Bioneers 2009: Earth Is Alive!

Bioneers speakers share plans to keep it that way

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Dateline: Monday afternoon, Planet Earth

Climate change deniers might be an endangered species: At Bioneers, the big buzz was that most of humanity recognizes that we’ve created a really, really big mess on the planet. Annie Leonard, a Bioneers plenary speaker and creator of The Story of Stuff, cites the fact that 70 percent of the American population sympathizes with climate change. That’s far more than supported popular social causes of the past like the Civil Rights movement, women’s suffrage, or abolishing slavery. But Leonard stressed that we cannot wait for 100 percent of the population to get it. The time to act is now, and she stresses that we have the numbers to invoke change. The big question posed by Leonard is “are we going to change by design or default?”

If we change by design, we have some ability to shape what this vital transformation will look and feel like. If we continue to wait and let change happen by default, then we’re probably pretty screwed. Luckily, the Bioneers conference devoted an entire three-day weekend to exploring action that can be taken both personally and collectively to stop the warming of the planet, rebuild economies, and promote social justice. Hot-button solutions included localizing agricultural systems, disconnecting from industrial growth society, building community, drastically reducing our dependence on dirty energy technologies, and a call-to-arms for each of us to take a personal passion inventory and use that to take incremental steps towards bigger solutions in our own lives and communities.

Check out the Green Scene weekly, as over the next couple of months I’ll address some of the issues and actions addressed by 2009 Bioneers on how we can work toward becoming a more sustainable planet and people.

–Jessie Lucier