On the morning of Thursday, July 28th, Planet Drum Foundation’s founder, Peter Berg, breathed his last. His life-partner, Judy, and daughter, Ocean, were with him. In many ways his death was too soon and unexpected. Now he has joined the electric pulse of the planet; he exists in the earth and sky, water and wind, and in our hearts and memories. Look for him in the glittering sparkles of sunlight, in the stars at night, and in all the beauty of Pachamama which he so loved.
Peter was a clear-seeing, passionate, visionary activist, analyzing all aspects of human species interactions and following through his ideas with action. Prior to his bioregional work, he participated in early civil rights action and theater; wrote, directed, produced, and acted in plays for the SF Mime Troupe; and formulated theory and actions with the Diggers in San Francisco, writing ecstatic prose/poetry manifestos.
Peter founded Planet Drum Foundation in 1973, and continued as its director for 38 years. The originator of the term “bioregion” and concept of “reinhabitation,” Peter was a noted ecologist, author and speaker. According to Gary Snyder, Peter’s work and Planet Drum’s newsletter Raise the Stakes were “of immeasurable importance in defining and disseminating the ideas and possibilities of bioregionalism.” Works include extraordinarily innovative revegetation and green city projects both locally and abroad, which directly manifest his vision of ecological and cultural sustainability. “Throughout his long career he stayed with living right in San Francisco and in word and deed was a proponent of a non-dualistic urban/hinterland view of bioregionalism. Peter was a unique and cranky figure,” — Gary Snyder.
Peter’s books include: Envisioning Sustainability, Discovering Your Life-Place: A First Bioregional Workbook, A Green City Program for the San Francisco Bay Area and Beyond, Figures of Regulation: Guides for Re-Balancing Society with the Biosphere, and Reinhabiting a Separate Country: A Bioregional Anthology of Northern California. Articles and interviews with him have been published internationally, and he has done presentations and workshops at events, conferences, schools/universities, etc. worldwide.
No one will be able to replace his presence, but Planet Drum Foundation will continue. In his last months, Peter laid the groundwork to ensure that the Foundation would carry the bioregional legacy into the future. As part of this effort, Peter and his brother established the Eliot and Peter Berg Endowment Fund.
“We didn’t play it for the Big Time. We didn’t play it for the Small Time. We played it for the Real Time”– Peter Berg 7/24/11