I believe that our inner and outer work go hand in hand, pursuant to the ancient wisdom, “as below, so above.” That each feeds and strengthens the other so that we may both embody and act from the change we long for in the world. The world is calling for our engaged action, and action that is uninformed by some form of personal practice is likely less effective, or may even create more harm. As I see it, the call is to heal ourselves inwardly, while we simultaneously co-create and midwife in a new culture and civilization.
Among my personal passions in designing programs for the Bioneers conference is to bring together both the inner and outer dimensions of social transformation. Revealing the relationship between the two can lead to greater integration. That integration is essential for developing the leadership capacities in each of us, as I believe that this time on Earth asks us all to step forward with our own unique style of leadership.
In response to your feedback, and how apparent it’s become that we learn from our experience, we’ll have many more experiential and interactive sessions this year. On the inner plane, to advance learning about cultivating our own leadership by learning from nature’s model, I’m psyched for Leadership Lessons from the Living Earth. To develop greater inner awareness about cultural bias and a capacity to become a better white ally, check out Transforming our Relationship to White Privilege in Service to Beloved Community.
Another particular pleasure for me is assembling diverse viewpoints from people who are wise of heart, creative of hand and insightful of mind to explore a highly relevant topic in a way that brings differing modalities or disciplines together. To explore the positive benefits, outwardly, of acting on behalf of a racially healthy and equitable society, In Pursuit of Happiness: Becoming Beloved Community assembles just such an array of eloquent thinkers and doers. And, as last month’s e-letter noted, the Society and Inner Resilience emergent conversation also exemplifies that spectrum of diverse perspectives.
Perhaps the most important muscles we can develop, as leaders, involve our capacities to connect across differences and to unite apparent paradox. Now more than ever, we need to find our way through seemingly intractable dualities toward a future where we can appreciate our differences while joining together in unified values and action on behalf of the whole web of life.
And studies now show that the most critical factor in community resilience – whether or not communities pull through crises – is the strength of social ties. As Sarah Crowell of Destiny Arts puts it, “The way we’ll hold it together is to hold it – together.”
Multiple programs address each of these aspects of inner and outer resilience, and I’d like to share my perspective on a few.
To address reconciling apparent contradiction in the interest of full-spectrum leadership, the Council on Restoring and Honoring the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine will be hosted by two facilitators who’ve bring real depth to this inquiry. The gender session on Moving Beyond Binaries and Polarity into Possibility and Wholeness may offer insights about how we all live somewhere on a continuum of feminine and masculine, and that our human wholeness requires the full engagement and complementarity of each within us. Regardless of gender, we’ve all been damaged by a culture that’s assigned strange definitions to each one, and these sessions may offer insights we need to reclaim human wholeness and dynamic equilibrium, inwardly.
Dr. Rangimarie Turuki Rose Pere, or Rose, a Maori elder and educator, says “Women will be the ones to lead in ending the destruction of Mother Earth because, as women, we have an invisible umbilical cord that connects us to her.” The truth of her statement still reverberates within my cells. Her bold and fierce declaration is a clarion call I’m hearing among many peoples, traditions and inquiries about how we may best, as a species, navigate this precipitous time.
The women’s track will bring together great women leaders across many differences, including age, ethnicity and discipline, to reveal what women may be uniquely contributing to the reinvention of leadership. The Cultivating Women’s Leadership session will gather Ai-Jen Poo, Sandra Steingraber, Nikki Henderson, Anisha Desai and Jess Rimington with Toby Herzlich to surface and articulate this fertile territory. Because gender difference and contributions are often among the last to be seen or acknowledged, and our existing economic system suffers in part from being quite so heavily masculinized, Feminomics will help make visible how women, a gender lens and living systems are reinventing an economy that works for all, while surfacing common, shared values that we can all bring home to further inform our work.
As we navigate the increasingly daunting challenges we face, now more than ever we need each other and our web of connection. Come and celebrate our collective co-creation, this new civilization that we’re all midwifing into being, while encouraging, inspiring and strengthening ourselves for the year ahead. I hope to see you there!
Co-Founder & CEO of Bioneers
Self-Sufficiency and Celebration
Monday, October 22, 2012, 9am – 5:30pm
Location: Commonweal Garden; Bolinas, CA
(Driving Directions–Bus transportation available from the Embassy Suites Hotel at 8:30am)
Registration Fee: $175
(includes fresh, local-ingredient pizza lunch)
Led by expert Permaculture designer Penny Livingston.
Learn how to become an ally with nature and design your farm or garden to provide multiple functions that reduce maintenance while creating a beautiful landscape. Become more self-sufficient and make the world a better place right outside your door by gaining practical Permaculture skills that increase your ability to interact and integrate with the natural environment, people, food, medicine, shelter and water at the urban, suburban and small farm scale.
Permaculture is a design science rooted in the observation of nature. It embodies a solutions-based way of thinking and a practical set of ecological design principles and methods.
Enjoy Earth wisdom, great food and participatory music at the beautiful seventeen-acre Commonweal Garden, a certified Salmon Safe Permaculture farm with four acres of herbs, berries, fruit trees, flowers, chickens and goats. Regenerative design elements include solar showers, rainwater catchment systems, grey water systems, a greenhouse, ponds and natural structures of cob, straw, clay and earthen plasters.
Led byan internationally revered expert Permaculture designer, teacher, and founder of the Permaculture Institute of Northern California and the Regenerative Design Institute.
How Women’s Leadership, A Gender Lens and Whole-Systems Approaches Are Re-Inventing Economics That Work for All
Monday, October 22, 2012, 9am – 5:30pm
Location: Embassy Suites Hotel, San Rafael, California
Registration Fee: $175 (includes lunch)
When you improve the status, rights and equity of women, global studies consistently show that everything improves around them – from economics to environment, education, health, peace and security.
At its heart, economy reflects what we value, both Earth and people. While current ways of assigning value, doing business and measuring success wreak havoc on people and planet, innovators are re-imagining our economic systems to transform vicious circles into virtuous cycles for the benefit of all of life. New models and pathways are emerging from diverse sectors and disciplines. Matriarchal, indigenous cultures and nature also offer key insights for informing a sharing or gift economy that integrates equity, environment and exchange.
All of the emergent visions and models are deeply informed by the sensibilities and values of women in leadership, by applying a gender lens that seeks to elevate feminine sensibilities toward greater balance, and by whole-systems approaches that take the biosphere, health and justice into account. Yet women are largely excluded from economic decision-making in politics, finance and policy. Throughout the U.S. and most of the world, the struggle to achieve gender equity continues to advance slowly and incrementally. Women are commonly paid less for the same work, and are not economically valued for homemaking or child-rearing.
This one-day intensive will explore how women, a gender lens, and valuing the well-being of people and planet can converge to inform new visions for finance, business, economics and culture. Gather with leading-edge thinkers and doers,innovators and practitioners across investment, business, philanthropy, entrepreneurship, finance, justice, policy and politics. We’ll learn, connect and share promising practices toward an inclusive vision that taps diverse voices, models and innovations to turn the tide toward a life-affirming and just economy and world.
After spinning the dial with brief presentations from varied perspectives within the larger economic field, and participating in networking sessions and round-table collaboratories throughout the day, we aim to collectively surface a set of underlying values that may serve as the foundation of a new vision, while connecting this disparate community to each other to accelerate learning, cross-pollinate best practices and leverage mutual support.
Join us to help accelerate learning across the field, to scan the existing landscape across sectors and cross-pollinate ideas, and help clarify a collective future vision. All are welcome.
- Rebecca Adamson, President and Founder, First Peoples Worldwide
- Joy Anderson, Principal, Criterion Institute
- Joan Blades, Co-Founder of MomsRising.org and Moveon.org
- , CEO, Green For All
- Farha-Joyce Haboucha, Managing Director, Senior Portfolio Manager & Director of Sustainability & Impact Investments, Rockefeller & Co., Inc.
- , CEO, Confluence Philanthropy
- , Co-Director, Caring Across Generations, and Director, The National Domestic Workers Alliance
- , Founder, The Soul of Money Institute, Co-Founder, The Pachamama Alliance
- , Co-Founder, BALLE, Business Alliance for Local Living Economies; Founder, The White Dog Café
- Occupy, Coalition and Movement Building – How are popular movements like Occupy, Codepink: Women for Peace and Momsrising.org coalescing people across differences toward greater impacts? What might the particular contribution of this kind of coalition and movement-building be toward reinventing economics? Conversation initiators Maria Poblet, Jodie Evans and Joan Blades.
- Investing for Change: Philanthropic and Shareholder Activism – How are women’s (often collaborative) philanthropic practices and shareholder activism altering the landscape of donor activist engagement, and what are the particular opportunities and challenges inherent in those shifts? Conversation initiators Donna Hall, Farha-Joyce Haboucha and Vanessa Daniel.
- Banking in the New Economy – How are we moving from the ‘too-big-to-fail’ current models to transparent banking innovations that focus on local connection and resilient communities? How are systems that value relationship, community and exchange altering the financial landscape? Conversation initiator Don Shaffer and others tbd.
- Business, Social Entrepreneurship and Localization Networks – How are businesses large and small innovating to model these new economic values? How are businesses designed based on these values demonstrating cascading benefits? What kinds of insights are networks intended to strengthen local resiliency providing to the mix? Conversation initiators Deb Nelson, Judy Wicks and another tbd.
- Green Innovators: Policy, Workforce, Investment and Eco-Service Valuation – How are prioritizing a green economy and factoring nature’s services fully into the equation altering economic flows and workforce visions? How must valuing nature influence policy and investment strategies, and what are some good models of how that’s working? Conversation initiators Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, and Dana Lanza.
- Women Led Models, including Venture Investment & Key Gender Lens Concepts –How might women carry the new archetype of business in the DNA of our gender? Explore how women-led businesses are trending differently, and consider how investing with a gender lens alters the landscape. How are women and a gender lens contributing to new (or the re-emergence of old) economic and entrepreneurship designs? Conversation initiators Joy Anderson, Lana Holmes, and Maura Conlon-McIvor.
- The Gift Economy and Matrilineal Cultures –What insights might we glean from indigenous, current feminist and historical cultures, including about gender balance and right relations, to inform economics’ reinvention? How might mothering within capitalistic structures inform us? Consider how integrating values of abundance, gifting and collectivism may be inherent in mothering, nature and the feminine. Conversation initiators Genevieve Vaughan, Bernedette Muthien, Rebecca Adamson.
- Telling the New Story: Transforming Culture and Media From the Micro to Macro – As human beings, we are hard-wired for story. What are the stories of this financial reinvention, as seen through these lenses? How are they surfacing? How might we effectively help disseminate them widely into the culture? Conversation initiators Lynnaea Lumbard, Starhawk, and Rose Aguilar.
When people ask me what the Bioneers Conference is, I say it’s a natural anti-depressant. As someone all too well informed about the magnitude of the destruction and intractable predicaments our world uniquely faces today, I’m grateful I also have the privilege of a job that amounts to a kind of “star search” for the greatest social and scientific innovators of our time. When you’re immersed in the inspiration of BioneersWorld and constantly learning about breakthrough solutions for people and planet, it’s simply impossible not to have hope.
Like just about everyone else at the conference, I become color-saturated with the dazzling brilliance, heart, courage and astonishing effectiveness of these truly amazing people and their over-the-leading-edge projects.
Having lived long enough, I know that magic happens – completely unexpected breakthroughs that even the wisest among us did not foresee. In that light, 2012 is certainly living up to its advance publicity as a turning point in human civilization. Whether you may have anticipated the end of the world, the birth of a new one, or another Y2K dud, by any standard truly momentous shifts are afoot.
The 2012 conference program could hardly be timelier, with major emphasis on climate action. Without doubt 2012 will mark the threshold when climate change became an inescapably up-close-and-personal reality across the world, including at last in the U.S. As the New York Times reported, a whopping 70 percent of the U.S. public now associates the extreme weather chaos with climate change. Take a moment to absorb that. This is a sea change that many believed would not occur for years to come.
It was only a matter of time before physical reality would override delusion, propaganda and belief systems. The ground is becoming conducive to major shifts. I encourage you to read our 2012 plenary speaker and world-renowned journalist and author Bill McKibben’s current piece in Rolling Stone, “Global Warming’s Terrifying New Math.” The 2012 conference will highlight some remarkable emergent strategies and successes.
When we programmed the 2012 Bioneers conference early this year, of course we could not have precisely predicted these subsequent developments, but we knew the trend lines and the urgent need to lay the groundwork for dramatic progress. We recognized the imperative both to begin helping more and more people become educated about breakthrough solutions and strategies, and to offer ways people can move that knowledge into action and get connected with each other to build traction.
Of course climate action and all of the other issues featured in Bioneers conference programs are connected, and we’ve created a complete program of Tracks that make it easy for you to see exactly the topics and meta-themes, and where you can engage.
After hurtling through the fast-forward, hyper-intense, wildly complex and at times mind-numbing process of designing the program, we go back through it to sort it by 12 Tracks of interest. Most people are passionately interested in one or two topics or issues. These become points of entry because the beauty of the conference is that then you find out how they’re connected to everything else. You discover wildly interesting new areas that become your learning edges – and perhaps your new passions or work.
I’ll be sharing more in future blog posts about some personal highlights of my own favorite Tracks and programs, though it’s a losing proposition like picking the favorite among your children. For now, just a couple of early tips.
One clear through line is that we’re living in a house of cards of too-big-not-to-fail systems. There’s no question that we’re all going to be living closer to home with more localized and regionalized systems such as our foodsheds, watersheds and energysheds. Even the Department of Defense recognizes this reality. Decentralization and greater self-reliance are the future. So we’ve created a meta-theme around building Resilient Communities and a “Call to Action” full-day intensive to form a Resilient Communities Network to spread effective practices and innovations. It’s a Who’s Who of top innovators and breakthrough models, including a former top strategic advisor to the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and it’s a theme throughout the whole conference. Check out the recent New York Times op-ed by one of our featured Resilient Communities intensive plenary speakers Gar Alperowitz, “Wall Street Is Too Big to Regulate.”
Another Track is “Eco-nomics.” After all, it’s generally economic motives driving the destruction, and it’s economic systems that now must drive the restoration. A crucial component is the decentralization of financial systems. That includes strengthening our local and regional living economies, and democratizing wealth. When the top 400 have more wealth than the “bottom” 180 million Americans, yes, Wall Street, we have a problem. We’re featuring some of the authentic living lights and breakthrough models in all these areas this year.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. Bioneers Co-Founder Nina Simons and I will be sharing more insights and tips in future Founder’s Blog posts, so stay tuned. But for now check out all 12 Tracks of the 2012 Bioneers Conference program.
Then let’s conjure up some magic together at the conference and bring it into the world. Let’s make 2012 the year of Emergence when the world reached critical mass and moved from breakdown to breakthrough.
-Kenny Ausubel, Co-Founder & CEO of Bioneers