase these risks exponentially. Many of our region’s inhabitants are understandably angry at this prospect and want to do something about it. Indeed, some already have. What many people don’t yet realize, however, is that we have an opportunity as a region to unite as Cascadians and overturn this trend.

A few years ago, the Sightline Institute—a non-profit think tank devoted to environmental issues and sustainability in the Pacific Northwest—came up with this concept of the “thin green line.” It states that Cascadia has the opportunity act as a barrier to the furthering of climate change and to the increased risks to our region. They created this short video to explain how:

While the video focuses on British Columbia, Oregon, and Washington, we’re already seeing examples of unity and action across all of Cascadia:

  • British Columbia’s provincial government has formally opposed both major oil pipeline projects.
  • First Nation tribes in British Columbia have exerted their legal rights to block expansion of new oil pipelines.
  • Some permits have already been denied in the state of Washington for coal and oil terminal expansions.
  • Several councils and similar public bodies in Oregon and Washington have opposed expansion of fossil fuel traffic through their cities and towns.
  • Protests and vocal opposition have grown in eastern Cascadia—places like Sandpoint, Idaho, Missoula, Montana, Boardman, Oregon, and Spokane, Washington—to further coal-by-rail and oil-by-rail traffic.

Cascadia is beginning to unite in defense of our home, our livelihood, and our planet. More importantly, it’s working. To quote Sightline’s policy director Eric de Place, “There is not one single [fossil fuel] project that has faced an opposition movement that has been able to proceed so far.”

There’s every reason to believe that this unity in Cascadia will not only strengthen, but result in victory over current and future exploitation. You can be a part of this movement too.

I’d like to extend a very special thank you to the Sightline Institute for all they do and providing a wealth of great information. For more on their current efforts, visit the links below:

List of cities, governments, and organizations the oppose oil trains

Initial victories achieved in the Thin Green Line effort

Recent interview with Sightline on KBOO radio

How coal and oil trains will block traffic in eastern WA

Video: overview on coal and oil trains in Spokane

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

40 Cascadian Dark Ales From Cascadia

In honor of this coming Spring and Cascadia’s rich craft brew culture, I wanted to devote this blog post to the Cascadian Dark Ale (CDA). If you don’t know what a Cascadian Dark Ale is, it’s a dark or black India Pale Ale (IPA) style of beer prominent in our home region. It’s a fusion of a more hop-intensive IPA and a dark-malted ale, resulting in a medium-bodied black ale which has an alcohol by volume (ABV) level comparable to a typical craft American IPA (usually between 6% – 8%).

The Cascadian Dark Ale goes by other names (i.e. Black IPA, American Dark Ale) and many breweries throughout the United States and Canada have their own versions. I want to focus on ones specifically brewed within the bioregional borders of Cascadia. Using beer rating sites such as Untappd, I’ve compiled a list of 40 true Cascadian Dark Ales you may want to try if you haven’t already.

This list is sorted alphabetically by brewery and is meant to be a simple overview used as a resource. Some are brewed year-round, but most are seasonal releases. While I narrowed this list to just 40 beers, that doesn’t mean there are only 40 brewed within Cascadia; the ones in this list have relatively high average ratings from beer drinkers. I may make updated versions of this list as new Cascadian Dark Ales are introduced and/or become popular in the future.

Without further adieu, here are 40 Cascadian Dark Ales brewed in Cascadia:
*Ratings as of February 28, 2016

1. Cynical CDA from 10 Barrel Brewing Company (Bend, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.70 | ABV: 7.5% | IBU: 91

2. Cascadian Dark Ale from 7 Seas Brewing (Gig Harbor, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.71 | ABV: 7.0% | IBU: 65

3. Midnight Departure CDA from Airways Brewing (Kent, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.74 | ABV: 6.0% | IBU: —

4. Black IPA from Alaskan Brewing Co. (Juneau, AK)
Untappd Rating: 3.56 | ABV: 6.4% | IBU: —

5. Double Black IPA from Alaskan Brewing Co. (Juneau, AK)
Untappd Rating: 3.85 | ABV: 8.5% | IBU: 70

6. Belmont Black from Barley Brown’s Beer (Baker City, OR)
Untappd Rating: 4.07 | ABV: 8.8% | IBU: 85

7. Turmoil from Barley Brown’s Beer (Baker City, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.94 | ABV: 7.8% | IBU: 90

8. Black IPA from Bellevue Brewing Company (Bellevue, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.74 | ABV: 8.2% | IBU: 62

9. Absolute Horizon CDA from Bomber Brewing (Vancouver, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.59 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 72

10. Armored Fist CDA from Boneyard Beer Company (Bend, OR)
Untappd Rating: 4.05 | ABV: 10.0% | IBU: 80

11. Lost Giants Imperial CDA from Boundary Bay Brewing (Bellingham, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.83 | ABV: 9.5% | IBU: 100

12. Disruption Black IPA from Category 12 Brewing (Victoria, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.87 | ABV: 6.7% | IBU: 77

13. Bucking Black Sheep Black IPA from Dead Frog Brewery (Aldergrove, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.68 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 41

14. The Obsidian Dagger IPA Noire from Dead Frog Brewery (Aldergrove, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.70 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 50

15. Hop in the Dark CDA from Deschutes Brewery (Bend, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.83 | ABV: 6.9% | IBU: 70

16. Coalsack CDA from Ecliptic Brewing (Portland, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.49 | ABV: 6.2% | IBU: 68

17. Reel Ales Swordfish Double CDA from Fish Brewing Company (Olympia, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.63 | ABV: 7.5% | IBU: 65

18. Raiden Black Rye IPA from Fuggles & Warlock Craftworks (Richmond, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.88 | ABV: 6.4% | IBU: 75

19. Vader Black IPA from Gilgamesh Brewing (Salem, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.58 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 72

20. Cloak & Dagger Cascadian Dark Ale from Granville Island Brewing (Vancouver, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.63 | ABV: 6.3% | IBU: 60

21. Secession Cascadian Dark Ale from Hopworks Urban Brewery (Portland, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.73 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 70

22. Gathering Storm Dark Ale from Howe Sound Brewing (Squamish, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.68 | ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 76

23. Cascadian Dark Ale from Mac & Jack’s Brewery (Redmond, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.60 | ABV: 7.0% | IBU: —

24. Dark Star Black IPA from McMenamins Cornelius Pass Roadhouse & Imbrie Hall (Hillsboro, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.69 | ABV: 7.7% | IBU: 93

25. Cascadia Shale Ale from NW Peaks Brewery (Seattle, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.64 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 74

26. O’Dark:30 CDA from Oakshire Brewing (Eugene, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.65 | ABV: 6.3% | IBU: 72

27. Bad Santa from Pelican Brewing Company (Pacific City, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.64 | ABV: 6.7% | IBU: 70

28. CDA from pFriem Family Brewers (Hood River, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.86 | ABV: 7.5% | IBU: 70

29. Dad’s Little Helper Black IPA from Rogue Ales & Spirits (Newport, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.57 | ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 92

30. Celilo Cascadian Dark Ale from Sasquatch Brewing Company (Portland, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.63 | ABV: 7.6% | IBU: 82

31. Hop Night from Standing Stone Brewing Company (Ashland, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.72 | ABV: 7.3% | IBU: —

32. Black Angel IPA from Steamworks Brewing Company (Burnaby, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.66 | ABV: 7.0% | IBU: 70

33. Nocturnum from Strange Fellows Brewing (Vancouver, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.76 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 65

34. Cave Dweller from Terminal Gravity Brewing (Enterprise, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.76 | ABV: 6.9% | IBU: 100

35. Hodag CDA from Three Creeks Brewing Company (Sisters, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.58 | ABV: 6.4% | IBU: 75

36. Hop Head Black IPA from Tree Brewing Co. (Kelowna, BC)
Untappd Rating: 3.66 | ABV: 8.0% | IBU: 120

37. Heart of Darkness CDA from Two Beers Brewing Co. (Seattle, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.68 | ABV: 6.8% | IBU: 67

38. Dark Tower from Vagabond Brewing (Salem, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.81 | ABV: 7.0% | IBU: 74

39. Big Black Homo Erectus from Walking Man Brewing (Stevenson, WA)
Untappd Rating: 3.90 | ABV: 8.8% | IBU: 85

40. Pitch Black IPA from Widmer Brothers Brewing (Portland, OR)
Untappd Rating: 3.64 | ABV: 6.5% | IBU: 65

Use this list to your advantage this year. There’s nothing like a good brewery tour road trip to make use of some time off from work or school.

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today:

A Moderate’s Perspective on the Cascadia Movement

The Cascadia movement is young and vibrant. We have lots of different opinions about what the movement should encompass and even more energy behind these motivations. We’ve got literature, social gatherings, conferences, and dedicated organizations all expanding the visibility and awareness of Cascadia. Considering this movement has really gotten off the ground only in the last 10 years or so, after more than a decade(s) of work by dedicated individuals prior to this, it is apparent to me that we’re on a pretty good trajectory.

Awareness is consistently increasing in the region. Visions for the region’s future are widespread and positive. Optimistic enthusiasm for regional change in various capacities (i.e. social, political, economic) is growing.

One noticeable aspect of this young movement is that some of the more prominent voices leading it are radical. That is to say, the visions of these individuals for Cascadia’s future is a fundamental change in one aspect or another toward, what many would consider, an absolute overhaul of the status quo. These opinions are commonly lumped together as “fringe” or politically left/right wing.

I’m not here to pass judgment on such opinions. In fact, I think radical voices are often necessary when the status quo needs agitating, even when I don’t entirely agree with the opinions expressed, because they can speak to a greater truth the general public doesn’t quite grasp yet. However, I often find myself at odds with the totality of such arguments because I hold views which most in the region would likely consider moderate or temperate.

OK, yes: I personally support the eventual secession of Cascadia through democratic means so the region attains sovereignty. I don’t believe my rationale for justifying or going about this is at all radical (you can read about it all in my book—links are at the bottom), but I can see how such an opinion can be considered radical because it speaks to a fundamental change in the status quo. Point taken.

The majority of my personal opinions on matters of civics are mild. Compared to the United States or Canada as a whole, I’d probably be considered center-left in the political spectrum, but so too is the entire Cascadian region (on a macro level) in comparison. When listening to the viewpoints of those within the Cascadian region on various issues, I often find myself agreeing with various points on “both sides” of the argument (understanding that there are always more than just two sets of opinions).

I don’t think that makes me indecisive or wrong; I just think that objective truth entails a reality incomprehensibly complex that there are likely 100 different ways to solve any one issue collectively, all of which may conflict with each other in some form or another and yet all “correct” in similar capacity as well. I’m also not naïve enough to believe that my opinions alone on any given issue are absolutely correct in the entirety of all things each considers. After all, I’m not an all-knowing deity.

I’m in the middle. That’s not a bad thing. And, more importantly, that doesn’t mean there’s no place for me in the Cascadia movement. In fact, I believe my place in the Cascadia movement is essential for its continued success and anyone identifying with where I’m at relative to radical voices should feel the same way. We’ve got a lot to offer Cascadia; we shouldn’t undermine our own talents or self-worth because we don’t project prophetic oratory that romantically grapples with the dichotomies of good versus evil or freedom versus enslavement.

There’s a theory in business called the 80/20 rule. It states that 80% of your productivity will come from 20% of your assets. This may lead you to believe that the remaining 80% of your assets are unimportant. In reality, it’s often that remaining 80% which pushes you over the edge to succeed and meet your goals.

This is how I see the Cascadia movement at times: 80% of the prominent opinions being voiced in the movement come from about 20% of its supporters which tend to be more radical. This can be intimidating or off-putting to most who just don’t fully agree and aren’t radical. It shouldn’t be. While around 80% of Cascadia’s supporters are relatively quiet, it will be their voices which are necessary for the movement to truly thrive and make real differences in the world.

If you’re somewhere in the middle and support the Cascadia movement, or if you’re merely intrigued but aren’t convinced to support it yet, I’m here to proclaim your importance. You have something wonderful to offer Cascadia in your own right and I encourage you to make use of your talents. It could be anything which positively impacts Cascadia. If you feel called to make a difference in your own way, do it. It may not be the most prominent act which advances the movement by leaps and bounds, but it could very well be vital to its continued success.

The Cascadia movement is a big tent with plenty of room for moderates and radicals alike. If you call Cascadia home, love this region’s natural composition, and identify with its shared spirit, you belong. So, act like you belong and do something awesome to help. What are you waiting for?

Interested in learning more about Cascadia? You can buy your copy of Towards Cascadia today: