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Published on October 19th, 2010 | by Ryan Van Lenning


Bioneers 2010: Dispatch from an Earth Community Movement

Once again, the 3-day Bioneers mother-ship has landed and departed, and a thousand pods of social and environmental change have dispersed across the globe, refreshed and re-energized.  Or to use the less technological metaphor by Janine Benyus, founder of the Biomimicry Institute,

“This is kind of a seasonal migration ceremony, Bioneers.  If we were migrating birds, this would be our staging ground, where we come and talk about what we have hatched this year and what breeding was like.”

The Bioneers Conference, hosted in San Rafael, CA on what is the ancestral lands of the Coast Miwok, is a leading-edge forum presenting breakthrough solutions for people and planet.  Over its twenty-one years Bioneers has become a global community of some of the most dedicated, passionate, and creative thinkers and leaders facilitating a wiser way forward for the earth community.

Farmers, students, social justice workers, scientists, artists, musicians, writers, entrepreneurs, indigenous leaders, environmental activists, peacemakers, and a motley assortment of engaged citizens come together to learn, network, and re-energize their efforts in creating a just and resilient world.  The topics discussed range from organic farming, green chemistry, and women in the media to cross-cultural education, traditional indigenous knowledge, and local democracy.

The experience is as intellectually stimulating as it is personally transformational. Over the next few days I will be discussing some of the most visionary and exciting projects, ideas, and people at Bioneers, including the Million Kid March, the new shift in environmental and community protection using a rights-of-nature framework that is taking root across the world, the Dreaming New Mexico local foodshed & fair trade work, the One World Youth Project that is creating a new paradigm for cross-cultural education, new models of clean energy, the transformation of urban landscapes and the work of Andy Lipkus and the TreePeople, Jane Goodall’s Roots & Shoots programs in 120 countries, the heroic ethnographic work of Elizabeth Kapu’uwailani Lindsey, the first female fellow of the National Geographic Society, and the move to amend the constitution to limit corporate person-hood and restore free speech for people alone.

Here I want to highlight what I take to be some of its core themes and messages and hopefully in the process capture some of the spirit of Bioneers.

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About the Author

I'm a Bay Area writer and organizer focusing on issues of sustainability and social justice. I'm particularly passionate about urban agriculture & food justice, sustainable cities, alternative economics, clean energy, and eco-justice for all. I try to focus on citizen action and positive successful projects and ideas. I have worked for nonprofits advocating for sustainable transportation and peace issues and taught environmental ethics, philosophy, and comparative religion at a college in Ohio before moving to the Bay Area. When I'm not engaged in yerba mate fueled ink-slinging, you can find me traveling, organic gardening, participating in a local demonstration or direct action, or hiking the trails. I also write for Oakland Local, Truthout, Matador Change, and Terrain Magazine. Follow me at @vanlenning and visit my blogs at Pull the Root, Travelin' Bones, and Rumi and the Cholo.

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