It’s All Alive, It’s All Intelligent, It’s All Connected

By Thomas Herold in Visions on October 15th, 2006 / No Comments

The Bioneers are an inspiring collection of problem-solvers, with practical and visionary solutions for many of our most pressing environmental and social challenges. These ‘biological pioneers’ include writers, biologists, educators, architects, farmers, economists, public servants, scientists, business people, artists, gardeners, chefs, and activists whose work spans many fields and cultures. Together, they offer a dynamic vision for restoring the Earth, combining ecological approaches with social, spiritual and political strategies.

The primary focus of the Bioneers is on solutions, informed by nature’s essential principles of interdependence, cooperation and community. The inspiring stories of these dedicated individuals illustrate the innumerable ways one person can make a difference, guiding us to a future environment of hope that is within our grasp today. Their insightful solutions involve innovative technical approaches while also embodying a change of heart, integrating principles of social and economic justice.

For sixteen years, the annual Bioneers Conference has helped to galvanize many of these brilliant practitioners into a thriving culture, while equipping participants with models, resources, tools and networks. The optimistic and practical vision encourages individuals, companies, governments and communities to act as primary forces in the great transformation toward a restorative future. Oriented to both professional and general audiences, the event reflects a wide variety of ideas and approaches while embracing diverse cultures.

The Bioneers Conference has also spawned Voices of the Bioneers, a media outreach project drawn from conference presentations. Articles featuring the Bioneers have appeared in innumerable publications in both mainstream and alternative print media. The Radio Series, Bioneers: Revolution from the Heart of Nature, features interviews and dynamic presentations from the Bioneers Conference archives.

Each year, Bioneers provides thirteen half-hour programs free to public radio stations across the country and around the world. In 2003, the series won the prestigious Silver WorldMedal for Excellence in Environmental Programming from the New York’s International Radio Programming Competition. In 2002, the series received a Bronze WorldMedal and was a finalist for the United Nations Department of Public Information Award.

What is the Purpose of the Bioneers?

  • To maintain a forum for creative innovators, thinkers and activists with diverse approaches for restoring the Earth and people, from the grassroots to the societal;
  • To optimize effective action by building bridges among diverse communities and cultures that otherwise operate separately, enhancing collaboration on a variety of culturally appropriate approaches to restoration;
  • To develop an active faculty of Bioneers, introducing them to each other’s work to foster cross-pollination of ideas, strategies and networks;
  • To disseminate environmental solutions to the public, to professionals and to the media; to cultivate grounded optimism, encouraging and equipping people to take action and engage more effectively in restoration.

Who Attends the Bioneers Conference?

Bioneers attracts global participation. Not a spectator sport, it draws mainly people actively working or seeking to engage in restoration projects. Approximately 65% of attendees come from California, and the remaining 35% come from other states around the US and the world. Around 30% are students, activists and seniors who receive fee reductions to facilitate their presence. Many professionals from a wide variety of fields attend, as do many journalists. Diverse cultures are well represented, and since its inception, Bioneers has included strong representation from the Native American community. Though serious scholars are among the presenters, the conference is not academic, but rather is oriented to action and activism.

How Many People Attend?
The Bioneers Conference in San Rafael fills to capacity, with over 3,000 people attending the conference in California, and this year we expect about 6,000 additional people attending at one of our seventeen Beaming Bioneers Satellite Sites. The plenary speakers are beamed via satellite to these local Bioneers events, which combine the satellite feed with region-specific programming in communities from Vancouver to New Hampshire to Arizona. See the attached Beaming Bioneers sheet for a complete description of each site and their programming highlights.

When, Where and How Did the Bioneers Conference Originate?
Kenny Ausubel founded Bioneers and its parent not-for-profit organization Collective Heritage Institute in 1990, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, shortly after he co-founded Seeds of Change, Inc., an organic seed company offering “backyard biodiversity” to gardeners. Since that time he has jointly produced Bioneers with his partner and wife Nina Simons, former President of Seeds of Change. The gathering moved to larger facilities in California’s Bay Area in 1993, where it has grown and flourished. Bioneers presently takes place at the Marin Center in San Rafael, California each October.

Who Produces Bioneers?
Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons produce the conference with strong participation from a gifted team. Among these are J.P. Harpignies, former program director of the New York Open Center, and Ginny McGinn, deputy director of Bioneers.

October 20-22 in San Rafael, California

For more information please visit: Bioneers Website

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