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Bioneers Conference Highlights

If you have not heard of Bioneers, it is time to learn more. For 22 years Bioneers has cultivated conversations and acted as a “fertile hub” to connect social and scientific innovators. Bioneers goals are simple: “to connect people with solutions by popularizing breakthrough ideas and practices and grow social capital catalyzing, connecting and strengthening strategic networks – bioregional and community alliances.” Today we are all seeking viable solutions and ways to make a difference. The media bombards us with challenging messages, the economic climate continues to be difficult, and many in our world do not have even clean drinking water.

As an everyday Jane, what can we do? How can we democratically shift, mobilize and stimulate change?

“Lead or be led,” conveyed Gloria Steinem. Discussions unfolded asking us to question definitions of leadership, leader and power. Quoting David Orr, the audience contemplated “What would sustainability have us do?” Bioneers believes that “viable solutions already exist for most of our environmental and social crises. The solutions in nature consistently surpass our concept of what is possible.” From the breadth and depth of thinkers, scientists, and business minds that congregated this weekend you got the sense that mobilizing action is on the move and that technology is a tool that can be used wisely. Mary Evelyn Tucker commented, “Culture has to guide us and ground us. That ecological knowledge is embedded the indigenous people and traditions of our planet as such we need to awaken to common origins and our shared futures.” Furthering the conversation “Connected” by filmmaker Tiffany Shlain re-examines life, relationships and connectedness. The personal story weaves us through the interconnectedness of humankind, nature, “progress” and morality in a mind-enriching journey. From the “Naked Option” by filmmaker Candace Schermerhorn we learn of the Niger Delta and the power of women whose “nakedness” stopped taxation in colonial time and the threat of “becoming naked” cut short business as usual for Chevron and Shell. A clash of culture, business and survival – what can we learn from this?

A call to action was heard through film, keynotes and casual discussions between strangers that this is a pivotal time and that business as usual was not an answer. Pam Rajput, one of India’s leading women’s rights activist, scholar and the first speaker of a “Women’s Parliament” which brought over 500 women leaders from every part of India together challenged our standard measure of success – the GDP (Gross Domestic Product) and promoted instead the GNH – a measure of Gross National Happiness defined by measures on sustainable development, good governance, and social justice. “We are facing challenges as a species that we have never faced before,” expressed Phillipe Cousteau in his closing comments. And, as we were reminded this weekend: “We are all citizens of the same globe” Priscilla and “You have everything you need to start”, Anisha Desai.

Watch. Share. And Connect: For the next 28 days you can access the recorded
live stream of the event at: http://bioneerslive.org/

Listen: Roaming Jane Interviews from Bioneers – coming soon!

About Mark Burgess

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