The Bioneers 2016 Conference has wrapped but the ripples created during our time together will continue to spread far and wide over the coming weeks and months ahead. The real action generated from our time together is just getting started. For those of you were able to join us, we hope you are feeling recharged, reconnected and replenished! And for those who weren’t able to join us on the ground in California, we hope you were able to follow along from a distance via social media and we welcome you to the conversation as we share the ideas, solutions, and connections from the gathering with you across many channels – starting now! Stay tuned as we being rolling out video highlights from the Bioneers Conference over the weeks ahead.
By The Numbers
We were overjoyed to host over 500 youth this year . Thanks to the generosity of our donors and community, 408 were provided full scholarships to attend and the remainder received subsidized student rate tickets.
We granted a record number of press passes and the stories are beginning to roll in with many more on the way. A quick sampling includes Sierra Magazine and Earth Island Journal who both highlighted the $100,000 Ray of Hope Prize, awarded to the winner of the Global Biomimicry Design Challenge.Local press outlets, including the Marin Independent Journal and the Pacific Sun, featured Bill McKibben in lead stories. Our friends at Fusion, the millennial-focused news outlet owned by Univision, produced several pieces (here and here) with Kandi Mosset from the Indigenous Environmental Network.
The Bioneers Indigenous Forum continues to be a huge success. Representatives from nearly 100 tribes from around North America gathered at the center of the conference grounds. We were honored to partner with a number of organizations to include 90 native youth as part of our Youth Leadership Program.
Just A Taste
It’s obviously impossible to summarize remarks, ideas and solutions from the nearly 200 speakers we hosted at this year’s gathering in a short blog post, so we won’t try. We’re in the midst of developing ongoing releases of content from the conference over the coming weeks and months. For now, here are just a couple of highlights from just a few of the brilliant and inspiring Bioneers faculty,
Erika Huggins, renowned former Black Panther, political prisoner, human rights activist, educator, poet, and professor of Sociology and African American Studies at Merritt College in Oakland.
We can shift it. We can make environments and land and spaces where all the children can frolic and play. We can create educational environments, learning environments where every kind of intelligence is honored. We can take it from the intellect to the heart, and through our hands and bodies, we can make a world that we want.
It should come as no surprise to anyone that Standing Rock has turned into this beautiful battle because for the last ten years indigenous climate activists have been at the absolute forefront of this movement, and so many of them are here this weekend.
We have a chance to begin to reverse the oldest and ugliest story on this continent—the story where we’ve ignored and pushed aside and run over the oldest wisdom on this continent. The U.S. Army versus the Native Americans is a story that’s been told for 400 years and we’d better change the ending this time around.
Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, 16-year old Boulder, Colorado-based Indigenous environmental activist (since age 6!) and rapper, is the award-winning Youth Director of Earth Guardians.
When I look into the eyes of my little siblings, my cousins, of the beautiful young children that I meet at places like this, that is what I am fighting for. When I sit in silence in nature and marvel at the spectacle that is this world, that is what I am fighting for. When I look at the people in the world that have tirelessly fought for their rights as human beings to live on a planet that is untarnished, unburned and undestroyed by our greed, that have fought and given up their lives to be a part of this movement, I see more bravery, more courage, more passion than I’ve ever seen ever in my life. When I look at the people in this movement that are fighting and are continuing to fight, it reminds me that we all have a part to play, we all have the responsibility to take the energy we feel here and carry that forth into our lives, into our communities, into our homes. And I look at the people I love and it reminds me that that is what I am fighting for.
Danny Kennedy runs the California Clean Energy Fund, a nonprofit connecting entrepreneurs to resources to build an abundant clean energy economy that benefits all.
Since 2012, capital flows have been greater into the clean energy side of the ledger than the dirty side. And for the rest of history, that will be the story. Whenever new additions are put into the grid, they are clean by cost, because you can no longer build a coal plant, let alone a gas plant, let alone an oil plant or a nuclear plant for lower cost than wind or solar power plant. That’s all she wrote. The money’s on our side.
Vien Truong, director of Green For All, has worked tirelessly to bring equity, social justice and climate justice to the frontlines of the environmental movement and public policy:
Climate justice is about making sure we’re righting those wrongs. Our work is about making sure that this isn’t a fight about CO2’s or PPM’s, it’s about making sure that the massive investments that get generated respond to the threat that we’re really seeing: inequality and global ecological destruction. If we do it right, then we can actually make sure that the infrastructure spending, polluter-pays funds and private investments are also used to create a new economy. We can use the investment as a down payment to create a world that we want, with good jobs, clean energy and opportunities for all.
This is just a taste of what happened in San Rafael and there’s more to come. We are excited to begin sharing all this content with the world in the weeks ahead – keep an eye on your inbox and our social media channels!