News from Bioneers | June 21, 2012

Jun 21, 2012 by


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In this Issue
Bioneers Conference 2012 — Ecological Design & Justice Programming
Terry Tempest Williams & Nina Simons In Conversation
Albuquerque, Anchorage, Houston Sign On Again As Beaming Bioneers Sites
Introducing Our Newest Board Member — Jim Sheehan
In Loving Memory of Sebia Hawkins


23rd Annual Bioneers Conference

Friday – Sunday

October 19-21, 2012

Marin Center

San Rafael, California

Pre- & Post-Conference


October 18 & 22, 2012

  • Resilient Communities
  • Feminomics
  • Indigenous Knowledge
  • Permaculture 



Register Now!

Bioneers Education for Action Program
Bioneers Conference — Group Discounts & Community Connection


We are excited to announce a new bulk Bioneers Conference discount for groups of students and/or educators to attend together. Any mix of 6 or more receives a special group rate and together pays only $150 per person to attend the entire conference. To apply: Gather your crew, pick a name, and  register together here as an “Education Group” using the code: EduGroup.     

Not yet connected to our Education for Action Program Community? Connected, but know others who might want to be, too?
Fill out our brief EfA Community Form to stay connected – or


Bioneers Moving Image Festival 2012: Ethos

Ethos will be screened at this year’s Bioneers Moving Image Festival. Hosted by twice Oscar-nominated actor and activist Woody Harrelson, Ethos lifts the lid on a Pandora’s box of systemic issues that guarantee failure in every aspect of our lives, from conflicts of interest in politics to unregulated corporate power, and a military-industrial complex that just about owns our government. Ethos shows how issues from the environment to our democracy and our own personal liberty are at stake.

With interviews from some of today’s leading thinkers including Noam Chomsky and the late Howard Zinn, Ethos demonstrates a simple but powerful way to start making meaningful and sustainable change. Join Annie Leonard (Story of Stuff) and Steven Hill (Ten Steps to Repair American Democracy) for a post-screening discussion.

 Connect, Learn,

 Strengthen Yourself

Cultivating Women’s Leadership Intensive

Northern New Mexico, August 24-29, 2012


Cultivating Women’s Leadership intensives assemble women of diverse cultures, ages, perspectives and backgrounds to learn from and with each other. These 6-day residential retreats offer each woman an opportunity to:


  • Clarify her unique assignment or sense of purpose
  • Connect deeply with other women across differences that often divide us
  • Investigate challenges with self-limiting stories and internalized oppression
  • Appreciate her own unique leadership gifts and talents amidst a remarkable community of peers 

Testimonial from a participant:

“You have made it possible for me to find the strength and courage, the tools and support, to continue my work in and for the world. This has been a life-altering experience on the deepest level.”

for Northern New Mexico, August 24-29, 2012, Ocamora Retreat Center. Application Deadline 
Friday, July 6th, 2012.

Learn more about the intensives here.


Register online or contact us at or 505-986-0366 ext.129 for more information. 

Wild & Scenic

Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival announces their annual Call for Entries, open now through the submission deadline of September 15, 2012. The eleventh annual festival takes place January 11-13, 2013, in downtown Nevada City. One of the largest festivals of its kind in the United States, Wild & Scenic seeks unique environmental and adventure films that aim to inspire and educate.  All films must be formally submitted, here.

Bioneers is deeply grateful to the following sponsors and media partners.

2010 Latest OV Logo


Cafe MAM


new belgium


ode mag




CSR Sponsor  Mother Jones  “Mother Jones is America’s leading investigative journalism magazine. We deliver hard-hitting exposés of politics, human rights, and the environment, along with useful reports on food and health. Subscribe now for $12 per year or sign up to receive free weekly e-newsletters.

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It’s All Alive

It’s All Connected
It’s All Intelligent
It’s All Relatives

All of us here at Bioneers send you our very best wishes for a fruitful and life-giving 2012 summer solstice. As the world situation heats up both literally and figuratively, each of us faces a profound choice — and collectively we face the same choice: life and hope — or resignation and decline. Both are self-fulfilling prophecies. The real tipping point is the consciousness we cultivate and our actions that flow from it. No more intention deficit disorder!


In every system, the hardest thing to change is the paradigm, but it can happen fast. As the great systems thinker and ecologist Donella Meadows advised, “Keep pointing at anomalies and failures in the old paradigm. Keep speaking loudly and with assurance from the new one. Insert people with the new paradigm in places of public visibility and power. Don’t waste time with reactionaries; work with active change agents, and the vast middle ground of open people.”


That’s the essence of what Bioneers has been doing for 23 years now, and this is exactly the time to keep the faith in the knowledge that the tipping point is both inevitable and fast approaching. As the world moves from breakdown to breakthrough, we’ve got to keep upping the ante — to make the seemingly impossible totally inevitable.


In this e-letter, we cover some very inspiring elements of the awesome 2012 Bioneers conference program. We share exciting new audio from a recent conversation between Terry Tempest Williams and Nina Simons. We welcome returning Beaming Bioneers sites, and our newest Board member Jim Sheehan. We say fare-thee-well with deep sadness to our dear departed colleague Sebia Hawkins who had a profound influence on Bioneers and on many of us around the world.

Ecological Design and Justice Programming

at the 2012 Bioneers Conference



Photo by Jan Mangan

Last year we had an insight about the Bioneers conference program. Because Bioneers covers the arc of human endeavor, it can be difficult to see the trees for the forest. When we program the conference, we use 13 Topic Areas as our internal framework, and we realized we ought to make it visible for you to more easily spot your passions in the program. So we’ve instituted a “narrowcasting” framework to make it easier for you to zero in on specific areas of special personal interest.


This month, we lead with two Topic Areas: Ecological Design and Justice, both of which are especially strong this year — and they are not unrelated. As David Orr has pointed out, the real object of ecological design is the human mind. The question becomes: How do we design the equitable society that will conduct ecological design as the default setting?


On the Ecological Design front, as usual we’re looking for game-changers and highly practical applications. Stanford’s eminent ecologist Gretchen Daily will deliver a powerful eagle’s-eye-view plenary on just how far the practical applications of ecosystem services are advancing to transform how we design economic systems to align with ecology. Ecoservices are the most basic life-support systems that we take for granted and that have not been represented on the balance sheet, but that’s changing, in no small part thanks to Gretchen’s groundbreaking work, and the world will change dramatically with it.


Our friends at the Buckminster Fuller Institute have assembled a soaring panel featuring the winner and runner-up in the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award: The Living Building Challenge and the Future of Fish. You may remember Living Building Challenge founder Jason McClennan’s plenary when it was just getting going three years ago. You won’t believe how far it has come with projects all over the world whose criteria include a building that produces all its own renewable energy, gathers and reuses all its own water, grows food, produces zero waste, uses virtually no toxic materials, and embeds values of equity and justice.


This work is about as inspiring as it gets.


Meanwhile the Future of Fish (FoF) is an elegant “trimtab” solution to overfishing that looks at the design of human systems — the commerce in the middle between producers and consumers — where the project’s analysis showed things were stuck. FoF uses a clever set of tools and incentives including bar-coded genetic identification of species and real-time digital monitoring that matches fishers with buyers to eliminate as much as 30 percent “waste” of unusable fish.


Future of Fish is a nonprofit business incubator for entrepreneurs whose ideas support seafood sustainability and marine conservation. It works with early-stage companies to help them launch, and with established companies to explore new business opportunities.


Before launching FoF, founder Cheryl Dahle was a director at Ashoka, where she distilled knowledge from the organization’s network of 2,500 fellows in order to provide strategic insight to foundations and corporations. She spent more than a decade writing about social entrepreneurship. She founded and led Fast Company’s Social Capitalist awards, a competition to surface top social entrepreneurs. She helped design an evaluation methodology to measure compelling models for change. FoF was born out of a research partnership that included The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, Ashoka Change Makers, and Central, a design strategy firm. The Future of Fish brightens the future of fish.


Master ecologists and food systems mavens Gary Nabhan and Peter Warshall will riff in a dynamic, eye-opening dialogue on what it really takes to create resilient foodsheds and bioregional approaches to food security. We’ve also got great sessions on urban homesteading, and housing for the post-carbon age, and a very cool perspective on biomimicry lessons that can be applied to leadership models.


An entire one-day intensive plus two conference workshops will dive deep into Resilient Communities and how to design our society to do ecological design that will withstand the coming big changes to “Eaarth,” as Bill McKibben calls our human-altered planet. We’ll provide more in-depth information on the Resilient Communities program later this summer.


When you click through to look at the Justice: Human Rights, Equity and the Rights of Nature programs, you’ll see just how complex and diverse this Topic Area is. This year we cover a wide swath of activism, including Campaign Connection sessions for you to get directly involved, as well as social justice and economic fairness, gender justice, and a special focus on Ending the Drug War.


There are plenaries on urgent action to get off fossil fuels by the remarkable leaders Mike Brune, executive director of Sierra Club; Bill McKibben, founder and environmental author; Sandra Steingraber, environmental health visionary; and Brazil’s remarkable political leader and former Minister of the Environment and Green Party Presidential candidate Marina Silva on human rights and sustainable development.


There are multiple programs on Race, Class and Fairness ranging from labor rights to food justice, democratizing wealth and lots more. Gender again plays a prominent role including provocative sessions around population and the status of women, and Feminomics and how women seem to manage money and finance better than men have.


So check out the full “narrowcast” slices of the program, and stay tuned for more next month and up to the conference. We look forward to seeing you at Bioneers 2012.

Terry Tempest Williams & Nina Simons In Conversation

“There are two important days in a woman’s life, 

the day she is born and the day she finds out why.”


Terry Tempest Williams, quoting her mother, 

from When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice

Recently, Terry Tempest Williams and Bioneers Co-CEO & Co-Founder Nina Simons had a teleconference conversation called Women Finding Voice. Now this conversation is available to any and all for listening. We hope you’ll partake.

Terry Tempest Williams at Bioneers in 2004 here.


Terry and Nina, long-time friends and mutual mentors, explore how to live with paradox, how love can activate engaged action, and how to listen. Terry and Nina have been in ongoing conversation since they first met in 2004, when Terry gave a keynote at the Bioneers Conference, titled The Open Space of Democracy.     


Terry Tempest Williams is an acclaimed author, conservationist and activist. Her work ranges from issues of ecology and wilderness preservation, to women’s health, and exploring our relationship to culture and nature. Terry’s most recent book, When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice, was released in the Spring of 2012.

More Beaming Bioneers Satellite Conference Sites Sign On

Albuquerque, New Mexico (October 26-27, 2012)

Burque Bioneers, Presented by Open Space Alliance

Burque Bioneers, in partnership with Open Space Alliance, gears up for its second annual convening at the National Hispanic Cultural Center. 


“We will spend two days in dialog, collaboration, and celebration with innovators, pollinators, and cultivars. Following the success of last year’s youth service project in the Bosque along the banks of the Rio Grande, we will work to plant 300 pollinator-friendly plants as part of our gathering. In addition, Burque Bioneers facilitates monthly movie screenings and conversations, with the support of La Montanita Coop, Open Space Alliance, and numerous other community members.”

Anchorage, Alaska (October 26-28, 2012)

Bioneers in Alaska, operating under Green Star


“Bioneers in Alaska will convene at the University of Alaska, Anchorage. At our 9th annual conference, we will shine a light on local efforts, share successes, and help Alaskans interested in sustainability meet each other. We seek to network various groups who are making a difference, right here in our neighborhood, in this far north state. We link to plenary speakers from the main stage in California to help us become inspired and to realize our role as part of a larger movement for change. Our workshops then create an environment of collaboration and shared thinking that excites us, renews our hope, and sustains us for another year of efforts in our local community.”


Houston, Texas (November 9-10, 2012)

Blackwood Bioneers, presented by Blackwood Education

  “Now entering our 10th year, Blackwood Bioneers is dedicated to land-based learning that encourages the spirit and feeds the soul as it challenges and educates the mind. Our goal is to inspire all of us to be complete, healthy and accountable to ourselves, our colleagues and our natural world as a whole. Our year-round work includes quarterly slow food dinners and policy work with the city of Houston. One goal for 2012 is a growing partnership with a new oil company founded as an ecological-minded green business.” 

To explore bringing Bioneers home to your community or institution,

contact Sarah Skenazy.

Introducing Our Newest Board Member — Jim Sheehan 

We are honored and delighted to announce that Jim Sheehan has joined the Bioneers Board. Jim had spent twenty years as a public defense attorney in Washington State when he received a windfall inheritance that changed his life. Since then he has sought to help transform the lives of others through projects such as the Center for Justice, a nonprofit law firm dedicated to protecting the environment and democracy, and providing justice for the underserved; and the Community Building, a home for progressive ventures in Spokane, Washington. Jim’s approach serves as a model for energizing communities through local investment.


Jim has been closely involved with Bioneers for over a decade, including as a speaker. He’ll be presenting again this year, including at the Resilient Communities Network intensive where he’ll describe the remarkable Spokane Community Bill of Rights Proposition that nearly passed in 2011, gaining 49 percent of the vote. It aims to be the first such legislation in the country to provide legally binding, enforceable ordinance in a major city that would recognize the rights of nature as well as override corporate constitutional rights. It’s part of a larger initiative called Envision Spokane, and Jim and others have worked closely with our esteemed colleagues and good friends Tom Linzey and Mari Margil of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund. There will also be a Campaign Connection session where Jim will talk about the nuts and bolts of the Proposition and how you can bring it to your community.


Here’s what Jim has said about how Bioneers has affected his work:


“We started the Center For Justice in January of 1999 as a non-profit law firm that concentrates on civil rights, environmental issues, and government accountability, and helps give access to the system to those without influence or recourses. We opened the Community Building in January of 2001. The CB houses 20-25 non-profit organizations that are working for justice. I first went to the Bioneers Conference around 2000. It was a blessing for me and for the development of our Spokane programs. The conference gave us a blueprint of what community can look like if it is developed with intention and courage. We were able to draw from the successes that so many presenters had in their work. We were able to take their experiences and particularize them to the needs and uniqueness of Spokane.


“It has been incredibly valuable to us to be connected to Bioneers. We have been able to concretize and localize so much of what we have learned from Bioneers. Things like Envision Spokane can be directly related to our association with Bioneers. We have brought Jonathan Todd to Spokane to study our water issues. When we developed the Saranac Hotel into the “greenest” building in the state, much of the inspiration and a good deal of the technical knowledge came both directly and indirectly from Bioneers. We developed an extensive food project and a food coop that also have significant Bioneers influences. I will be forever grateful to the innovation, courage, inspiration and wisdom that Bioneers has given us in Spokane and the entire world.”


We’re equally grateful to Jim, and thrilled to have him join our Board and team.


Click here to see who else is on our fantastic Board of Directors.


In Loving Memory of Sebia Hawkinsby Kenny Ausubel 

The recent death of Sebia Hawkins at the tender age of 56 came as a huge shock and has sent shock waves around the world among the many, many people whose lives she touched so deeply and who have loved her so dearly. Sebia has been among the truly great activists of our time, contributing beyond measure to causes around environmental wellbeing and social justice.


Sebia’s work with Greenpeace took her all over the world and to the Pacific Islands whose people she loved so passionately and on whose behalf she advocated. Her greatest passion was to stop nuclear energy and radiation harms, work that she continued here at our home base with the esteemed New Mexico Environmental Law Center.


Part of what made Sebia so unique was her huge heart and joyous spirit. No matter how dim the chances of success were, or how dastardly the forces of exploitation and greed, Sebia never stopped laughing and loving, including reaching out to her opponents. She brought sunshine wherever she landed, and could crack up a room no matter how grave the circumstances.


I first met Sebia around 1993 in New York City when she was deeply involved with Ken Saro Wiwa and his quest to stop Royal Dutch Shell’s horrific actions in Nigeria and the nonviolent campaign to stop environmental degradation of the lands and waters of his Ogoni people. Sebia went on to help Bioneers in countless ways that are inestimable, including introducing us to Oren Lyons and John Mohawk of the Iroquois Six Nations in 1995. Both Oren and John went on to join the Bioneers Board, where John served for 12 years until his death. Oren remains an Honorary Board member, and both have been mentors and partners in the work in countless ways.


Sebia had remarkably survived a brain aneurysm, and with the incredible loving devotion of her life partner and stained glass artist Spin Dunbar made a near-full recovery. The New Mexico Law Environmental Center stood by her throughout this ordeal in a display of loyalty and compassion that is a model for us all and for employers everywhere. Then she developed liver cancer and the end came soon.


If you’d like to honor Sebia’s memory, she asked that you make a donation to the Center in her name. You can also check out Spin’s exceptional stained-glass artistry.


Sebia, we will always miss you dearly, and our gratitude for your work, your spirit and your love are boundless. We carry on the work in your loving memory. As Ken Saro Wiwa famously said at his execution, “Lord take my soul, but the struggle continues.”


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