About Planet Drum Foundation

Planet Drum Foundation is an innovative voice for bioregional sustainability, education and culture

Planet Drum’s Vision:

What approach can we take to live sustainably wherever we are located?

Planet Drum was founded in 1973 in San Francisco, California  to provide an effective grassroots approach to ecology that emphasizes sustainability, community self-determination and regional self-reliance. In association with community activists and ecologists, Planet Drum developed the concept of a bioregion. Through its projects, publications, speakers, and workshops, Planet Drum helps start new bioregional groups and encourages local organizations and individuals to find sustainable ways to live within the natural confines of bioregions. We believe that people who know and care about the places where they live will work to maintain and restore them.

a distinct area with coherent and interconnected plant and animal communities, and natural systems, often defined by a watershed. A bioregion is a whole “life-place” with unique requirements for human inhabitation so that it will not be disrupted and injured.

Planet Drum Foundation’s Mission Statement:

To promote awareness of sustainable strategies for human inhabitation of the earth based on the bioregions where people live. We seek to enhance the intimate connection with life-places by spreading the ideas and activities of “living in place” through publications, workshops, formal curricula, and hands-on demonstration projects. This work is motivated by our vision of a truly sustainable world in which humans are harmonious with and respectful of the natural environment

To promote and encourage ecologically sustainable living founded on an understanding of one’s bioregion, a geographic area of interconnected natural systems and their characteristics.

Quick Historical Overview:  

(detailed history)

Begun in 1973, Planet Drum Foundation has firmly established that understanding our relationship to the bioregions where we live is essential for long-term sustainability. We have produced over fifty publications, hundreds of workshop, and numerous community organizing events.

Planet Drum sponsors projects and activities related to restoration ecology, green cities, sustainable agriculture, renewable energy, watershed consciousness, and ecology education.

Based in San Francisco, California, Planet Drum has undertaken educational and organizing tours in North and South America, Europe, Japan, China, and Australia. From 1999 to 2021, we  maintained a highly successful program to assist transforming Bahia de Caraquez, Ecuador into an ecological city based on bioregional principles.

Planet Drum’s projects contribute to the understanding of living-in-place. You can support the work of Planet Drum Foundation by volunteering, becoming a member, purchasing an item in our store, and/or making a donation.

Fifty years of Planet Drum Activities


Informational materials for deepening bioregional awareness. Some Planet Drum publications are available as downloads from the library, others can be ordered online from the shop. (The shop also contains relevant publications from other organizations.) 

  • Discovering your Life-Place: A First Bioregional Workbook leads readers to a new appreciation of their relationships with local natural systems through a practical, hands-on map-making exercise. The book is an exciting way to teach local ecology and natural science in either urban or rural areas for all ages.
  • A Green City Program for the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond has an easily accessible format that describes nine fields for urban self-reliance, agendas for short and long term changes, “fables” for how changes might occur and “visions” of what a Green City anywhere would be like.
  • Reinhabiting a Separate Country is a collection of essays, natural history, biography, poems, and stories revealing Shasta Bioregion (Northern California) as a distinct area of the planetary biosphere. It has served as a model for indigenous collections in New York, the Ozarks, and the Rocky Mountains, among other places.
  • Wild in the City is a poster-map comparing a view of the natural geography of San Francisco before colonization with a present-day street map to show what features could be enhanced and restored.
  • Shasta Bioregion Map designed by Arthur Okamoto with descriptions of natural zones within Northern California by Raymond Dasmann on the reverse.
  • Envisioning Sustainability is a collection of essays by Peter Berg with the historical references that inspired them.
  • Planet Drum’s bi-annual review, Raise the Stakes,The Planet Drum Review presented thought-provoking essays for 20 years on always relevant issues ranging from restoration ecology to the greening of cities. A “Circles of Correspondence” section described the activities of bioregional groups and was occasionally expanded into a Bioregional Directory.
  • The Planet Drum PULSE newsletter continues with biannual reports, news and ideas in a smaller format.

Lectures, Seminars, Workshops& Performances:

Staff members present talks and conduct seminars and workshops on bioregional topics for community, college and activist groups. Workshops teach participants to identify their bioregion through awareness of natural features and include map-making activities and hands-on activities.

Bioregionally based story-telling and performances are sometimes also available.


Planet Drum provides networking services to start and assist bioregional groups, to provide resources and expertise, and to put people who are interested in particular subjects in touch with each other.

Library Resources:

Our San Francisco office contains a unique archive of books and journals that relate ecological thinking to society, politics, and culture. It is open, with prior reservations,  to members, researchers and others.