Bioneers

Categories: Chelsea Green News, Nature & Environment, Sciencewriters
Posted on Tuesday, October 24th, 2006 at 5:34 pm by JTE

A bunch of us were at the Bioneers conferences in California and Massachusetts this past weekend. So was a reporter from the NYTimes. So if you missed it all, here’s a taste. Also, go to the Bioneers and Marion Institute websites for samples of the talks. By all accounts, it was all good.

The New York Times
October 24, 2006
San Rafael Journal

At This Gathering, the Only Alternative Is to Be Alternative

SAN RAFAEL, Calif., Oct. 21 — Along with Santa Ana winds and ripe persimmons, fall here brings with it a migratory phenomenon known as the Bioneers, a three-day pep rally for environmentalists, lefty political activists and young people with “Renewable Energy Is Homeland Security” bumper stickers that transforms the Marin Civic Center into something of a megachurch for the Prius set.For some 3,200 true believers, and about 10,000 others who were beamed in by satellite from simultaneous conferences in Logan, Utah; Honolulu; and other far-flung places, the Bioneers is part tribal gathering and part support group, encouraging adherents to connect with their inner Al Gore. (The name is a play on biodiversity and pioneers.)

Students, organic farmers, architects, advocates for Pacific dolphins and a growing number of entrepreneurs looking to invest in green technology come to hear the latest thinking on global warming (code word: Katrina) and how to keep the food supply safe (buzzword: spinach). Alternative energy, Bioremediation and environmental justice, once-fringy issues, have over the course of the conference’s 17-year history become part of the national dialogue.

“It’s biology as a metaphor for social change,” said Paul Hawken, an author and a founder of Smith & Hawken, the outdoor supply company. Mr. Hawken double-dipped, speaking at a satellite conference in Marion, Mass., then flying back to Marin. “It’s a parallel universe,” he said.

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