Here at Bioneers we are busy sorting out all the last details in preparation for our 2016 Conference – and despite the lack of sleep and long hours, we are SO excited! This year’s conference promises to be more amazing than ever. Here’s a glimpse behind the scenes, and some of the reasons we can’t wait to get started:
Jeffrey Vasterling, V.P. of Finance
I am excited about the positive energy around the Family Fair and the creative learning activities that we are bringing to the 2016 Bioneers Conference. And the keynotes of Katsi Cook and Janine Benyus are really catching my attention.
J.P. Harpignies, Conference Associate Producer
Over the decades, some of the most interesting “aha” moments I’ve experienced at Bioneers have come from unexpected sources: from a presenter or topic or attendee I knew little about beforehand. So what I look forward to most at the conference each year are surprising satoris. From the parts of the program I am more familiar with, I am especially intrigued by the session on Animal Consciousness. And this year I’m personally hosting two sessions, one on the Perils and Promise of Edge Technologies, a topic I’ve long been fascinated by, and one on Contemporary Psychedelic Subcultures – which, as someone who came of age in the 1960s, is of keen interest to me!
Alexis Bunten, Indigeneity Program Manager
I wrote a whole blog post about Ilarion Merculief, who will be signing copies of his book at the REAL books store in the Exhibit Hall. The lessons passed on in this book are a true inspiration for anyone who cares about the environment, social justice, and the power of deep spirituality – and it’s a page-turner! In addition to his Friday evening book signing, he will be with us throughout the weekend, supporting the healing discussions at the Council Tent. You might also want to check out Act Now, Before It’s Too Late: Messages from Indigenous Elders.
Riley Leonard, Development Officer
Don’t miss Janine Benyus and the Ray C. Anderson Foundation’s Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Award. Not only is Janine a personal hero of mine, but biomimicry is such a critical and fascinating movement – it’s hard not to be inspired! I’m also stoked for the Day After Tomorrow workshop on Saturday, and to hear from some of the world’s leading climate change experts: Annie Leonard and Bill McKibben are powerhouses that I studied in college, so to see them in action will be incredible!
Nina Simons, Bioneers Co-Founder
I’m most jazzed this year about the relevance and timeliness of so much of Bioneers’ programming. Ericka Huggins‘ self-responsibility, forgiveness and healing inform her work with restorative justice in ways I find jaw-droopingly inspiring. And getting to see Eve Ensler in a rare solo performance that celebrates the embodied and regenerative eros of the feminine body is a treat I’m anticipating with glee. One of the many afternoon sessions I’m excited about is Revolutionary Medicine: Awaken the Healer.
Ernesto Reyes, Youth Leadership Program Manager
I’m so hyped right now about Breaking the Male Code! As a hetero, cisgendered, male of color it is vital that I take the space and time to be challenged in my male privilege to become a better ally to all those that suffer oppression from that privilege. And I’m really intrigued by Sunday’s Health, Medicine, Race and Environmental Justice and Spiritual Responses to the Great Unraveling. I understand these topics separately, but I haven’t ever been challenged to address them as a cohesive whole. I want to immerse myself more in the intersections of these topics, as I traverse the complicated nature of being a human being in this complex world.
Vanessa Warheit, Communications Manager
I’m thrilled that Bioneers is offering so many opportunities for networking this year – including the session on Ethical Business and Investing: People, Planet, Profit. I’m also looking forward to Philanthropy: Empowering Deeper Change – a refreshing exploration of the gap between philanthropic dollars and the scale of the challenges the Earth and its living systems are currently facing. Danny Kennedy and Vien Truong promise to be amazing… and of course on Saturday night I’ll be getting down at the Dance Party!
Miriam Frank, Conference Office Manager
I am truly excited about the Respectful Collaborations session, which will gather leading Native American educators and activists who are effectively integrating Indigenous knowledge into educational systems and communities. As both an educator and activist, I firmly believe that work at this intersection is vital to shaping the next generation of leaders who will champion a more sustainable future. I also know most of these speakers personally, so I’m certain this will be a deeply engaging session!
Julia Braga, Press Assistant
I’m looking forward to Changing the Story: Media, Technology and New Generational Waves of Storytelling on Sunday. I’m a journalist and believe in the power of storytelling to promote positive change. Anything related to this subject is absolutely fascinating to me, and the panelists are fantastic!”
Cara Romero, Indigeneity Program Director
Each year, I am profoundly affected by the strength, resilience and leadership of the indigenous leaders that come to share indigenous perspectives at the Bioneers Indigenous Forum. Coming from a reservation in Southern California, I am all too familiar with ongoing unresolved trauma in our communities and the devastating effects of the post reservation era and a brutal colonization history right here in California. This year, let’s take a pause to take a deep and truthful look at some of what our indigenous communities have overcome and how can we acknowledge intergenerational trauma before we ask our indigenous leaders to forget about all that and lead us into the future. I am truly honored to bring the Truth and Reconciliation panel to the Bioneers Indigenous Forum 2016. And don’t miss the The Art of Native Activism: an intimate interview with father and son activist-celebrities Tom BK Goldtooth and Dallas Goldtooth.