Bioneers 2021 Day 1: Looking Beneath the Surface

Day 1 of the 2021 Bioneers Conference introduced brilliant speakers and inspirational conversations. We were asked repeatedly to look beneath the surface, both metaphorically (in the case of Deanna Van Buren asking us to inspect the way we design “justice”-related structures) and literally (as in the presentation on soil and food health from Anne Biklé and David Montgomery). Bioneers leaders brought new depth to enduring conversations about Indigenous wisdom, healing, agriculture, and art.

Following are some of our key takeaways from today.


  • “When people understand that real solutions do exist it leverages the potential for change.” -Kenny Ausubel & Nina Simons; Co-Founders | Bioneers
  • “There are some basic things that we need to create for healing. We have to create environments that are deeply embedded and connected to nature — that can moderate our fight, flight, and freeze responses. Spaces for refuge, that we can cool off in and leave. Spaces where we can break bread, embedding objects of comfort, light, sound, texture, and materials that are good for our senses. Integrating art into our space so that people can see themselves. These are the kinds of spaces for justice that we can begin to make.” -Deanna Van Buren; Executive Director | Designing Justice + Designing Spaces
  • “A message to the western world: I would like to tell them not to continue consuming gasoline and plastics that are not good for our health and the environment. I would like modern people to know where their oil comes from. It comes from the Amazon so they can have a good life in the city. It pollutes our water, our animals, and our land.” Nemonte Nenquimo; Co-Founder | Ceibo Alliance and Amazon Frontlines 
  • “I firmly believe that farming practices can deliver health. We need to lay down the weapons, back off of the toxins, and support biological bazaars. And that’s how we’re going to get to this. That is how we’re going to turn this trend around. When soil health gets better, crops and animals get better. Those become the animals and plant foods in the human diet, and it’s immensely helpful to us.” -Anne Biklé; Biologist, Avid Gardener and Author
  • ​​”When we look at climate justice, we have to look at the intersections of our relationships not just with each other but with the land. We have to look at the root causes of the systems that have brought us to this place. The beauty we are witnessing in this crisis is the power of community and the power of Indigenous Peoples.” -Eriel Deranger; Co-Founder and Executive Director | Indigenous Climate Action


  • Join Designing Justice + Designing Spaces in unbuilding racism by investing more thoughtfully, igniting radical imagination, and closing jails. (Mentioned in Deanna Van Buren’s keynote address: Achieving Equity in the Built Environment.)
  • Sign this letter from Indigenous Peoples to Ecuador’s Constitutional Court to support their right to make decisions about what happens to their home in the Amazon. (Mentioned by Nemonte Nenquimo in her keynote address: Indigenous Guardianship is Key to Halt the Climate Crisis.)
  • Read more about how to bring our planet’s soils back to life in Growing a Revolution by David Montgomery. (Mentioned in his keynote presentation with Anne Biklé: You Are What Your Food Ate.)
  • Tell UBS and JPMorgan Chase to exit Amazon oil and gas with Amazon Watch. (Mentioned by Leila Salazar-Lopez in the panel Averting a Hot, Toxic Endgame: Strategizing & Mobilizing for Crime Justice.)
  • Attend an Embodied Leadership for Funders & Donors course in January, an 8-week introductory embodied leadership program for leaders in the funding world who are committed to redistributing wealth. (Mentioned by Staci Haines in the panel Embodied Healing Approaches to Personal, Generational, and Socio-Political Trauma.)
  • Connect with women interested in climate action worldwide by joining the WECAN Network. (Mentioned by Osprey Orielle Lake in the panel Averting a Hot, Toxic Endgame: Strategizing & Mobilizing for Crime Justice.)


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