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News from Bioneers | May 22, 2012

In this Issue!
Sneak Peak No More! The 2012 Bioneers Conference Program
Two Landmark Conference Intensives: Feminomics and Resilient Communities
Awards Bonanza for the 2011 Bioneers Radio Series
Five More Beaming Bioneers Sites Sign On
Kenny Ausubel's New Forthcoming Book
Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award News
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Micro Docs


23rd Annual Bioneers Conference

Friday - Sunday

October 19-21, 2012

Marin Center

San Rafael, California


Pre- and Post- Conference Intensives

October 18 & 22, 2012


Resilient Communities


Indigenous Knowledge






Best rates for the conference available now!

Ai-Jen Poo
 Bioneers 2012 Plenary Speaker Ai-jen Poo Named to Time Magazine's 2012 "100 Most Influential People in the World" 


Ai-jen Poo, co-director of Caring Across Generations, is one of the most dynamic young leaders working to include new constituencies in the labor movement and to build broad coalitions and alliances. Caring Across Generations is a national coalition of 200 advocacy organizations working together for a dignified quality of life for all Americans. Ai-jen is also director of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, a national alliance of domestic workers in 19 cities and 11 states, working to gain respect, recognition, and protections for America's 2.5 million domestic workers, among the most disenfranchised groups in the nation. 


Here's an excerpt from Gloria Steinem's short description of Ai-jen Poo's inspired leadership, from the Time Magazine website:


"Once in a while, there comes along a gifted organizer - think of the radical empathy of Jane Addams or the populist tactics of Cesar Chavez - who knows how to create social change from the bottom up. Ai-jen Poo, the 38-year-old daughter of pro-democracy immigrants from Chiang Kai-shek's Taiwan, has been growing into that role ever since she was a student outraged by the stories of domestic workers, often immigrants or women of color, who labored long hours for low pay as maids, nannies and other household workers."


Read the full transcript from Gloria Steinem here - and join us in welcoming Ai-jen Poo as a plenary speaker at Bioneers 2012!


 Paul Stamets & Fungi Perfecti Collaborate with
Washington State University 
 on Innovative Urban Storm Water Treatment Project 

Researchers at Fungi Perfecti will collaborate with environmental engineers at WSU to develop a bacteria-eating filter to remove E. coli from storm water. 

A recent Small Business Innovative Research award from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) will foster the development of a novel technology for removing bacteria from storm water runoff. Termed mycofiltration, this approach uses the web-like tissue of mushroom-forming fungi to capture and degrade environmental pollutants before they can reach sensitive water bodies. In collaboration with a research team led by Dr. Marc Beutel at Washington State University, Fungi Perfecti's research effort will help address the leading cause of critically impaired waters nationwide -- bacteria. 
While this project has long been a self-funded labor of love for Paul Stamets and Dusty Yao, owners and directors of the research laboratories of Fungi Perfecti, this award marks a significant milestone in the development of this technology. "It is gratifying that an organization as influential as the EPA recognizes the potential value of this technology. We have been advocating for mycological solutions to environmental problems for many years, and this award will help put those solutions to work," commented Stamets, who conceived this technology after an outdoor mushroom bed made of woodchips and mycelium removed bacteria from an upland animal pasture on his small waterfront farm -- much to his and the Health Department's surprise. 
Read the full press release from Fungi Perfecti here.


Thank you, New Mexico Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts, for honoring Nina Simons as part of their "Year of the Remarkable Woman." This cultural consortium is recognizing Nina for her unique use of the arts, story-telling and creativity to inspire and activate engaged leadership.


Tickets for the May 29th Santa Fe luncheon are available at Nina will be sharing personal reflections on women's leadership, full spectrum leadership, the environment, and the call to engaged action. She will also be signing copies of Moonrise, the Power of Women Leading From the Heart.   



Brazilian President Dilma's "Wake-Up Call"


A Forestry Code Petition Campaign


Visit Avaaz, a global web movement to bring people-powered politics to decision-making everywhere, for background on one of this group's current petition campaigns:  


"To President Dilma Rousseff : 

We call on you to take immediate action to save Brazil's precious forests by vetoing the Forestry Code. We also urge you to prevent further murders of environmental activists and workers by increasing law enforcement against illegal loggers and ramping up protection for people at risk from violence or death. The world needs Brazil to be an international leader on the environment, your strong action now will safeguard the planet for future generations."  

judi bari

 Who Bombed Judi Bari?     


A film by Mary Liz Thomson and Darryl Cherney at the Bioneers Moving Image Festival 2012   


Who Bombed Judi Bari? will be screened at this year's Bioneers Moving Image Festival. In 1990 in Oakland, California, two Earth First! activists survive a car bombing only to be blamed by the FBI for the bombing themselves. The victim/suspects, Judi Bari and Darryl Cherney, later sued the FBI and Oakland Police while Bari was fighting cancer before her case went to trial. Join Producer Darryl Cherney plus other special guests for a post-screening discussion. Register here for the Bioneers Conference and catch this and other important films at the Moving Image Festival. 

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There's a lot to report this month, including the full program for the 2012 Bioneers conference, two especially exciting intensives, a grant to help catalyze the possible formation of a Resilient Communities Network, a wheelbarrow full of awards for our 2011 radio series, Kenny Ausubel's forthcoming new book, and the Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award. In the months leading up to conference time, we'll keep highlighting parts of the program and special behind-the-scenes insights about what you can expect.


Bioneers 2012 Plenary Speakers 

Sneak Peak No More! The 2012 Bioneers Conference Program


The full 2012 Bioneers conference program is up and running here. As always, we'll cover the waterfront with a richly diverse kaleidoscope spanning many worlds.


The overarching theme of "Emergence" is visible in these action-oriented leaders who are birthing a future environment of hope on the ground in both practical and visionary ways. Again and ongoing, we're taking an action orientation with rich opportunities for you to get directly engaged with initiatives, campaigns and other action steps, as well as lots of networking opportunities with all the amazing folks who come to Bioneers.


Register now and don't miss the early-bird super-saver discount. It's available through May 31st.


Since our e-newsletter last month, we finalized the last three plenaries: Paul Hawken, Marina Silva and Sandra Steingraber.


Paul Hawken is among the great visionary social entrepreneurs and authors of our time. Most recently, his best-selling book Blessed Unrest chronicled the "largest movement on Earth," a topic about which he gave two related landmark Bioneers plenaries during the book's development. He spent over a decade researching organizations dedicated to restoring the environment and fostering social justice, a movement that has no name, leader, or location, and that has gone largely ignored by politicians and the media. Fundamentally, the book is a description of humanity's collective genius, and the unstoppable movement to reimagine our relationship to the environment and one another. Currently Paul is focused on the new solar company One Sun with biomimicry masters Janine Benyus and John Warner (the green chemist and Bioneers speaker). It's a disruptive technology that mimics the chemistry of photosynthesis and can provide inexpensive distributed solar energy worldwide. Paul's other classic books include The Ecology of Commerce and Natural Capitalism. His talk is titled "Regeneration." That's all he'll say for now!


Marina Silva is the legendary Amazonian defender of the rainforest and its peoples. She was the first rubber tapper ever elected to Brazil's federal Senate. She served as Minister of the Environment under Lula, and ran as the 2010 Green Party Presidential candidate, gaining an astonishing 19 percent of the vote. Her talk is titled "The Challenge of Sustainable Development: New Models." She will depict how we can balance protecting the Amazon and other vital ecosystems with sane development that brings people out of poverty without destroying the environment. We are deeply honored at her participation in Bioneers, with special thanks to Atossa Soltani of Amazon Watch and Jeffrey Bronfman for helping invite and bring her.


Sandra Steingraber is an award-winning author, biologist and specialist on environmental health. In her talk "The Whole Fracking Enchilada," she'll explore the threats to climate and public health from extreme energy extraction including hydraulic fracturing (fracking). From strip-mining of frack sand in Wisconsin that releases carcinogenic silica dust into the air -- to the deep-well injection of fracking waste in Ohio that has been linked to earthquakes -- these new methods of blasting hydrocarbons from the earth are shock-and-awe operations. Of particular interest in this talk are the living organisms that inhabit Earth's deep geological strata. Far from being inert, our nation's bedrock is an underground "coral reef" of microbes, another invisible ecosystem that's linked in ways not yet fully understood to life here on the sunlit surface of our planet. Sandra was the 2011 recipient of the Heinz Award for her research and writing on environmental health. She donated the $100,000 cash prize to the fight against hydraulic fracturing, convening the grassroots coalition New Yorkers Against Fracking. In 2010, her book Living Downstream on the environmental links to cancer was released as a documentary film. Her most recent book is Raising Elijah: Protecting Children in an Age of Environmental Crisis.


On the good news/bad news front, biomimicry master Janine Benyus will not be with us at this year's conference after all. The good news is that instead she'll be having lunch that day at the White House as one of the winners of the 13th annual National Design Awards, a program of The Smithsonian's Cooper-Hewitt National Design Museum in Washington DC. The National Design Awards program is Cooper-Hewitt's largest and most widespread educational initiative and celebrates the full spectrum of American design practice. Janine was selected for the Design Mind award. Yay, Janine, and huge props to all our dear long-time friends at the Biomimicry Institute. Janine has promised to come to Bioneers in 2013 and sends warmest regards to everyone.

Two Landmark Conference Intensives:  

Feminomics and Resilient Communities


Why Feminomics?


When you improve the status, rights and equity of women, global studies consistently show that everything around them improves -- from economics to environment, education, health, peace and security. Given that much of the destruction globally results from economic motives, shifting the values, structures and practices of the economy is central, and women seem destined to play a decisive role.


This one-day intensive will explore how women, a gender lens, and valuing the wellbeing of people and planet can converge to inform new visions for finance, business, economics and culture. You can gather with leading-edge thinkers and doers, innovators and practitioners across investment, business, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, finance, justice, policy and politics. We'll learn, connect and share promising practices toward an inclusive vision that taps diverse voices, models and innovations to turn the tide toward a life-affirming and just economy and world.


It's an exceptional array of speakers, and there's already a lot of energy building. Space is limited and interest is high, so register now.


Sparking a Resilient Communities Network: Methods and Madness


This landmark gathering will feature leading models, strategies and tools for building resilience at the community, local and regional levels. We'll also highlight the opportunity for a Resilient Communities Network nationally and globally. It's a "collaboratory" with extensive participation and engagement by participants.


We deeply thank the Thriving Resilient Communities Collaboratory for co-sponsoring the event, and the Threshold Foundation for its grant as partial support for the event and for the innovative "systems mapping" sketch map that we'll unveil at the gathering.


In the face of the Great Disruption, the key is building resilience, both ecological and social, while making the successful transformation to a sustainable civilization. Principles of resilience thinking include systems thinking, fostering the system's capacity to adapt to dramatic change, and diversity of stakeholders and responses. It requires greater decentralization, localization and redundancies while building community empowerment and social capital.


Mounting numbers of communities, cities, states and regions are acting as laboratories of resilience practices and democracy. We'll highlight innovative models, approaches and tools for restructuring systems of energy, food, water, finance and governance.


We'll illuminate the opportunity to create a Resilient Communities Network. Global Action Networks (GANs) are a new form that ties together businesses, governments and NGOs in a super-web of connections to realize the scale and direction of change necessary to address the 21st century's critical challenges and opportunities.


We'll present a "sketch" systems map of Resilient Communities drawn from diverse thought leaders and doers. Collaboratory discussion circles will invite group dialogue. Participants will locate themselves in relevant action-domain nodes. A structured networking lunch will offer further opportunity for focused connection, plus a closing reception.


The speakers reflect a remarkable expanse of unique and highly effective models of community and regional resilience, as well as deep expertise in action networks. We're deeply grateful for their participation. Space is limited and interest is high, so register now.

Bioneers Radio Series Wins 12 More International Awards


Radio Series XIIWe're honored to report that our 2011 radio series Bioneers: Revolution From the Heart of Nature just garnered an astonishing 12 awards in the national-international Communicator Awards. 11 of the 13 shows in the annual series won, along with our one-hour special, Natural Magic. There were three Awards of Excellence (like a gold medal) and three Awards of Distinction (like a silver). The Excellence awards went to: Bread and Roses, with Annie Leonard ("The Story of Stuff") and John deGraaf (Take Back Your Time); All Love Begins with Seeing, with poet and performance artist Shailja Patel; and Upscaling Goodness, with Andy Lipkis, Founder and President of TreePeople.


Honestly, the number of awards took our breath away. The radio team had been telling us it was the best series ever, but hey, these things are very subjective and can be wildly capricious in terms of taste and competition. 


So we give thanks, and above all we're grateful because it helps our ongoing distribution to reach millions more listeners every year.


The series distribution keeps growing steadily, now reaching over 450 stations, including about 50 in 12 other countries. Total US market coverage is well over 120 million potential listeners (we're not sure about the international numbers). We're thrilled that the one-hour special aired in major markets such as KQED in San Francisco and KJZZ in Phoenix and Tucson.


Huge props to our radio team, including Executive Producer and Co-Writer Kenny Ausubel, Co-Writer Catherine Stifter, Senior Producer and Co-Writer Neil Harvey, and Managing Producer Stephanie Welch.


The new 2012 series is complete (click here for the full brochure), and we'll be posting the shows on our website for listening within a month. It starts airing on stations July 1st. The radio team says it's as good as last year's. Stay tuned...


In the meantime, don't forget, all shows from the 2011 season are available for listening here. We're thrilled to make this work accessible with your support. It's our donors and series underwriters who make the series possible. So thanks to all of you and to Organic Valley Family of Farms, Park Foundation and John Masters Organics.

More Beaming Bioneers Satellite Conference Sites Sign On

Whidbey Island, Washington (October 19-21, 2012)

Presented by the Whidbey Institute


Now in its third year as a Beaming Partner, the Whidbey Institute is thrilled to be serving as a home and convening space for a dynamic, engaging, and enlivening gathering of changemakers from throughout the Pacific Northwest area for a weekend of collaboration and deep thinking, all of which is in perfect alignment with its mission to inspire and renew people to serve a future that sustains us all. Located on 70 acres of pristine forest on Whidbey Island, the Institute exists to cultivate and sustain the work of leaders in the areas of sustainability, spirit, and social change.  


River Grove, Illinois (Dates TBA)

Presented by the Triton Sustainability Center


Triton College is new to Beaming Bioneers and many members of the campus community are excited to be a part of this important initiative. The Sustainability Center, Greening the Campus Committee and Center for Teaching Excellence are engaged in collaborative planning about how best to use this valuable resource to help inform and educate the campus and surrounding communities.


Godfrey, Illinois (October 19-21, 2012)

Presented by Lewis and Clark Community College


Lewis and Clark is one of three member institutions in the Illinois Green Economy Network that will host Beaming Bioneers gatherings this coming fall (the others are Triton College in River Grove and McHenry Community College in Crystal Lake). There are four requirements for participation in IGEN: green communities, green campus, green curriculum, and green workforce. Lewis and Clark is working hard to actualize them all. 


Louisville, Kentucky (November 2-4, 2012)

Bluegrass Bioneers

Co-presented by Be Green Creative and University of Louisville Sustainability Council


Now in their fourth year, Bluegrass Bioneers continues to innovate and inspire, from their first-year spawning of 15 Thousand Farmers (a city-wide sustainable local gardening support system) to this year's "Message In A Bottle" (a plastic ocean pollution education and awareness boat-building competition). Bluegrass Bioneers has a year-round presence and continues to be offered free because of the outpouring of community and university in-kind and financial support. 


St. Paul, Minnesota (November 10, 2012)

Northland Bioneers

Co-presented by Macalester College and Northland Sustainable Solutions


Northland Bioneers will hold their seventh annual conference in 2012, for the third consecutive year at Macalester College. Their one-day event will feature a selection of six plenaries, each to be followed by a full-audience workshop or panel discussion led by a regional ally on the same theme, such as a discussion led by a local Sierra Club spokesperson to deepen the conversation sparked by Mike Brune's keynote on Friday morning. The remaining seven plenaries will be shown at a kick-off event a few weeks earlier and at other events throughout the year, including movie nights, house parties, and fund raisers.


To explore bringing Bioneers home to your community or institution, contact Sarah Skenazy.

Kenny Ausubel's New Forthcoming Book


Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature will be published by Chelsea Green this fall and officially launched at the 2012 Bioneers conference. For those of you who've enthusiastically followed Kenny's annual conference talks and writings, he has collected them into a book of essays covering about the past decade. His daughter Ramona Ausubel, herself a writer and editor whose first novel, No One Is Here Except All of Us, gained major literary acclaim this year in the New York Times Book Review, The New Yorker and NPR online, was instrumental in editing the collection. David W. Orr wrote the Foreword.


Here's how Chelsea Green describes the book:


Few would deny that we are entering a period of great change. Our environment is collapsing. Social disruption abounds. All around, it seems, we are experiencing breakdown. But out of this chaos comes the opportunity for breakthrough -- the opportunity to reimagine our future.


In Dreaming the Future, Kenny Ausubel guides us through an evolving topography being charted by visionary thinkers and doers who are -- sometimes quietly, oftentimes not -- leading what he calls "a revolution from the heart of nature and the human heart."


In a collection of eye-opening, witty, poignant, even humorous essays, Ausubel tracks the big ideas, metatrends, and game-changing developments of our time. He navigates readers through this watershed moment, showing how it's possible to emerge from a world where corporations are citizens, the gap between rich and poor is cavernous, and biodiversity and the climate are under assault -- and create a world where we take our cues from nature and focus on justice, equity, diversity, democracy, and peace.


Even those steeped in the realities of a world gone wrong and efforts to right it will find refreshing and unexpected perspectives in Dreaming the Future. It will come as no surprise to readers that Ausubel is cofounder of Bioneers -- which since 1990 has been a hatchery and breeding ground for innovation, one that foreword author David W. Orr describes as "one part global part catalytic organization."


Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award News

by Kenny Ausubel


bfi challenge logo 


Nina and I were sincerely honored this year to be part of the jury for the 2012 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Award. It's an annual international design Challenge awarding $100,000 to support the development and implementation of a strategy that has significant potential to solve humanity's most pressing problems. Named "Socially-Responsible Design's Highest Award" by Metropolis Magazine, it attracts bold, visionary, tangible initiatives focused on a well-defined need of critical importance. Winning solutions are regionally specific yet globally applicable and present a truly comprehensive, anticipatory, integrated approach to solving the world's complex problems.


The BFI team sent us a literally phone book-size three-ring binder about the 18 semi-finalists, which we pored over. In truth, all 18 were winners, and it was incredibly uplifting to see how much brilliant Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science innovation is flourishing out there in the big wide world.


The jury then convened by phone for a lengthy discussion, and after much gnashing of teeth, we did arrive at four finalists, which were just publicly announced. They include the Living Building Challenge, The Future of Fish, the Water Retention Landscape of Tamera, and Eco-Fuel Africa Limited.


Bioneers folks will know The Living Building Challenge from Founder Jason McClennan's plenary in 2009, when the project was just getting underway.


I'll be in New York City for the Conferring Ceremony and mini-conference on June 6th, participating in a panel with other jurors. It's a great event with all kinds of amazing innovators from the design world. (I participated in the 2009 ceremony when our Dreaming New Mexico project was honored as First Runner-Up to the MIT Media Lab's winning urban transportation project.)


You can hear two relevant radio shows from our series: Planting Buildings: The Living Building Challenge with Jason McClennan; and A World That Works For All: Fireflies, Dumpsters, Soft Power and the Design Science Revolution, from the new 2012 series, with Buckminster Fuller Institute Executive Director Elizabeth Thompson and several Challenge Award honorees doing cutting-edge work.


We're pleased to be able to share these shows with you. It's donors like you who make the Bioneers radio series possible in the first place. Please consider a gift to continue distributing hope and inspiration free of charge worldwide. Thank you!