Bioneers conferences, now 34 years young, are rich food for the mind, heart and senses. We just went to the 4/8/23 Bioneers first time on Berkeley campus, which I love.  Great combo, Bioneers, smart college kids, and now a partnership with Othering and Belonging Institute, creation of the inspiring, kind guy John Powell, who we’ve heard a few times.
Marvelous understanding: alienation is sin; love is the answer. We Are All One… and chanting that with a group on stage – deeply moving! A taste on YouTube (and more to come next time)  

 The Bioneers experience takes a few days – or decades? – to digest. Luckily, I got a  sense of it near it’s inception around 1992 when my mentor/boss, Henry Dakin, was a founder  and some of the core characters hung out where I worked.  Joanna Macy stopped by time to time and my boss/mentor, Henry Dakin, was part of a steering committee.  Intriguing from the start, Bioneers is synonomous with the phrase Revolution from the Heart of Nature, and home to a very broad entourage of eco-visionaries, singers and dancers, poets, philosophers, essayists, novelists. 

Amazing grace these people and I love the take away from the Navigating the Cyber Minefields session with among others, Cindy Cohen, CEO of Electronic Frontier Foundation.  Her bit: “People who are working on saving the planet are more fun.” Great! Introductions welcome!  

Key take aways for me:  Hope is a Discipline (Rebecca Solnit) and We Are One.
That first is the subject of Solnit’s just out Not Too Late book of essays with others; will ble a great reference am sure.   We Are One was a physical experience as we sang/chanted with Wildchoir on stage.  Wow…merged with a whole band!  Even with the big black drummer who, I hate to admit, scared me a tad when I first saw him.  After he spoke, I looked again and his devotion to drumming to express love and melted into that.

Some of the early themes emerge each time.  Revolution from the heart of nature.  Used to be a study of sacred geometry; now an acknowledgement that mushrooms and other plants have immense communications networks we can learn from and nurture. 

Saturday was amazing grace, inspiration, connection. Singing We Are One I eventually melted with the whole of Wildchoir  and realized I could easily connect to the pretty young  soprano on the stage but not so quickly the very black big drummer. I did connect after awhile but I’d admit to a rush of caution if not fear.  Anti-racism is also a discipline. Don’t blame yourself, a useless emotion – for momentary thoughts of superiority, but you gotta get to the We Are One, that is Belonging, leaving Othering behiind. Fascinating that Bioneers is now linked with the Othering and Belonging Institute run by John Powell at UC Berkeley.  Seems if we all knew We Are One, we couldn’t have war and would opt for a healthy planet!  

 John Powell talks brilliantly, giving us a viseral understanding that if we are to live in a healthy world, we must get beyond Us vs. Them to a reality of We Are One: Belonging. 

And there was Danny Kennedy, New Energy Nexus, told us the world CAN scale up to decarbonization, that China and India are moving amazingly fast to electrify cities, that the precious metals lithium and cobalt, key to making EV cars, our computuers and phones, can be reused to the tune of 95%!  We don’t have to rely only on metals in Congo harvested inhumanly. 

We loved the lobby art around the cafe above the Zellerbach Auditorium At UCB, too. The Manimal scene, manikins with animal heads, was captivating, including a Food Porn table featuring a pig wearing a Pig Headed tshirt with a menu statement from the artist.
Seemed self-explanatory…we surely need to get our act together and stop behaving like pigs!


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