The Biotic Commonwealth

The Biotic Commonwealth, and how we participate in, and co-create, it:
 
1) We are citizens of states and nations, and have identities structured as such.
> Nations are a recent social construction; the kind we are familiar with were invented around 1776, the year the Declaration of Independence was signed, Adam Smith published “Wealth of Nations”, and James Watts sold the first steam engines, begetting fossil-fueled imperialist industrial capitalism. As nationalism was invented, anthropogenic climate warming began. 
 
We have been biocitizens all along—members of the biotic commonwealth—and have, in the USA, never been trained to be, or rewarded for being, as such.
> Our colonialist identity is the antipode of the “placed””native””indigenous””ecologically/evolutionarily constructed” biocitizen identity.
 
Let us take this opportunity to imagine ourselves as biocitizens and not as citizens of states and nations.
>As colonialist precepts like “private property” are released, biocitizenist precepts are grasped.

2) The commonwealth construct descends from England, where Saxons/Germans and Normans/French battled for control and Norman King John had to sign the Magna Carta or be lynched. The commonwealth idea is that the politically empowered must serve all, not just themselves: wealth must be shared commonly.

At the heart of the commonwealth construct is the concept of equality, which is grounded in the natural law of biotic self-interest: life wants to live and has the natural right to do so; (deny that right and the natural law is enforced as a sting, a bite and/or infection). The “elite” and the “common” are equally subject to this leveling “natural law”; political equality is biologically-based.

Massachusetts is a Commonwealth, so we don’t need to invent or import the construct.

Wealth is a word that descends from from the Middle English word wele “well-being” on analogy of health, and further back from the Proto-Germanic *walô (“well-being, prosperity”).

> “Commonwealth” means shared health, well-being and prosperity.

3) To be a biocitizen is to be a participant in, and co-creator of, the biotic commonwealth.
 
The biotic commonwealth is the totality of biological life on our planet; the bios.
 
We barely know it, and for this reason destroy it a) unknowingly and b) knowingly with a colonialist, nationalist, and industrial-capitalist mindset. This recently constructed mindset is the primary cause of our species’ extinction crisis; it does not train us to be, or reward us for being, biocitizens.
 
4) To act as a biocitizen is to serve all members of the biotic commonwealth: to share, instead of destroying, bios.
 
For in the same way that what King John did to the commoners, he did to himself, what we do to bios, we do to ourselves.
 
> It is in our self-interest to be selfless 🙂

5) The appropriate activity of the biocitizen is to garden, and when not gardening, to take and apply the gardening mindset wherever we go.

> The Biotic Commomwealth is our planet, a garden.

 
About the author

Subscribe to Biocitizen Banter

Biocitizen Blogs

RSS Westhampton, MA

  • The River and the Machine: A Biocultural History of Holyoke Dam February 11, 2021
    WHAT IS BIOCITIZEN? The word “biocitizen” is a contraction of “biotic citizen,” a term and idea conceived by Aldo Leopold (1887–1948) who is widely celebrated for conceiving the “land ethic.” A thing is right when it tends to preserve the integrity, stability, and beauty of the biotic community. It is wrong when it tends otherwise. A […]
  • Biocitizen MA Welcomes Charlie Schine, FEP teacher! December 31, 2020
    Charlie is a recent graduate from Wesleyan University who is just beginning to get his footing in the big wide world and figure out where he’s going. Although he majored in music, his studies always seemed to circle around environmentalism and the more-than-human world, a cross pollination which began the summer after his freshman year […]

RSS Los Angeles, CA

  • CLAWS BLOG: Wind Wolves Preserve – Camping | Hiking | Stewardship December 1, 2021
    Wind Wolves Preserve Camping | Hiking | Native Plant Stewardship FRIDAY Our second CLAWS trip of the fall kicked off at our normal meeting point Bette Davis Park. Folks were excited to get things going, so after an opening circle, with introductions, a gear check, and the plan for the evening we officially started our […]
  • Fear, Growth, and Success! A story of overcoming challenges with Biocitizen LA October 24, 2021
    Lead Teacher Azucena shares her journey reclaiming her narrative through her  field notes recap emails By: Azucena Quinones When I first began working at Biocitizen I was super excited for all of the amazing experiences I would have, from camping, exploring new trails, to working with amazing kids. I knew there would be challenges that […]

RSS New York, NY

  • Biocitizen NY Summer 2022 Internship – Apply Now! January 12, 2022
    Biocitizen NY Summer 2022 Internship Program What is Biocitizen? Biocitizen is the only educational institution in the world devoted to teaching Field Environmental Philosophy (FEP). Our Brooklyn-based Our Place Summer School is designed to bring children into direct contact with the creatures, geologies, hydrologies, and infrastructures of the Canarsee Biome and the Hudson River Estuary. […]
  • Biocitizen welcomes Yubitza Bermudez, Field Environmental Philosophy Teacher September 25, 2021
    Biocitizen NY is pleased to welcome Yubitza Bermudez as a Field Environmental Philosophy teacher! She’ll be co-leading Free Ranger walks starting mid October! Yubitza enjoys  Chilean and US citizenship and trained in Ecotourism Studies at the Universidad Andres Bello with Vicente Aguirre Diez, the executive director of Biocitizen Chile. We are very excited, because she […]

RSS Concon, Chile

  • Ciudadanos bióticos, coronavirus, Gaia March 30, 2020
    En la sabiduría antigua, tanto en sociedades orientales, occidentales e indígenas, existe como concepción compartida la importancia del vivir el día a día, y de como esta práctica da forma […]