To mark the 25th anniversary of Bioneers, long-time partners and supporters Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil of Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund offer the following testimonial about our work:
“Bioneers creates a one-of-a-kind infectious experience by spreading ideas that might save the world.
"The Bioneers Conference is one of the most important conferences held in the United States each year, for the birth and distribution of new ideas that promise to pull us back from the brink of economic and environmental collapse. It is one of the only public places where pioneers of new ways of thinking and doing can inspire large numbers of people to expand their horizons of what is both possible and doable. Importantly, it also serves as a celebration of those pioneers themselves, in a world in which new thinking that challenges existing paradigms is not generally welcomed nor rewarded.
"The Bioneers Conference has greatly assisted the work of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. From our first plenary presentation in 2004 to our ongoing involvement in the conference for both plenaries and workshops, the Conference has provided a place for our work to be acknowledged and discussed. In concrete terms, networking done at the Conference has led to invitations for funding proposals and connections with leading experts and thinkers in different fields. It also provides a place for reconnecting with colleagues from around the world, and incubating smaller discussions focused on hashing out potential solutions to emerging issues.
"Not only has the Conference itself greatly stimulated interest in our work, but the work of the Bioneers team to produce media from the Conference has allowed our work to enter classrooms, organizational meetings, and public discourse. Following Mari Margil’s plenary talk in 2009, video of her presentation was featured through various Bioneers outlets, resulting in its use for a class on environmental ethics at North Carolina State University, among others.
"Directly through Bioneers, the Legal Defense Fund was able to connect with filmmaker Jeremy Kagan, who, after learning of our work, partnered with us to produce a series of short videos about various communities taking on some of the world’s largest corporations. Those videos became the first digital media produced around our work. We also were able to connect with Anneke Campbell, Jeremy’s wife, who subsequently partnered with us to co-author our first book on the work of the Legal Defense Fund, Be the Change, which was published in 2009. That book project only happened because of Bioneers support – it was the direct result of a meeting between the publisher and Thomas Linzey after Linzey’s second plenary address at Bioneers.
"Also directly through Bioneers and the personal support of Kenny Ausubel, Thomas Linzey was featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film “11th Hour.” Appearance in that film led to continuing involvement with the producers of the film, Tree Media, which then resulted in another film which is currently in production, “We the People 2.0.” Without the Bioneers Conference and Kenny’s work, that second film project – now due for release at the end of 2014 – would have never happened.
"The work of the Legal Defense Fund in Hawai’i, to assist communities there with the banning of genetically modified seeds and crops, began with the hosting of one of our three day Democracy Schools at the Bioneers Conference. It was there that we were introduced to Keone Kealoha, a founding member of the group Malama Kauai, on the island of Kaua’i . It was Keone and his group who eventually hosted a Hawai’i Democracy School, with the result of that School being an active campaign against GMO’s on the island. Recently, the Legal Defense Fund hosted a food summit on Maui which – for the first time- brought together anti-GMO activists on three of the Hawaiian islands to discuss advancing campaigns to establish community rights to sustainable food and farming.
"The Beaming Bioneers network has also been critical to our local community organizing. In Spokane, Washington, the local Bioneers conference supported the work of Envision Spokane – our local community affiliate in the City – to qualify a ballot initiative for a community bill of rights. The Legal Defense Fund has also been able to present at Bioneers Conferences in Portland, Maine; and Traverse City; Michigan.
"So, not only has the Bioneers Conference served to amplify the work of the Legal Defense Fund, it has also resulted in practical funding, organizing, and media opportunities that have enabled the organization to service additional communities across the United States and the globe."
Share your testimonial about how Bioneers has impacted you and your work »