There are many ways to describe what Cascadia is. It has been described differently by a multitude of people, both as a region and as a way of life. I see it as both — both as a geographic region and as a way of life.  I will take the rest of this page to explain what I mean.

If you look around the Internet, you will find the Cascadia region defined in a number of ways.  One definition is simply Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.  Some take in only the areas west of the Cascade Mountains and others include the traditional parts of the Pacific Northwest, including Idaho and Western Montana.  Some include parts of Northern California and the Alaska Panhandle.

For my own uses, I prefer not to have exactly defined boundaries, partially because I believe a lot of the world’s problems have began with trying to define absolute imaginary lines around land masses.  However, just so we know what we are talking about, my focus is on Western Oregon, Western Washington, and most of British Columbia west of the Cascade Mountains.  In a secondary sense, I would include the remainder of those three places, as well as Northern Idaho, the coastal parts of Northern California, and Southern Alaska.

The reason for giving a common name to these areas is that they, and their inhabitants, share many common traits.  Despite all of the arbitrary political boundaries in the region, we all tend to live the same sort of life, share a common climate, share a common geography, and share many political and cultural issues.  If you were to start over dividing up the world by regions that shared similar traits, it is likely that the rough notion of Cascadia would be one of those regions.

If you browse around the Internet, you will find a number of groups claiming to support some sort of “Cascadian independence” from the current government.  While it is fun to think about for a few minutes, the fact is that there will never be a “Republic of Cascadia” or anything similar, unless some drastic, unforeseen event shakes the world.  I think most of these websites and groups take themselves with the proverbial grain of salt anyway.  If you look deeper, you will find that many of the ideas that these groups suggest might have some valid use in the real life we do live within.  It does make sense that the leaders of all political units in Cascadia work together in issues that affect the region as a whole.

Whether those governments work together as a group called Cascadia or the Pacific Northwest or simply as neighbors working together, it is still important that they do join and work together to solve those mutual issues.  Issues like climate change, fisheries and resource management, transportation, mutual trade, and others are all equally important throughout the region.  We don’t need another new political subdivision.  We need the current ones to work together for the good of all.

As far as acceptance of the name, there does not seem to be any official recognition of the name anywhere.  However, there are a great and growing number of businesses in the region that have the word “Cascadia” as part of their name.  There are streets and neighborhoods named Cascadia.  Schools, including a public community college bear the name.  The Cascadia subduction zone is the major fault that runs the length of the region, likely the source of the next “that big one” earthquake.   So it doesn’t make for a big stretch that something called “Cascadia Journal” is covering news and events related to the region.

I have never been one to picture myself as “belonging” to any particular political subdivision, although I am currently a citizen of a particular country and a resident of a particular US state.  Those are the legal and political realities.  However, if I look at myself and ask where I consider home to be, home is in Cascadia.