Bioneers 2021 Day 2: Finding Balance

As the second day of the 2021 Bioneer Conference winds to a close, we’re reflecting on the necessity of balance. Today, we heard leaders talk about the importance of finding balance within ourselves as well as working toward balance as a society and planet. We’re grateful for their words of wisdom.

Following are some of our key takeaways from today.

NINA SIMONS: From Discipline to Discipleship: Cultivating Love, Collaboration & Imagination

The full text of Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons’ keynote address from this morning is now available to read online. You can find it here.


  • “Colonial capitalist cosmology is driving damage around the globe in ways that are making a healthy life for humans impossible, and that damage will continue until the cosmology and the systems it imagines into reality are abolished and replaced with ones that recognize our interconnectedness and ones that center care.” -Rupa Marya; Faculty Director | Do No Harm Coalition + Founder | The Deep Medicine Circle
  • “Those of us who want to help make positive change in the world have got to grapple with the vast imbalance of the power differentials we face. Our class and racial inequities are so systemic and so ingrained that no matter how hard I try, I continue to discover my own blind spots and embedded patterns of white supremacy and privilege. It’s excavation work we’ve got to be willing to undertake, no matter how uncomfortable it is, as the need is so urgent and great.” -Nina Simons; Co-Founder | Bioneers
  • “There might be ways that our humanity and our collective future can be brightened if you have it in your heart to believe that the civilizing mission was wrong, that the St. Joseph’s missions of the worlds had it all backwards, that in fact, in the long run, it’s all of you who have something to learn from all of us; that maybe America, Canada and the so-called ‘civilized’ world should become just a little bit more indigenous rather than the other way around.” -Julian Brave NoiseCat; Director of Green New Deal Strategy | Data for Progress
  • “It’s going to take young people recognizing our power, getting the resources and the skills that we need to harness that power, and then ultimately creating the change that we deem necessary in our local communities. There has never been a large successful movement for change without young people.” -Alexandria Gordon; Student Organizer | Florida PIRG Students 
  • “It is not okay to assign saving the world to 17-year-olds as if it’s some kind of homework problem. They cannot do it themselves. They need the rest of us backing them up, and in particular, I think, they need those of us in the baby boomer and silent generations, those of us above the age of 60.” -Bill McKibben | + Third Act
  • “I think we have to uplift the complexities of our people and realize that they’re not just one thing. That person selling drugs has a story. We have to uplift that story and not just condemn people.” -Jason Seals; Professor of African American Studies and Chair of Ethnic Studies | Merritt College
  • “People who have been oppressed have had to struggle to survive, and that struggle has also informed us as women as to what the imbalances are. Where the challenge is. It is time to hear and learn from all the unseen and unspoken and unheard. That includes the voice of Mother Earth and nature. It is the time of women rising.” -Osprey Orielle Lake; Founder and Executive Director | Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International
From top left clockwise: Bill McKibben, Rupa Marya, Julian Brave NoiseCat, Alexandria Gordon


  • Support The Deep Medicine Circle, a WOC-led, worker-directed nonprofit organization dedicated to repairing critical relationships that have been fractured through colonialism. (Mentioned by Rupa Marya in her keynote address.)
  • Ban fossil fuel advertising and sponsorships by signing this Greenpeace petition, which has almost reached its goal. (Mentioned by Michelle Jonker-Argueta in the panel Tell it to the Judge, Big Oil)
  • Download the Student PIRGs activist toolkit, which provides the basic tools to run strong campaigns and win victories for students and the public interest. (Mentioned by Alexandria Gordon in her keynote address.)
  • Get involved with Third Act, a new campaign that invites people over 60 to harness their collective power to impact major movements. (Mentioned by Bill McKibben in his keynote address.)
  • Read this 2021 report that details the gendered and racial impacts of the fossil fuel industry in North America and complicit financial institutions. (Mentioned by Osprey Orielle Lak in the panel Nature + Justice + Women’s Leadership: A Strategic Trio for Effective Change)
  • Support Data for Progress, a multidisciplinary group of experts using state-of-the-art techniques in data science to support progressive activists and causes. (Mentioned by Julian Brave NoiseCat in his keynote address.)
  • Hold big oil accountable for decades of deception by signing this Center for International Environmental Law petition. (Mentioned by Carroll Muffett in the panel Tell it to the Judge, Big Oil)


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