Wisdom from Beneath: Soil, Fungi, and the Ecosystems Beneath Us

With our planet in a climate emergency, an explosion in wealth inequality has led to a bizarre reality where billionaires continue to make news, dreaming of leaving the earth behind and adventuring into space. If we’re lucky, maybe they will… While some find it easier to imagine a future in the stars, extraordinary scientists and researchers are revealing the fascinating reality of the dynamic ecosystems beneath our feet — in the incredibly complex interrelationships of plants, bacteria, fungi, insects and minerals that life aboveground depends on.

This week we share presentations and discussions featuring some of the world’s leading experts on underground ecosystems, including Suzanne Simard, Ann Biklé, and David R. Montgomery.

Suzanne Simard – Dispatches From the Mother Trees

Suzanne Simard is one of the planet’s most influential, groundbreaking researchers on plant communication and intelligence. In her presentation at the 2021 Bioneers Conference, Suzanne discussed the dire global consequences of logging old-growth rainforests and nature-based solutions that combine Western science and Indigenous knowledge for preserving and caring for these invaluable forest ecosystems for the future generations.

Watch here.

David Montgomery and Anne Biklé – You Are What Your Food Ate

The intimate connections between the life of the soil and the nutritional quality of food points to the profound importance of farming practices that can imbue the human diet with the nutrients and compounds that underpin health, or rob us of them. In this presentation from the 2021 Bioneers Conference, geologist David Montgomery and biologist Anne Biklé share the growing body of scientific evidence linking soil health with human health discuss how a growing vanguard of farmers pioneering regenerative practices is proving that farming practices that are good for the land are good for us too.

Watch here.

Call for Submissions! Bioneers Conference – Artist Application 2022

Bioneers invites artists to bring captivating, compelling, and inspiring art to the 2022 Bioneers Conference, which will be held at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, May 13-15th, 2022. Learn more about how you can share your art with the Bioneers community!

Learn more here.

Lessons from the Underground

Most people live and move through life without a second thought ABOUT the extraordinarily dynamic life hidden beneath our feet. In this recorded conversation, three of the world’s leading specialists on different aspects of those underground ecosystems share their cutting-edge research. Moderated by Bioneers’ Restorative Food Systems Director Arty Mangan, this conversation features Suzanne Simard, Ph.D., Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia, one of the planet’s leading experts on the synergies and complexities of forests and husband and wife duo, Anne Biklé and David R. Montgomery, both scientific researchers whose groundbreaking work on the microbial life of soil has revealed its crucial importance to human wellbeing and survival.

Watch here.

Scaling Up Permaculture

At a time when the world is desperate for a new approach to living on the planet, can permaculture scale up to create the global ecological and social changes that are needed for human survival? Hosted by Permaculturalist Penny Livingston, this 2021 Bioneers Conference session features Permaculture co-founder David Holmgren, Permaculture magazine co-founder, and editor Maddy Harland, and author and regenerative farmer Mark Shepard.

Watch here.

Guardians of the River — Online Course

How can we reconnect with water and understand our relationship with water bodies based on values of kinship? In this unique online course from Guardians Worldwide, learn from practitioners from many different nations about traditional water knowledge and global confluences of water thinking. Want to become a River Guardian? Use code “bioneers 20” for an exclusive 20% discount.

Learn more here.

The Latest from Bioneers.org:

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  • Reflecting on the 400 Year Anniversary of “the First Thanksgiving | Marking the 400 year anniversary of Thanksgiving, Alexis Bunten and Tony Perry attended the 51st National Day of Mourning in Plymouth Massachusetts. In this piece co-authored by Alexis and Tony, they both reflect on American history, mythos, and the mourning of injustice. 
  • The Legacy of Wangari Maathai | Among the most prominent environmental activists of the last century is the late Professor Wangari Maathai, who founded the Green Belt Movement and inspired hundreds of thousands of people around the world to push for environmental progress. In this article, we honor the legacy of Wangari and her important contributions to climate justice. 
  • Democracy vs. Plutocracy: Behind Every Great Fortune Lies a Great Crime | In the first part of this two-part radio and podcast episode, we travel back and forth in time to explore the battle between democracy and plutocracy that goes back to the very founding of the United States. The extreme concentration of corporate power and the prevalence of monopoly are indeed inarguable. If the solution is once again to throw the tea in the harbor, what does that look like in the 21st century? 
  • 15 World-Changing Books to Gift this Holiday Season | In the season of giving, here are 15 world-changing books from the Bioneers community! Each of these books has had excerpts featured on our website. Each book can be purchased at your local bookstore or via the Bioneers Bookstore on Bookshop.org.
  • A Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis | In a viral moment that captured the world’s attention at the 2020 World Economic Forum, Vanessa Nakate had been cropped out of a picture where she posed alongside other youth activists where she was the only person of color in the photo. In her new book, The Bigger Picture: My Fight to Bring a New African Voice to the Climate Crisis, Vanessa writes about the bigger picture of the global climate struggle often ‘cropped out’ of the fight against climate change. 
  • Democracy and the Power of Connection: An Interview with Frances Moore Lappé | Frances Moore Lappé is a longtime food and human rights activist who received the prestigious Right Livelihood Award (often referred to as the “Alternative Nobel”) “for revealing the political and economic causes of world hunger and how citizens can help to remedy them.” In this interview, Frances discusses how she’s seen the world’s food system evolve. 

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