Putting Community Rights and Rights for Nature Above Corporation Rights
Bioneers was founded on the premise that most of the solutions to our major ecological and social crises already exist. This is even truer today than it was 27 years ago. Why then has the global crisis ratcheted up from urgency to emergency?
The rhinoceros in the room is corporate power. Perhaps the greatest single cause of inequality and runaway environmental destruction is the concentration of extreme wealth and power by corporations and moneyed interests. Meanwhile, they’ve perfected legal frameworks that afford them the legal constitutional standing and rights of “personhood,” but without most of the responsibilities or consequences we individual “persons” have to face.
This year’s Bioneers Conference highlights a stellar line-up of groundbreaking leaders in the growing movement to overturn this preposterous plutocracy and “democracy theme park.” Thomas Linzey and Mari Margil of the Community Environmental Legal Defense Fund are true legal revolutionaries who have now helped hundreds of communities to successfully challenge the corporate juggernaut in their backyards. They are advancing radical new legal frameworks that privilege the rights of communities and enshrine “Rights for Nature” in local jurisprudence and national constitutions (most notably in Ecuador and Bolivia). Following their joint keynote on Friday, October 21st, Linzey and Margil will host a practical workshop along with Shannon Biggs of Movement Rights, sharing tested and practical organizing strategies that all of us can take home to our communities.
On Friday night, we’ll be hosting the international premiere of an exciting new film about Thomas and Mari’s work, We the People 2.0. Directed by Leila Conners, who co-directed Leonardo DiCaprio’s powerful movie “The Eleventh Hour,” the screening will include an introduction by Thomas and Mari.
Other keynotes and accompanying afternoon panels will directly address deconstructing corporate power, as well as how to create equitable and life-affirming economic models for a green and just economy.
Bill McKibben, the most influential climate activist of our era, a brilliant journalist and a founder of 350.org, will deliver a keynote on Saturday the 21st, sharing his vision of how we can turn the tide in the face of corporate power including the fossil fuel industry’s decades-long disinformation campaign to sustain profits and knowingly destabilize the earth’s climate. He’ll join an afternoon strategy summit, The Day After Tomorrow: A Post-Paris/Pre-Election Climate Summit with visionary climate leaders Annie Leonard of Greenpeace, Indigenous activist and 350.org campaigner Clayton Thomas-Muller, Vien Truong of Green for All, and the Sierra Club’s Michael Brune.
Two other dynamic keynotes on Sunday, October 23, will continue the conversation. Green entrepreneur Danny Kennedy, co-founder of Sungevity and Managing Director of the innovative California Clean Energy Fund, will illustrate how to achieve a clean, distributed, and democratized energy system. Vien Truong of Green for All will show how the exemplary California climate policy model puts environmental justice front and center as both an effective climate strategy and a powerful engine of equity and jobs. That afternoon, Danny, Vien and sustainability guru Gil Friend (founder and chairman of Natural Logic and currently Chief Sustainability Officer of the City of Palo Alto, CA) will team up to jam about how best to scale up our efforts to create irresistible momentum toward a green and just economy.
And there’s so much more!!
No Time for Half Measures: Upending Destructive Paradigms. These leading thinker-activists are working to move beyond our deeply flawed economic system and help birth a new world with social justice and climate stability at the heart. With: the incomparable Annie Leonard, Executive Director of Greenpeace USA, and Alnoor Ladha and Jess Rimington of The Rules, an exciting new think tank
Mass Movements: Rising to Address Economic Inequality: Learn about successful struggles to empower workers and create equity. With: Annette Bernhardt, UC Berkeley Labor Center; Saru Jayaraman, ROC United; Andrea Dehlendorf, OUR Walmart; and Laphonza Butler, Fight for $15.
Flexing Our Power: Creating an Economy For Life: This powerful session will explore how frontline communities are resisting and building new governance structures rooted in deep democracy, cooperation, and clean energy. It’s co-produced with The Climate Justice Alliance and features Miya Yoshitani, Asian Pacific Environmental Network; Mateo Nube, Movement Generation; Jihan Gearon, Black Mesa Water Coalition; and Antonio Diaz, PODER.
Leveraging Business for Good: A select group of visionary, mission-driven, socially and eco-conscious entrepreneurs will show how they are achieving business success demonstrates by adopting a very different model of business, sometimes called “Capitalism 2.0.”
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