What Are We Excited About at Bioneers 2016?

We’re getting so excited for the 2016 Bioneers Conference this October 21-23, 2016. We can’t wait to gather with you and explore critical conversations around climate leadership, biomimicry, indigenous knowledge, racial justice and so much more.

Bioneers is truly a unique gathering of diverse leaders and ideas that are more relevant than ever given all of the difficult news we’re facing these days. Below are some of our favorite staff picks for this year.

Brooke Shelby Biggs, Director of Communications

Don’t miss Gender, Race, Class and Violence: What’s Intersectionality Got to Do With It? with Eve Ensler and Kimberle Crenshaw. Not everybody knows that Crenshaw actually coined the term “intersectionality” and created the critical framework for understanding the world as essentially interconnected. Social and environmental issues cannot and should not be addressed in silos, because so many of them influence each other in small and large ways. You can’t tackle misogyny without also addressing poverty, labor, the environment, race and everything else. In this moment of global upheaval, Ensler and Crenshaw are crucial voices of reason, clarity, passion, and deep intellectual credibility. I’m a head-over-heels fan of these women.

J.P. Harpignies, National Bioneers Conference Associate Producer

I am especially intrigued to see what the rappers/poets/activists extraordinaire Climbing PoeTree  and the young wizard Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, who have wowed the crowd with their short performances the last few years. The winner of the first annual Biomimicry Award will be announced and awarded on our main stage, and that’s very exciting. We’re also featuring an amazing superstar panel of the nation’s leading climate activists with leaders from350.org (Bill McKibben and Clayton Thomas Muller), Greenpeace USA (our dear friend and longtime ally Annie Leonard), Green for All (Vien Truong), and the Sierra Club (Executive Director Mike Brune), a truly historic summit of green activists.

Alexis Bunten, Bioneers Indigeneity Program

At this year’s Bioneers’ conference, the Indigenous Forum is proud to host a panel on the topic of cross-cultural collaboration, and how to overcome. Respectful Collaborations: Indigenous Peoples, Indigenous Knowledge and Education invites Suzanne Benally (Navajo/Santa Clara Pueblo), Jeff Baker (Metis), Melissa K. Nelson (Turtle Mountain Anishinaabe) and Kaimana Barcarse (Native Hawaiian) to discuss how Indigenous science can be brought to collaborative communities in a culturally appropriate manner to foster more thoughtful and visionary leaders for changing educational paradigms around climate change, environmental and climate justice, Indigenous rights and science education.

This panel open too all Annual Bioneers Conference goers. We think it will especially interest those who want to support Indigenous communities fighting environmental injustices, or who are simply curious about Indigenous approaches to problem solving. It will be a safe and honest cross-cultural space to explore the embedded and invisible systems of inequality inherent in the broader environmentalism movement. We truly hope you can join us.

Nina Simons, Bioneers Co-Founder

I’m most jazzed this year about the relevance and timeliness of so much of Bioneers’ programming to the movement-building and ecological and social challenges in each day’s news, and how applicable so much of it may be to so many peoples’ learning, connecting and effective leadership.

Programs I’m especially honored that Bioneers is featuring combine unlikely elements like Ericka Huggins on spirituality and social justice, revealing the connective tissue that makes their optimal practice truly interdependent. Her self-responsibility, forgiveness and healing inform her work with restorative justice in ways I find jaw-droopingly inspiring.

Katsi Cook’s leadership in connecting a network of Indigenous women leading change across Indian Country also excites me massively, as I imagine that weaving that creative tissue may have immense and enduring benefits to so much essential, front-line work protecting and defending homelands, traditional ecological knowledge and cultural heritages. And getting to see Eve Ensler in a rare solo performance that celebrates the embodied and regenerative eros of the feminine body is a treat I’m anticipating with glee.

Vanessa Wahrheit, Communications Manager

I’m excited about the Family Fair, because I know my 11-year-old is going to have a blast – and with tandem tickets, my mom and my husband will be able to switch off watching him with attending all the pieces of the conference they want to see. I’m really excited to attend the two sessions on Media (Digging in and Shouting Out/Changing the Story) – and on Saturday night I’ll be getting down at the Dance Party!

Riley Leonard, Development Officer

Don’t miss Janine Benyus and the Biomimicry Global Design Challenge Award. Not only is Janine a personal hero of mine, but biomimicry is such a critical and fascinating movement – it’s hard not to be inspired! I’m also stoked for The Day After Tomorrow workshop on Saturday, and to hear from some of the world’s leading climate change experts. Annie Leonard and Bill McKibben are powerhouses that I studied in college, so to see them in action is incredible!

Cara Romero, Program Director of Bioneers Indigeneity Program

I am truly honored to bring the Aboriginal Truth and Reconciliation panel to the Bioneers Indigenous Forum 2016. Come and learn about The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada with invited guest Senator Murray Sinclair (Ojibway), Eriel Deranger (Chipweyan First Nations), Melina Laboucan Massimo (Lubicon Cree First Nation) Clayton Thomas-Muller (Colomb Cree First Nation), and Jeff Baker (Metis).  With reconciliation as the goal, the commission was set forth to address the atrocities that aboriginal peoples of Canada endured during the residential school era and the realities of trauma passed down from generation to generation.  Relationships between Aboriginal Peoples and mainstream Canadian society are the focus of reconciliation and revitalization.  We will be taking a look at current status of what has worked, what has not worked and how might we bring this legislation United States side.


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