Cascadia, The Elusive Utopia: Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest

Cascadia, The Elusive Utopia

Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia

Exploring the Spirit of the Pacific Northwest

by Douglas Todd


  • Autumn 2008
  • ISBN 978-1-55380-060-6
  • 6″ x 9″ Trade Paperback, 326 pages
  • Mind, Body & Spirit, West Coast

This collection explores the unique spirituality and culture of Cascadia, which includes British Columbia, Washington and Oregon. Envied around the world, Cascadia is famous for its mountains, evergreens, and livable cities. Less well known is that Cascadia is home to the least institutionally religious people on the continent. Despite this, Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia argues that most of the region’s 14 million residents feel deeply “spiritual.” Many gain their sense of the sacred from the spectacular and imposing land.

Brought together by critically acclaimed Vancouver Sun writer Douglas Todd, 15 leading writers, scholars, bio-regionalists, pollsters, aboriginals, economists, philosophers and literary specialists explain how the Pacific Northwest is nurturing a unique “spirituality of place,” which could become a model for the planet.

In this book readers will find a vision of a healthy future: an elusive utopia. Canadian and American contributors include historian Jean Barman, Canadian poet laureate George Bowering, political philosopher Philip Resnick, religion scholar Patricia O’Connell Killen and American-Canadian eco-thinker Sallie McFague.

Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia challenges mind and spirit alike. It is a must read for everyone who longs for a cosmic understanding of what it means to be truly human and fully alive at this crucial, historic hour.” —Tom Harper, author of The Pagan Christ

“In a compelling and original way, the talented contributors to this book probe the cultural, ecological and spiritual richness of this remarkable green corner of the continent. I wholeheartedly support the book’s authentic vision.” —Alan Durning, founder of Sightline Institute in Seattle and co-author of the Cascadia Scorecard book series

“Douglas Todd has assembled some of Cascadia’s best thinkers and essayists to show how the Pacific Northwest’s stunning wilderness and intricate ecology have inspired modern environmental movements, a self-reliant secular spirituality, ethnic pluralism and rugged independence. As this volume reveals, something special is going on in Cascadia.” —Rex Weyler, author of Greenpeace: The Inside Story and The Jesus Sayings.


Reviews & Awards

Winner of Silver Medal, ForeWord’s Book of the Year Award (mind, body & spirit category)

“A well-conceived and important work. The contributors, many of whom have deep personal attachments to Cascadia, offer critical, perceptive insights on the problems and possibilities of this ‘elusive utopia.’ The result is a compelling collection which is recommended reading for all those interested in the subjects of religion, place, and Pacific Northwest identity.” —British Columbia History

Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia is an excellent compendium of thought and reaction, of idealism and caution.” —

“Todd’s book has something for everyone, offering many different perspectives, and illuminating our place in Cascadia.” —Cascadia Weekly, Bellingham, WA

“Students of British Columbia should have this book in their personal libraries.” —BC Studies

BC Bookworld named Cascadia: The Elusive Utopia one of the “10 Books to Celebrate 150 Years” in a feature on BC’s 150th anniversary.