Photo Credit : Mark Henson Art
The Bioneers conference is taking place from October 15th through 19th of 2015, and is thirty minutes North of San Francisco. This is the twenty-sixth consecutive conference, and it creates space for one of the most important conversations of the twenty-first century. Educators, policy makers, authors, activists, non-profits, and a myriad of other perspectives converge in a creative community which recognizes that all life is sacred. This meeting of minds is playing an essential role in the acceleration of our species’ evolution to a regenerative system that prioritizes health, equity, sustainability, and local economies, and helps allow for the overdue extinction of our current unconscious and destructive way of living and doing business on this planet. The conference begins on friday, but there is a pre-event on thursday that was packed with so much brilliance, inspiration and insight, that it is difficult to narrow it down to a few topics. Ourglass will elaborate on the perspectives and insights of three speakers from today’s presentations and conversations.
David Orr is the Paul Sears Distinguished Professor of Environmental Studies and Politics at Oberlin University. He is blunt and brilliant. He has integrated a vast array of viewpoints to form a clear understanding of the issues and decisions that face humanity, which helps him to implement actions on a local level that serve as a model for other universities, cities, and regions. He raised several key questions that need to be brought into the public spotlight and addressed: what happens if the U.S. electric grid fails for extended periods of time, what are the impacts of the 83 wealthiest people in the world having as much wealth as the poorest 3.7 billion people, and what happens to efforts to adapt to global climate disruption if sea levels rise 10 feet in the next 50 years. Although these topics can be difficult to discuss, and there is a tendency to focus on victories and what is working, it is important not to neglect these conversations as humanity faces a myriad of unprecedented global issues. We need to step out of the illusory comfort and security that Western media and entertainment create, and take a long hard look at what needs to be done.
Osprey Orielle Lake is the Co-Founder of Women’s Earth & Climate Action Network (WECAN), which focuses on empowering women as climate leaders. Lake’s perspective emerges from the recognition that any effort to transition to a paradigm that heals our planet must have, at its core, the profound wisdom and fierce compassion of the divine feminine. Osprey offered a beautiful metaphor to explain the significance of our collective actions: we are mother Earth’s immune system. People often refer to humans as a cancer. As the unconscious growth-obsessed system of viral capitalism eats through natural resources, pollutes ecosystems, and aids in the sixth mass extinction in Earth’s history, there is some truth to this perspective. However, once we stop this harmful modus operandi of destructive consumption, and acknowledge that all life is sacred and interconnected, we will find the inspiration, courage, and tenacity that is required to protect the planet that gives all of us life. We are here to love, learn, and evolve our consciousness; if we wish for current and future generations to have this opportunity, we must shake humanity awake before we collectively ruin Gaia’s capacity to support human life.
Chloe Sophia Maxmin started Harvard’s inspiring fossil fuel divestment movement and is the Founder of First Here, Then Everywhere. Ourglass is involved with Loyola Marymount University’s divestment movement, and Chloe helped outline important next steps for us to take. She is also involved with Divest-Invest, a movement that has become a key tool in the transition of capital from extractive and destructive companies and economies to regenerative and sustainable ones. Here is a statement from its website: “We share a common recognition that investing in fossil fuel companies means investing in climate change.” Go to their website to learn how to invest more consciously and to take the pledge to do just that.