2022 Talks

Bioneers 2022 Conference Media Hub

We’re in the thick of a civilizational stress test. It feels like a permanent five-alarm emergency, signaling that massive change is inevitable. But it’s more than just change – this scenario demands authentic transformation. Although the tide is turning, the existential challenge is that time is not on our side. We need to fast-forward the transformation. At Bioneers 2022, we dove deep into solutions, visions, strategies and paradigm shifts to do just that.

Please enjoy and share this collection of media from the 2022 Bioneers Conference: videos of the amazing keynotes, panels, performances, and more.


Kate Aronoff

Is “Responsible” Fossil Fuel Production Possible?

As one of the nation’s greatest investigative journalists and experts on climate politics, Kate Aronoff explores how policymakers’ toolbox will have to be expanded so that we can carry out a managed, orderly decline and ultimate end of the fossil fuel era, while giving us all a stake in our energy future.

Kenny Ausubel

Dancing on Thin Ice

Bioneers Co-Founder and CEO Kenny Ausubel outlines some of the issues we face and the movements growing from marginalized communities opening spaces for authentic metamorphosis.

Nick Estes

The Age of the Water Protector and Climate Chaos

Nick Estes describes the Anishinaabe people’s resistance to the “Line 3” pipeline in Minnesota, the outsized impact frontline Indigenous communities are having in resisting extractive industries, the importance Earth-centered approaches to fighting for Climate Justice, and the overarching goal of being “good ancestors of the future.”

Maxx Fenning


Maxx Fenning, founder and President of PRISM, a nonprofit organization that works to expand access to LGBT-inclusive education and sexual health resources for young people in South Florida, discusses his experiences standing on the shoulders of a decades-long fight for LGBT rights and how to help pass on the torch to a new wave of young activists.

Angela Glover Blackwell

Transformative Solidarity for a Thriving Multiracial Democracy

True solidarity requires stitching together what appears separate into a powerful, magnificent whole. Angela Glover Blackwell discusses transformative solidarity and why it’s necessary for a thriving multiracial democracy.

Helena and Nina Gualinga


California is the world’s largest consumer of oil from the Amazon rainforest. Two leading Indigenous Amazonian forest-protectors, sisters Nina and Helena Gualinga, who work closely with our friends at Amazon Watch, appeal to Californians (and all of us) to #EndAmazonCrude and demand corporate responsibility for people and planet.

Jason McLennan

From Reconciliation to Regeneration

Jason McLennan explores why physical demonstrations of better solutions are not enough to create change when society has not grappled with its deeper systemic trauma. If we are to participate fully in regenerating the conditions for life on the planet, a deeper process of reconciliation is necessary. To heal the planet, Jason argues, we must heal our culture.

Samuel Myers, MD

Planetary Health: Protecting Nature to Protect Ourselves

A leading figure in the study of the impacts on human health of the accelerating disruptions to Earth’s natural systems, Samuel Myers shares the guiding principles and implications of this newly emergent, rapidly growing field, recently dubbed “Planetary Health.”

Kevin J. Patel

Our Collective Ecosystems

Kevin Patel, a 21-year old Climate Justice activist who passionately demands that youth be listened to right now, not marginalized as “leaders of tomorrow,” recounts his own health challenges growing up in heavily polluted South Central Los Angeles and insists that climate action and ending racial and class disparities have to be inseparably linked in our movements.

Enric Sala

Protecting Our Life Support System: Challenges and Opportunities in Marine Conservation

Launched by the world-renowned National Geographic Explorer in Residence Enric Sala in 2008, the Pristine Seas project has helped protect 6 million square kilometers of ocean habitat. Enric discusses the vital importance of healthy oceans to humanity’s future and what Pristine Seas hopes to accomplish in the years ahead.

Zainab Salbi

Daughters for Earth

Women’s work and leadership in the fight against climate change are often not seen, appreciated, or funded. Daughters for Earth was founded to address that marginalization. Zainab Salbi, a co-founder of Daughters for Earth, explores the interconnection between our personal search for healing and how we face the challenges of climate change.

Nina Simons

Navigating the Nexus – Nature, Culture & the Sacred

“If you’re at all like me, you may be having trouble finding your way through the challenging confluence of crises we are facing these days.” Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons explores how we can support each other to make our way through the maze we’re currently facing.

Clayton Thomas-Müller

Reparations, Healing and Reconciliation—A Battle Against the Winter Spirit, Witigo’

Cree legends talk about the nefarious winter spirit Witigo’, which can possess you to such an extent that you become an all-consuming cannibal stricken with insatiable greed and hunger. Clayton Thomas-Müller offers this as an excellent metaphor for the mindset that has brought us the ravages of ruthless extractive capitalism and the oppression of First Peoples and other historically disenfranchised groups.

Alexandria Villaseñor

Working Together: Building Coalitions of Power in the Global Youth Climate Movement

An international youth organizer since the age of 13, Alexandria Villaseñor shares the unique ways in which a multicultural, geographically distributed youth movement is building trust, negotiating compromises, distributing decision-making and centering the stories, experiences and leadership of those most impacted in each action and campaign.

Karen Washington

911 Our Food System is Not Working

We can’t talk about a fair, just, and equitable food system without radical new thinking and putting in a lot work. Karen Washington, one of the most renowned and influential food activists of our era shares her wisdom and her analysis of why the food system doesn’t need to be fixed but has to be dramatically transformed.

Kongjian Yu

“Sponge Cities”: Visionary, Nature-Based Urban Design from China

What if cities were designed so that they could absorb excess rainfall, neutralize floods, and turn their streets green and beautiful in the process? Kongjian Yu is doing just that. His “sponge cities” and other revolutionary nature-based solutions are being implemented in well over 200 cities in China and beyond.


Daughters for Earth: Women and the Climate Change Movement


  • Zainab Salbi, Co-Founder of Daughters for Earth
  • Nina Simons, Co-Founder Bioneers
  • Justin Winters, co-founder and Executive Director of One Earth
  • Kahea Pacheco, Co-Director of Women’s Earth Alliance (WEA)
  • Helena Gualinga, co-founder of Polluters Out

Women all over the globe, especially in the “developing world,” are the ones who most often bear the brunt of having to contend with the radical disruptions visited upon their families and communities by climate change and environmental degradation, yet women’s voices are far too often ignored. Furthermore, climate change and physical and psycho-spiritual health are almost always discussed as separate issues, but the personal and the political, the heart and the mind are not just interconnected, they are all one. In this session, a panel of leading women activists explores the impact of climate change on women and how to assure their full inclusion in all climate solutions, how these struggles relate to the personal search for healing, and what it will take to create authentic global change.

Designing and Building a Regenerative, Restorative, and Just World, One Building at a Time


  • Deanna Van Buren, Co-Founder and Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
  • Jason McLennan, Partner & CEO of McLennan Design
  • Dawn Danby (host), Co-Founder of Spherical

Our laughably inefficient buildings account for some 40% of all U. S. primary energy use and associated greenhouse gas emissions. At the same time, our built environment also very often sickens, oppresses and alienates the humans who inhabit it. In this historic session, Bioneers was thrilled to be able to bring together for the first time two of the most visionary architects of our time, who, coming on very different career paths, are both at the forefront of radically expanding our sense of what a truly healthy, nature-honoring and socially equitable built environment could look like. Deanna Van Buren the co-founder and Executive Director of Designing Justice + Designing Spaces, is a leading figure in the movement to build “restorative” infrastructure that addresses in its very design the root causes of mass incarceration—poverty, racism, unequal access to resources, and the criminal justice system itself. Jason McLennan, arguably the most influential “green” architect of our era, has set a high bar, showing us what truly “living,” genuinely regenerative buildings can be. Can these two very different but equally imperative re-visionings of how we rethink the built environment be reconciled/synthesized? This conversation was moderated/hosted by Dawn Danby, co-founder of Spherical.

From Othering to Belonging


  • Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder in Residence of PolicyLink
  • john a. powell, Director of the Othering and Belonging Institute

How can we, as a society, move from “othering” to belonging. What and whom does othering actually benefit? How can we expand the circle of human concern and concern for nature? How can we live into our innate interconnection to create true inclusivity and wholeness? How do we build the structures, institutions, policies, cultures and stories that will support that inclusivity? Angela Glover Blackwell, Founder-in Residence at PolicyLink, which works to improve access and opportunity for all low-income people and communities of color, and john a. powell, renowned law professor, activist, and founder of the Othering and Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, discuss these critically important, existential questions.

Indigenous Pathways to a Regenerative Future


  • Sikowis (Plains Cree/Saulteaux), Founder of the Great Plains Action Society
  • Nick Estes (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe), Assistant Professor of American Studies at the University of New Mexico
  • Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yupik), Co-Director of the Bioneers Indigeneity Program

Indigenous Peoples already do “green jobs,” integrate cultural values into business activities, and protect 80% of the world’s remaining biodiversity. In order to transform our economies through Indigenous-led solutions, we need to uplift movements and stories inspired by Indigenous resistance. To do this, we must change the culture of philanthropy and “impact investing,” which still largely circulates in privileged circles. In this panel, Sikowis (Plains Cree/Saulteaux), Nick Estes (Lower Brule Sioux Tribe), and Alexis Bunten (Unangan/Yupik) discuss colonial-capitalism and how Indigenous-led strategies can offer us a pathway towards an equitable and regenerative future.

The Rights of Nature Movement in Indian Country and Beyond: From Grassroots to Mainstream


  • Frank Bibeau, Executive Director of The 1855 Treaty Authority
  • Thomas Linzey, Senior Legal Counsel for the Center for Democratic and Environmental Rights
  • Samantha Skenandore, Attorney/Of-Counsel at Quarles & Brady
  • Alexis Bunten (host), Co-Director of the Bioneers Indigeneity Program

The “Rights of Nature” movement seeks to protect rivers, mountains, and entire ecosystems and the life forms supported within them by recognizing and enshrining their rights in formal legal codes and constitutions. This legal framework offers a radically different worldview from current legal premises. Instead of being seen as property, nature as a whole and its various components would be formally recognized to have inherent rights to exist, persist, flourish and evolve, and these would be protected under the law. For over 15 years, the Rights of Nature movement has caught fire across the U.S. and the rest of the world in some of the most and least expected places, from tribal lands to “progressive” cities, to coal country, to Latin American nations. In this session, activist attorneys leading the movement in Indian Country and beyond give an update on their successes and the challenges ahead.


Performance by Alixa García

Video coming soon.

Alixa García, a Colombia-born, globally-raised, multi-disciplinary artist and cultural provocateur, is an award-winning poet, climate organizer and filmmaker, as well as a visual artist, musician, science-fiction writer and essayist. Her performance work with the duo Climbing PoeTree has been featured at hundreds of universities, conferences and festivals, and her visual work has been exhibited in major museums and public spaces, including in Times Square, NY, The Contemporary Museum of Art, L.A, and the Kunsthal Kade Museum, Netherlands, to name a few. García’s work has been published by Whit Press, North Atlantic, AK Press, & Hatchett.

Performance by Jason Nious and Antwan Davis of Molodi

Jason Nious, a performing artist and creative director whose background with high school step teams and NCAA gymnastics launched his career, has traveled extensively with Cirque du Soleil, Usher, Stomp, Step Afrika, and numerous theatre and film productions. As founder and Director of the Las Vegas, NV-based, award-winning body percussion ensemble, Molodi, Jason designs new touring productions and facilitates Molodi’s arts education program, reaching over 20,000 students per year. He also serves as an arts integration consultant with Focus 5, Cirque du Soleil, Cleveland Playhouse, and The Smith Center; and is an Artist-In-Residence with the Museum of Dance, Education Chair of the LAB LV Theatre Company, and regularly conducts in-school residencies through the Nevada Arts Council.

Antwan Davis, a multi-percussionist specializing in body-percussion, improv actor and stand-up comedian, co-founded the Las Vegas based performance arts company, Molodi, and has performed with the Las Vegas and North American productions of Stomp and toured nationally with Step Afrika. Antwan has been performing and teaching workshops in the U.S. and internationally for 14 years.

Performance by Jason Nious

Jason Nious, a performing artist and creative director whose background with high school step teams and NCAA gymnastics launched his career, has traveled extensively with Cirque du Soleil, Usher, Stomp, Step Afrika, and numerous theatre and film productions. As founder and Director of the Las Vegas, NV-based, award-winning body percussion ensemble, Molodi, Jason designs new touring productions and facilitates Molodi’s arts education program, reaching over 20,000 students per year. He also serves as an arts integration consultant with Focus 5, Cirque du Soleil, Cleveland Playhouse, and The Smith Center; and is an Artist-In-Residence with the Museum of Dance, Education Chair of the LAB LV Theatre Company, and regularly conducts in-school residencies through the Nevada Arts Council.

Closing Performance by Oakland’s own Thrive Choir

The Thrive Choir, the musical voice of Thrive East Bay and the global Thrive Network (a community and movement devoted to love in action by building equitable social systems), is an Oakland, California-based highly diverse group of vocalists, artists, activists, educators, healers, and community organizers who seek to celebrate the confluence of their many cultures and identities through their music. They have shared the stage with many nationally-acclaimed “engaged” artists and leading progressive figures and inspired thousands at marches, conferences and festivals. The Choir lifts up the house at Thrive Sundays in downtown Oakland.

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