Sunday, November 27, 2011

Bioneers Conference 2011 - 14-16 October 2011 - San Rafael,California

This is how Bioneers describes itself on their website, and I wanted you to understand who Bioneers are.

What is Bioneers?

Bioneers sign

A New Word.

Founder Kenny Ausubel coined the term Bioneers in 1990 to describe an emerging culture. Bioneers are social and scientific innovators from all walks of life and disciplines who have peered deep into the heart of living systems to understand how nature operates, and to mimic "nature's operating instructions" to serve human ends without harming the web of life. Nature's principles—kinship, cooperation, diversity, symbiosis and cycles of continuous creation absent of waste—can also serve as metaphoric guideposts for organizing an equitable, compassionate and democratic society. 

A Leading Source of Innovative Solutions.

As a 501c3 nonprofit organization, we provide a forum and social hub for education about solutions presented through the Bioneers Conference and our programs. Our media productions leverage this content to reach millions of people around the nation and the world with our award-winning radio series, Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature; anthology book series; television programs; and our interactive website. We act as a key source for the media, including third-party films and the press. Our DVDs, CDs and other educational materials are also used by colleges and schools and by community-based and other organizations to inform and inspire positive change at the local level.

An Annual Conference.

The Bioneers Conference is a leading-edge forum where you can see tomorrow today: a future environment of hope. Social and scientific innovators focus on breakthrough solutions inspired by nature and human ingenuity. These visionaries are already creating the healthy, diverse, equitable and beautiful world we want to live in—our legacy for future generations and the web of life on which our lives depend. You can connect with hundreds or thousands of engaged folks making a real difference.
In 2008, more than 12,000 people attended our main Bioneers Conference in San Rafael, California and 18 local Beaming Bioneers satellite conferences across the country. Bioneers fosters connection, cross-pollination and collaboration by bringing together diverse people and projects. We link strategic networks at the local, regional, national and international levels.

A Systemic Framework.

The bioneers are engaged citizens from all backgrounds and fields who focus on solving our world’s most urgent problems within a framework of interdependence: It's all connected. Just as the web of life is intricately interconnected, so too are all environmental and social issues. We take a "solve-the-whole-problem" approach that is holistic, systemic and multidisciplinary.

A Network of Networks.

Bioneers fosters connection, cross-pollination and collaboration by bringing together diverse people and projects within a broadly progressive framework. We connect people with solutions and grow social capital for positive change by linking strategic networks on the local, regional, national and international levels.

A Catalyst for Restoration.

Sustainability is the dynamic midpoint between perpetual natural cycles of destruction and restoration. In this severely damaged and depleted world, we need to tip the scales toward restoration, regeneration and resilience to sustain the web of life for future generations.

An Oasis of Hope.

As a celebration of the dazzling genius of people and nature, Bioneers helps spark mass creativity and engagement. As author and social entrepreneur Paul Hawken said, "Bioneers is central to the re-imagination of what it means to be human."

Here is a link that will give you the program of the conference -

As you can see, I am overwhelmed by how to present the conference experience.  I can't do it.  But I think I'll at least list the speakers my sister, Joan, and I listened to while we were there:

(Among other things to kick off the conference was a performance by R. Carlos Nakai, whose music was so important to me over the years.  He is native American (Navajo/Ute) and plays a reed flute.  I remember soaking in my bathtub late at night, with candles lit, listening to Carlos Nakai.)

Opening remarks by co-founders Kenny Asubel and his wife, Nina Simons, are always so eloquent, inspiring and profound.  It would be worth the price of admission to just hear them talk.

John D. Liu
Restoration Writ Large:  Unleashing the Potential of Nature and People for Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration

Karen Brown
Revolutionizing K-12 Education with Sustainability in Mind

Roxanne Brown
Blue and Green:  Working Together to Secure a Sustainable Future

Rebecca Moore
Google Earth-Eye View:  Mapping Futue Environment of Hope

Gloria Steinem
When Women Are People... and Corporations Are Not:  Why the First Inequality Will Also Be The Last


Paul Stamets
Solutions from the Underground:  How Muchrooms Can Help Save the World

Natalia Greene (Equador)
The Rights of Nature:  An Idea Whose Time Has Come

Joshua Fouts
The Emerging Imagination Age

Anim Steel
The Real Food Challenge

Amory Lovins
Reinventing Fire


Melissa Nelson (Anishinaabe/Metis)
Revitalizing Indegeneity:  Eco-Cultural Knowledge and Reciprocity

Dayna Baumeister
Life's Operating Manual

Pam Rajput
Voices for Peace and Sustainable Development - The First Women's Parliament of India

Mary Evelyn Tucker
The Power of Story

Phillipe Cousteau
Continuing a Legacy:  Building a Sustainable World in the 21st Century

One of my quandries about how to present this was, for example, do I list the people who introduced the speakers?  That was an impressive group of people too.  sigh   You can fill a lot of gaps if you're interested by checking through the program (link is above).  Short bios of all the speakers and presenters are there.  The afternoons were filled with workshops on the most interesting subjects.

Here is what I chose to attend:

No Women, No Democracy:  From the Streets of Cairo to Your Family
My sister attended Leveraging White Privilege Toward Beloved Community

Thereafter, we did not attend any of the afternoon workshops because we had so far to travel to get to my daughter's house before dark.  But this is what I had signed up for:

Leadership at the Nexus:  When Women Thrive, Communities Thrive

I did attend this one:  Moonrise:  A Whole Systems Inquiry into Women Reinventing Leadership

Re-Envisioniing Education:  Transforming Schools to Cultivate the Wisdom of the Young

Campaign Connection:  Pursuing Happiness Instead of Chasing Growth - Creating a Happiness Initiative in Your Community

Genetic Engineering:  The Battle for Safe Food, Public Health and Environmental Sovereignty

Love That Works:  Developing an Ecology of Love and Unlocking the Mystery of Transformative Intimacy

Take a look at the program, and you will see that there are sooooo many diverse subjects being worked on.

Here are the few photos I took:
Marin Center, San Rafael, California where the conference is held

The workshops were spread around in different rooms, auditorium or tents

View from across the lake

Lots of juicy information all over the place

Imogen Heap and another musician performing.  She entertained a couple times and was terrific.

Gloria Steinem was impressive and inspiring

One of my workshops

Destiny Arts
"Destiny Arts Center is an Oakland, CA-based nonprofit violence prevention and arts education organization whose mission is to end isolation, prejudice and violence in the lives of young people....."

Saturday, November 26, 2011

6-13 October 2011 - London, California

My husband and I left our home in Coonoor, taking a taxi to Coimbatore airport where we flew to Chennai.    I flew on to London later that day; Gopal took a train to Delhi.

I landed in London on the 5th, went sightseeing on the 6th, then flew on to San Francisco the following day.

Dexter met me at SFO dressed in a kurta pajama I had bought him years ago.  He looked so cute,  I couldn't believe it!  (Turns out his parents had bribed him to wear the outfit.)

The first full day in Oakland, we all went for a walk.
Ramon, Dexter, Suzie

A little snake we encountered on our walk

One of the first things I did was put a bird feeder outside Dexter's bedroom window.   (No birds ever fed from it while I was there.)
On Monday, the 10th, I went to see my friend Tilak and his wife Nandani, who had come recently from Nepal.  It was magical to see her in the U.S. with him.  And it was nice to see Tilak's mother, Laxmi.

On Wednesday, Suzie's friend Jenny brought her new baby, Ellory, over to show us.  Suzie had a hard time keeping her hands off that baby. 

Jenny with Ellory's older brother, Oli
The next day my sister, Joan, came to stay over so we could go to the Bioneers Conference the following day.  Our brother, Todd, and his wife, Sharon, came by to eat take-out pizza and salad with all of us.  Coincidentally, it was Sharon's birthday.  It was fun.