Sometimes opportunities first present themselves as problems that entice us to step back and look at things from new perspectives. The initial “problem phase” is often accompanied with the crumbling of false illusions which can be overwhelming, isolating, and sometimes even depressing. It is this inner combustion of feelings that causes us to reach out beyond our comfort zone, to seek community and ultimately arrive transformed at a place of profound inspiration. For 26 years the Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, has been that community. Bioneers is a growing network of people and resources that celebrate the notion of a benevolent universe pregnant with possibilities as we face unprecedented changes on our planet.
Bioneers is a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges.
Getting to the root of our problems
When we venture down the rabbit hole we begin to see that social, environmental, and political problems all have similar roots born of unhealthy, outdated belief systems. The grief that comes with letting go of these stories evaporates in the sunlight of so many individuals who are not afraid to face the overwhelming facts of climate disruption with a song, dance, and human ingenuity. You don’t have to go to the Bioneers Conference to bask in the joy of this community as there are many resources online that will spark your curiosity to become part of the exciting changes that are sprouting up all around us.
‘My greatest teacher has been Mother Nature.’ – Louie Shwartzberg
That said… the conference is unlike anything you will experience anywhere else. You will thank yourself for putting it on the calendar and coming along to next year’s event. If you were there I’m sure you are still beaming from the experience! If you weren’t there perhaps you will enjoy reading these reflections and exploring some of the included links.
Bridging racial divides
Black Lives Matter continues to send ripples through our whole society and Bioneers welcomed the opportunity to deepen the conversation about the role of race within this movement that is planting seeds for social and environmental transformation. Climate disruption has mandated that we all learn to work together across racial, cultural, and historical divides in unprecedented ways to address these pressing issues. We are all engaging in a process of learning how to do this.
Earth Guardian Xiuhtexcatl Roske-Martinez
At times it can be uncomfortable to stir up these deep passionate feelings or historical wounds and delve into them. That’s why creating a safe, supportive community environment in a beautiful place filled with art, music, good food, yoga, and dancing is essential to this revolution. Event organizers, staff, volunteers, and attendees all contribute in their own individual ways to make this collective culture thrive throughout the weekend and beyond.
Indigenous wisdom and feminine empowerment
The need for gender-equality, in a world dominated by patriarchy, is calling us to seek balance through empowering the feminine to lead. Indigenous wisdom, in a world dominated by colonial attitudes, continues to emerge as an essential aspect to healing our troubled planet. Climate-science speaks for itself and though it underscores the reason everyone is coming together, Bioneers is a heart-centered collection of individuals who are building lifelong friendships for real-world impact.
‘We stand at the threshold of a singular passage in the human experiment…’ – Kenny Ausubel
I was lucky to get a little time chatting with Kenny Ausubel, who is co- founder of Bioneers with Nina Simons. I asked him to tell me a little about what kinds of exciting new projects he’s working on. He immediately launched into telling me about Changing of the Gods. This new film project is a collaboration with Louie Schwartzberg, based on the academic work of Richard Tarnas and narrated by John Cleese.
We paint a sweeping visual and transformational hero’s journey across historical cycles of revolution and world-changing transformations in mass consciousness and behavior that deliver us into “the fierce urgency of now.” We visit with a remarkable cast who illuminate the arc of history that has brought us to this fateful crossroads and the emerging worldview that can help us navigate through this evolutionary keyhole into a thriving world.
Richard Tarnas is known for his award-winning and thought-provoking books, Cosmos and Psyche, and the Passion of the Western Mind. In the true Bioneers collaborative spirit, you are officially invited to participate in the evolution of this groundbreaking project. You can follow it’s evolution through the hashtag #epicchange. Ausubel was exuberant as he talked about the film noting that,
Not only is nature intelligent, but we appear to be living in a conscious cosmos.
Ausubel asked me to remind everyone that “there’s an afterlife to the conference itself, which is the media because everything is recorded so it can be shared online.” Noting that this movement is born from one-on-one, face-to-face, human connections, we clearly depend on technology and social media to have far-reaching impact. Take some time to explore Bioneers and be the change you wish to see in the world.
DJ Spooky, left, talks with Peter Hans Ward, of AREDAY – American Renewable Energy Day, at the Summit Tent during the Bioneers Conference 2015; San Rafael, CA. Photo via: Susanna Frohman
Participating with our planet and community
I will be blogging about some of the individual presenters and topics in the coming weeks at UPLIFT and Culture Collective. Having recently explored the concept of Collaborating with Gaia we are not only learning how to dialogue with each other across cultures, we are engaged in a creative process with our planet. Bioneers continues to be on the leading edge of this emerging, inclusive and participatory community of cultural creatives.
I have barely scratched the surface in this short article, but Fania Davis may have summed it up best in her presentation when she said, “History is asking us all to become healers.” This seems to be the common thread in moving forward. Her wisdom on Restorative Justice will echo far into the future as she reminds us that we aren’t here to replicate our wounds to each other and the planet, but to heal them. We have never had a greater incentive to come together as one people and act towards solutions than right now. Let’s do this!