Border Thoughts

Much appreciation to Brian Stout ( for this excellent piece, “Belonging beyond borders: Citizenship in the world beyond the nation-state.” This lengthy, chewy piece includes quotes and links to many other thinkers on the subject.

Brian offers this TL;DR at the beginning of his post: “TL;DR: Our global system of governance — and the nation-state model it is based on — is no longer fit for purpose. Any effort to imagine and create a new system of global governance must be based on the inalienable right to belong… which of necessity includes the freedom to move. I believe bioregionalism offers the most promising vision for a system of global governance; a promise that returns us into right relationship with land, and a pathway to heal from the trauma and violence of a bordered world.”

But go read the whole article! Brian has great insights, and further offers a portal to creative compassionate wisdom from many other thinkers as well.

I particularly love Brian’s quote from teacher/blogger/activist Zellie Imani: “The crisis is not at the border, the crisis is the border. Borders are not only created through violence but also maintained through violence. Violence isn’t happening at the border, the border is violence.”

I myself have been thinking a lot lately on the topic of borders, particularly as applies to climate refugees. As I see it, the wealthy nations (mainly my country, the USA), have a moral obligation to become extremely welcoming, dare I say porous, to refugees who are fleeing drought, famine, and other manifestations of the climate disaster that we have caused. In that sense I find great value in de-emphasizing nation-states and national borders. Also, connection with one’s bioregion encourages right relationship with nature. Disconnect from nature lies at the root of our (industrial/consumerist/colonialist “culture”‘s) destruction of the biosphere; therefore reconnection must be part of our path forward.

Extending the concept of porous borders into my own home, I have been doing thought-experiments in how to share more fully while keeping it a safe home for all of its current residents (human and all other species). I like the concept of “radical hospitality,” though I have not yet succeeded in implementing this ideal beyond a few bits here and there. Sometimes my borders are too closed; other times they have been too open and created difficulties.