From the 2019 Bioneers Conference going on now…

Day 2

Today, the second day of the 2019 Bioneers Conference, was dually concentrated on climate solutions and justifiable climate despair (among many, many other ideas discussed throughout the day). Bioneers reminded us that we live in a moment of great unknowing as we face a climate future that’s unlike anything humanity has previously faced. But now is the time to harness our bravery, as Valarie Kaur observed by poignantly comparing the future we face to giving birth:

“What if the darkness in our world right now is not the darkness of the tomb but the darkness of the womb? What if our America is not dead but a country still waiting to be born? What if all of our ancestors who pushed through the fire before us, who survived genocide and colonization and slavery and assault, are standing behind us now whispering in our ears ‘You are brave’? What if this is our time of great transition?”

Following are some of the ideas and takeaways Bioneers introduced today:

ACTION ITEMS — Turn Inspiration Into Real Change

Lessons and Takeaways:

  • Women and mothers – step up to lead: Moms Clean Air Force‘s Heather McTeer Toney reminded us, “Mothers are realizing that our voices are required at this moment. It’s not an option, it’s a requirement. We belong in these rooms. Anyone who has an interest in seeing the welfare of our children through the impact of climate change belongs in these places.”
  • Empower young people and get them outside: Many speakers today mentioned a perceived hopelessness among young people in the face of existential crises. Proposed solutions included fostering closer relationships with the Earth and inviting them into the fold as we work toward climate solutions. We’re going to need everybody in this effort, said Brett KenCairn.
  • Get your money out of investments that fund pollution and destruction (divest): “Shell announced this past year that divestment had become a material risk to its business,” said author and 350.org Co-Founder Bill McKibben. Examine your investments and urge institutions to do the same. (And cut up your Chase Bank credit card.)
  • Love with these three practices: From Valarie Kaur, we must “see no stranger, tend the wound, and breathe & push.”
  • Learn about climate solutions, then share them in ways that resonate with real people: The Project Drawdown website has published its list of solutions. Heather McTeer Toney and Paul Hawken reminded us to speak in a language that your audience will absorb. “Mitigation?” Hawken said in reference to how the media covers the climate change. “Who wakes up in the morning and thinks ‘I can’t wait to go mitigate today’?” (Read an excerpt from Drawdown here.)
  • In conversations about climate resiliency, don’t just invite Indigenous People to the table: Put them at the head of the table. Panelists in this afternoon’s “Building Resilience in a Climate-Changed World” noted that Indigenous leaders have inherited ancestral knowledge that makes them especially valuable in these conversations. Listen up.
  • Tell us your stories: Are there stories Bioneers should be telling? Do you have feedback for us? Reach out! Email stories@bioneers.org or call 877.BIONEER.

Campaigns to Follow and Support:

  • Moms Clean Air Force (introduced by Heather McTeer Toney)
    • Mission: “Our mission is to protect children from air pollution and climate change. We envision a safe, stable future where all children breathe clean air.”
  • The Revolutionary Love Project (introduced by Valarie Kaur)
    • Mission: “We produce stories, tools, curricula, conferences, films, TV moments, and mass mobilizations that equip and inspire people to practice the ethic of love. Our current projects focus on racism, nationalism, and hate against Sikh, Muslim, Arab, and South Asian American communities.”
  • 350.org (introduced by Bill McKibben)
    • Mission: “We’re an international movement of ordinary people working to end the age of fossil fuels and build a world of community-led renewable energy for all.”
  • Project Drawdown (introduced by Paul Hawken)
    • Mission: “Project Drawdown is helping the world stop global warming by achieving Drawdown — as quickly, safely, and equitably as possible.”
  • SFEI Aquatic Science Center (introduced by Felicia Marcus)
    • Mission: “As sea levels continue to rise, communities will need to adapt the San Francisco Bay shoreline to create greater social, economic, and ecological resilience. A critical tool for this process is a science-based framework for developing adaptation strategies that are appropriate for the diverse shoreline of the Bay and that take advantage of natural processes. This project proposes such a framework.”
  • American Indian Child Resource Center (introduced by Erica Persons)
    • Mission: “The American Indian Child Resource Center is a non-profit social services and educational community-based organization serving American Indian community members from across the greater Oakland/San Francisco Bay Area and surrounding counties.”
  • Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (introduced by Osprey Orielle Lake)
    • Mission: “The Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN) International is a solutions-based, multi-faceted organization established to engage women worldwide in policy advocacy, on-the-ground projects, direct action, trainings, and movement building for global climate justice.”

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