In my never ending commitment to be informed, grow, and share with you everything I learn in all matters concerning Mother Earth, I am going to attempt to articulate what my four days at an international “Bioneers” conference this past week was like. The challenge for me is how to reach into your very soul. It’s not about my daughter’s green wedding but it IS about why her having a green wedding was so very important to our family and why our individual climate action plans need to be in high gear. Mother Earth needs you! Stay with me…

Let’s start with the definition of a Bioneer as described in Wikipedia. I strongly urge you to consider reading this twice because I had to: “Bioneer (root: “biological pioneer”) is a neologism coined by filmmaker, author and eco-activist Kenny Ausubel.[1] According to Utne Reader, a bioneer is “a biological pioneer, an ecological inventor who’s got an elegant and often simple set of solutions for environmental conundrums.” As coined by Ausubel, the term describes individuals and groups working in diverse disciplines who have crafted creative solutions to various environmental and socio-cultural problems rooted in shared core values, including whole systems, (anticipatory) thinking, a view of all life as interdependent, and sustainable mutual aid.” In other words, I spent four days (pretty much 10-12 hours a day) surrounded by people who realize the coming years will be the MOST important in the history of human civilization. I heard all about their creative solutions and I was filled with hope.

So what does a Bioneer talk about? Building community, food security, food scarcity, climate change, climate action policy, movement building, family farming, water wizardry (designing resilient infrastructure and communities for climate instability), social, racial and gender justice, restorative justice, art as a vehicle for social change. Sound daunting? Sound boring? Sound heavy? How about inspiring, uplifting, brilliant, hopeful, exciting, fun and did I say brilliant? I felt selfish and self-indulgent spending four days not DOING anything about preservation of this great planet of ours except for simply being. I listened, I learned, I asked questions, I made new friends, I connected. I actually felt like an oak tree, soaking up every precious life-giving drop of wisdom being showered upon me. I think it’s called self-care! Imagine that.

Since there is no “nutshell” way to put a Bioneers conference experience in a newsletter here are my big three takeaways.

  1. Self-care really matters. In this fast-paced, over informed, “gizmo” attached world, we all need to find ways to literally unplug and feed our minds and our souls with experiences that truly nurture us. What does that look like for you?
  2. We all need our own “Climate Action Plan.” How are you showing up in the world as a champion for Mother Earth? Are there more small steps you can take to step up your game? (Are you REALLY shutting the water off while brushing your teeth, are you consuming less in general? Have you considered solar for your home? Do you know why Meatless Mondays really matter? Are you supporting locally-owned businesses every chance you get?)
  3. There is hope and it’s called community. Human beings are hard wired to survive and in these challenging times, we are not going to be able to survive without building community, without facing some of these massive climate challenges together. We all need to get excited about our own efforts to live more consciously, to be proud and find our own voices in being a spokesperson for Mother Earth. We need to be active participants living and sharing our sustainable thoughts and deeds. That looks different for everyone. What does it look like for you?