Bioneers is inspiring a shift to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.
“We've been borrowing from the future, and the debt has fallen due. The science says we have physically entered a period of great change, a synchronized, related crash of the economy and ecosystem. The Great Disruption will ultimately take human society to a higher evolutionary state. We have the opportunity to build a society that represents our highest capacities… that works with rather than against nature. This crisis presents what may be a ‘once in a civilization’ opportunity for a step change in human evolution, but one driven consciously rather than biologically. We are the people we’ve been waiting for. This is the time.”
Paul Gilding, The Great Disruption
We stand at the threshold of a singular opportunity in the human experiment: To re-imagine how to live on Earth in ways that honor the web of life, each other and future generations.
At the same time the world faces the escalation of climate change and extreme environmental and social disruption, we’re also witnessing a profound transformation taking hold in many parts of the world. It augurs the redesign of human civilization in accordance with a new paradigm that honors and emulates the wisdom of nature’s design sophistication, and that’s rooted in values of justice, equity, diversity and democracy.
It’s a revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart. From here on, the challenge is to alter the “mindscape” and advance the transformation in the shortest possible time. As Winston Churchill said, “It’s no use saying, ‘We are doing our best.’ You have got to succeed in doing what is necessary.” The way we’ll hold it together is to hold it – together. In community lies resilience.
This historic shift to become an ecologically literate and just civilization heralds a declaration of interdependence. Taking care of nature means taking care of people — and taking care of people means taking care of nature.
We can move from breakdown to breakthrough. The good news is that the solutions are largely present, or we know what directions to head in. Around the world in diverse fields of endeavor, social and scientific innovators have been developing and demonstrating far better technological, economic, social and political models. Human creativity focused on problem solving inspired by the wisdom of the natural world is eclipsing the mythology of despair.
The grail is resilience, enhancing our ability to adapt to dramatic change and restructure our ways of living in concert with natural systems and with respect for human dignity. Nature has a profound capacity for healing. Restoration means working with nature to heal nature and our human communities.
This transformation invokes a change of heart that honors the unity and intrinsic value of all life. Over and over, it’s the story of how great a difference one person can make, and how community makes the difference.
Bioneers is a community of leadership, and in these times, we’re all called upon to be leaders. Connect with the Bioneers community of leadership and take part in the revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart…
“Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.” - David Orr
Revolution From the Heart of Nature and the Human Heart
“[Neo-conservative economist] Milton Friedman said that only a crisis, actual or perceived, produces real change, and when that crisis occurs, the change depends on the ideas that are lying around. That is our basic function, he said: ‘To keep the ideas ready until the politically impossible becomes politically inevitable.’ So what are our ideas lying around?”
- Naomi Klein, author of The Shock Doctrine, Bioneers 2008
Since 1990, Bioneers has served as a fertile hub of leading social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for restoring the natural systems on which all life depends, and healing our human communities. We act as a thriving source of leading-edge innovation, solutions-focused education, connection and inspiration.
Our acclaimed national, local and global conferences are complemented by extensive media outreach, including our award-winning radio series and role as a source for media such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour and Michael Pollan’s best-selling book The Omnivore’s Dilemma. Our media materials are used in schools and curricula.
Along with extensive public education and media outreach, we’ve catalyzed a unique interdisciplinary network of networks that span the arc of the human endeavor to address the interdependence of human and natural systems. We connect people with solutions and each other.
As a community of leadership, Bioneers serves as a nexus of knowledge transfer and cross-pollination. We act as a media ampliﬁer for many respected leaders, a hatchery for young and emerging leaders, and a connection point for engaged citizens dedicated to making a difference.
Today there’s unprecedented receptivity for the kinds of ideas and practices Bioneers has been highlighting and incubating for 22 years. In these pivotal times, we’re committed to making a decisive difference to help turn the tide from breakdown to breakthrough.
To meet the escalating urgency of this historic and perilous crossroads, in 2010 we redesigned Bioneers into three primary program areas.
Ecological Literacy Education
Changing the Mindscape: Public Education & Media Outreach encompasses the Bioneers conference(s), Beaming Bioneers community conferences, and media production and outreach including our award-winning radio series, book series, web site, and the forthcoming BioneersNet, a dynamic year-round media platform featuring the Bioneers network of networks and Bioneers media. We serve as a vital source of ideas, knowledge and connections for journalists, authors, media-makers, educators, youth and diverse leaders from civil society, business, science, technology and government.
Education for Action: Formal Education brings Bioneers Education for Sustainability (EfS) materials to schools and colleges, and acts as a hub for innovative ecoliteracy educators, students, institutions and networks. The program works with numerous national EfS networks and with individual institutions.
Resilience from the Ground Up: Localization provides tools, models and connections to build decentralized, local resilience, and helps connect a national-global network of place-based restoration initiatives.
Wisdom at the End of a Hoe: Restorative Food System seducates people in how to build long-term ecological and healthy food systems through media outreach, the Dreaming New Mexico Age of Local Foodsheds project, and other projects including practical trainings in eco-farming methods.
Becoming Native to Place: Indigeneity recognizes we’re all indigenous to Earth, and invites people to learn with leadership from First Peoples how to “re-indigenize” our societies and selves. Indigenous peoples – the world’s “old-growth cultures” – can provide critically important leadership and insights into Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK), as well as the “Original Instructions” for how a culture or society can organize itself in relation to place, embody kinship, and practice peace.
Bioneers Global: An International Community of Leadership helps connect global networks of social and scientific innovators, governments, companies, educational institutions and citizens. We use conferences, media and Knowledge Partner relationships for the transfer of effective practices, models, technologies and innovations.
The Bioneers Community of Leadership
Moonrise: Women’s Leadership offers a whole-systems approach to strengthening women’s leadership to create a just, healthy and peaceful future. We encourage full-spectrum leadership that invites a flexible and dynamic balance of both feminine and masculine qualities within all people and in our cultures and institutions. It integrates the wisdom of heart, hands and intuition, as well as intellect, and emphasizes connecting across differences to foster greater collaboration and partnerships.
The Bioneers Community of Mentors: Intergenerational Leadership, seeded in 2011, will tap the Bioneers community of leadership to mentor gifted young and emerging leaders from diverse disciplines, cultures, ethnicities and walks of life.
Wild Relatives: The Bioneers Network of Networks, in development, will activate strategic sectoral networks with bold four-year goals, beginning with the Bioneers Education for Action Network in 2011.
It’s only a question of when – not if – the world will change course to restore people and nature with the equivalent of a wartime mobilization. The sooner we make the shift, the more options we will have, and the less suffering.
To move from breakdown or breakthrough, the time to act is now.
Please join us to make the impossible inevitable.
It’s all alive It’s all connected It’s all intelligent It’s all relatives
Bioneers is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. All donations are fully deductible to the full extent of the law.
Honors, Awards and Recognition
- Bioneers has been officially honored and recognized by the California State Senate, Marin County Board of Supervisors (California), and Governor Bill Richardson of New Mexico, where Bioneers is based.
- The Bioneers radio series has won dozens of awards including multiple Gold Medals in the prestigious international New York Festivals. The Bioneers Dreaming New Mexico project won second place in the prestigious international Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award in 2009 and semi-ﬁnalist in 2011.
- Bioneers and founders and Co-CEOs Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simons have received awards and honors, including the Rainforest Action Network REVEL Award for “building an integrated, progressive movement at the crossroads of the environmental and social justice movements,” and the Global Green “Green Cross Millennium Award” for Community Environmental Leadership. Bioneers is a Knowledge Partner of the Tällberg Forum in Sweden.
- “Dreaming New Mexico brings together the tools of grassroots organizing and community leadership with scientific know-how and political savvy to both create a vision for the future and lay the groundwork for getting there.” – 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award Jury Statement, 2nd place award
- “Bioneers promotes practical and innovative solutions to environmental and social problems based in a philosophy which recognizes the aliveness, interdependence, and intelligence of the natural world. Bioneers has been helping the community through innovation and creativity.” – State of California Senate – Certificate of Recognition, Senator Mark Leno
- “Bioneers has inspired us year by year to continuously improve our performance. Keep up the great work, Bioneers. Keep providing a vision of how we can all walk our talk. I’ll keep coming here to learn how to do it better, and we need your help.”- Charles McGlashan, Marin County Board of Supervisors
Six mayors spoke and participated: Cleveland, Spokane, Anchorage, Park City, Houston, New Bedford.
Twenty-four Indian nations from the U.S. and Canada and seven other international indigenous leaders participated.