Bioneers 2021 Day 3: Honoring Our Connections

The final day of the 2021 Bioneers Conference is coming to an end, and we’re beyond inspired by everything we’ve learned and every Bioneers in our community. 

Appropriately, today’s speakers reminded us of the importance of drawing connections and honoring life’s intersections. Just as we all came together this week to grow — by attending the Conference or simply by reading these emails — nature relies on points of connection, exemplified by the mother trees in old-growth forests studied by keynote speaker Suzanne Simard. Effective movements rely on intersectionality and ensuring no group is left behind, which keynote speakers Manuel Pastor and Alexia Leclercq expertly spoke about. It is clear now more than ever before that we need each other. Our connections are our strength.

Following are some of our key takeaways from today. Thank you deeply for your support of this year’s Bioneers Conference.


Bioneers is excited to announce the dates for our return to a live in-person gathering, May 13-15, 2022. Please save the date and sign up below for more information and to be notified when the program is announced and registration opens!

KENNY AUSUBEL – The Sting: The Role of Fraud in Nature

Bioneers Co-Founder Kenny Ausubel’s address is a highlight of every Bioneers Conference. The full text of his talk from today is now available to read online. You can find it here.


  • “First, we need to center the struggle for racial equity and against racism. Second, we need to craft a new economic story that can become common sense, a new economic story that recognizes our mutuality, a new economic story that motivates us for social change. And third, we’re only really going to get there if we commit to social movements for change.” -Manuel Pastor; Director | Equity Research Institute, USC + Solidarity Economics
  • “Nature is sending us extravagant distress signals these days. Earth is a hot mess. From COVID to climate catastrophe to fascism, the perils of disinformation are a matter of life and death. … We’d better get really good, really fast at reading Nature’s mind. The stakes are too high to keep drinking the collective Kool-Aid.” -Kenny Ausubel; Co-Founder | Bioneers
  • “Forests are so important globally because even though they only cover one-third of our land area, they store between 70 and 80% of the carbon in the terrestrial systems. They’re home to 80% of the species. They provide 80% of our clean water. They provide the oxygen we breathe. They are absolutely fundamental to our life support systems. And so saving these old-growth forests now is the number one thing that we need to do.” -Suzanne Simard; Professor of Forest Ecology | University of British Columbia
  • “Social justice is climate justice because the root cause is the same. If we don’t center social justice in the fight for climate justice, we won’t get anywhere.” -Alexia Leclercq; Co-Founder | Start: Empowerment
  • “Being wealthy within some of our nations meant that the more you gave the wealthier you were. I think that confuses people sometimes. It’s foreign to settler mentality. We need to build an Indigenous-led regenerative economy built on compassion.” -Sikowis Nobiss; Founder | Great Plains Action Society
  • “We need to prioritize nature-based solutions instead of grey infrastructure. It’s integrating community at every level and it also starts with looking at solutions that center restoration and regeneration first before we build a bunch of stuff on top of it.” -Ariel Whitson; Director of Education and Community | TreePeople
  • “The first time I spoke before my City Council about climate change, I told them I was scared. Then others started coming up to me and saying they were scared, too. I realized we’re not alone facing systemic injustice, and that’s what gives me hope.” -Artemisio Romero y Carver; Co-Founder | Youth United for Climate Crisis Action (YUCCA)
From top left and clockwise: Rising Appalachia, Nalleli Cobo, Manuel Pastor, Suzanne Simard


  • Support Start:Empowerment, a BIPOC-led social and environmental justice education non-profit working with schools, teachers, community organizations and leaders to implement justice-focused curriculum and programming. (Mentioned by Alexia Leclercq in her keynote address.)
  • Learn more about the importance of mother trees for forest and environmental preservation with The Mother Tree Project. (Mentioned by Suzanne Simard in her keynote address.)
  • Take an interactive tour through LA’s urban oil drilling sites and their impact on the children, families, and Angelenos who live near them. (Mentioned by Nalleli Cobo in her keynote address.)
  • Become a community forester with TreePeople and create your own tree-planting events. (Mentioned by Ariel Lew Ai Le Whitson in the panel Biophilic Infrastructure: Letting Nature Lead the Way)
  • Find action tools to help make sure your campus is herbicide-free. (Mentioned by Mackenzie Feldmanin the panel Our Power: Exemplary Young Activists—the 2021 Brower Youth Awards Winners.)
  • Support Climate Resolve, which is tackling climate change, creating a thriving California and inspiring others to act. (Mentioned by Natalie Hernandez in the panel Solidarity Economics: Our Economy, Our Planet, Our Movements.)


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