Each year I’ve attended, the Bioneers Conference has inspired me t0 write about it, to contribute, to find others to share the experience.

They call it Revolution from the Heart of Nature, and it still energizes after 35 years!  Presenting about 100 speakers, amazing breakouts with hopeful projects globally, Bioneers Conference gives reason to hope – and always brings a few tears with the struggle.

This time, came a call to limit corporate rights and support the Rights of Nature, rein in corporate monopolys.

I’ll go next year again and follow developments on the Bioneers website.  SO much media production coming from this group!  So many smart people dedicated to correcting our course.

My partner, Wayne Morgenthaler, and I attended Friday of the four day offering, met up with friends and family and marveled together at the upbeat aspect of spending the day IRT with thousands of vibrant, mostly young people who have the timerity to believe they can make a difference and move us toward a more peaceful, liveable world.

Its taken till now to digest what we took in.  5 deep, insightful talks, powerful music, panels with authors and journalists you want to take home with you! Check the amazing array of speakers at  conference.bioneers.org

In the day’s intro, founder/co-creator, Kenny Ausubel, proclaimed loud and clear “Solidarity works!” Letting us know we’d be hearing many iterations of the Rosie the Riveter’s “We can do it!” He quoted two Substack auathors I follow: Jim Hightower with his “The water won’t clear up till you get the hogs out of the river!” And Thom Hartman’s observation that Christian Nationalists (wrap your head around THOSE words) consider themselves to be superior to all others. This from co-founder, Kenny Ansubel, Kenny Ansubel, author, but more important, mentor to thousands of brilliant kids of all ages over the years, people of high integrity who are dedicated to one string of thought or action, bringing us back to balance, to peace.

The conference now inhabits spacious Zellerbach Hall at UCBerkeley for four days with break outs in many downtown Berkeley venues including Freight and Salvage with the amazing Chris Pierce ans Bioneers Afterglow parties Friday and Saturday. Having been a Berkeley Girl in the ’60’s and 70’s, I have a great love of place and its attitudes, traffic slowed now and biked up to suit those who abhor pedestrian death. SO many round abouts!

Each Bioneers conference seems to have a core theme, though the offerings are vast (24 breakout sessions to choose from each afternoon!) Reigning in corporate monopoly is the baliwick of Stacey Mitchell, founder of Institute for Local Self Reliance and author, Big Box Swindle, leading the charge as keynote and panelist.

She told us the hugest of corportations, amung them Amazon, Walmart, Starbucks, all gained 52% in profits in recent years and a major grassroots effort together with the FTC is working to reign them in and is well underway!  Obviously a huge step in the making of a healthy democracy.

Employees at Amazon worry their jobs will disappear and there is a 180% turn over and 18% injuries!  Not secure or safe – but “Bidenomic” have begun to change the picture. There’s a dramatic shift in the public narrative, says Mitchell; 69% of the public support anti-trust actions against the major corporations. Time to review anti-trust laws in place about 100 years, and look at corporate concentration through a racial justice lens. With 9 out of 10 US dollars running through major corporations, it’s time to see how that affects us! Environmentalists and labor can work together.

Mitchell mentioned support from the Athena community, a nonprofit supporting up and coming leaders and I’ll spend some time with their website.

At Bioneers, you could spend your 4 days with idealists, environmentalists, activist change makers!  It’s easy to believe A Better World is in the making if we band together and taking notes is essential for me to keep up with the discussion strategies and actions. I got 18 pages this time.  Other years, I blogged ahead of time and got a press pass.  This time, I mentioned that and we got in free!

An outstanding speaker among outstanding speakers was Chief Oren Lyons, now 94 and a 5 time participant @ Bioneers, he told us his tribe has no name for wild. All beings are considered to be free so why need the word wild? 

Stacey Mitchell, founder, Institute for Local Self Reliance, talked to the auditorium about FDR creating anti-trust legislation his opponents feared would come from “the cowboy” and these ideas are resurging, and Joe Biden has blocked dozens of mergers, banning unfair competition and appointed three pro anti-trust people to a key government agency. We also learned New York state refused to accept an Amazon headquarters.  Anti-monoply actions are coming from several directions.

Our last panel was eye opening. A federation in Syria,The Rojava Revolution, is a Women’s  Liberation, democracy and ecology movement where meetings must include 50% women or a vote isn’t legal.  They are a shining example of of principles not practices elsewhere – much closer to equality between the sexes. 

Grassroots efforts to break up monopolies are in some way working? Yes, yes, yes.  And we also were mezmerized by the deep soul and musical talent of Chris Pierce who later played at Freight and Salvage.  You can catch him on Spotify.  Like a call from Mother Nature to wake up and take care of her. Go to https://conference.bioneers.org/ for marvelous speakers, ideas, song.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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