I feel like I’m living in a bad episode of South Park. There is so much ridiculous, needless suffering happening everywhere I look – suffering humanity, animals, plants, water, air and land. Millions of people are demonstrating in Hong Kong, Lebanon, Iran, Chile, and Haiti against corruption and for democracy and it barely gets a peep of news coverage. At the 2019 Bioneers conference, a light of the more beautiful world our hearts know is possible shone bright. “We don’t need hope, we need to be fearless,” said Paul Hawken. Here is a brief summary of the main ideas of some of the inspiring speakers.
Nina Simons: “With a hole in my heart from losing my mother, I am aware of how important it is to help the next person find their way in the dark. We are all mentored by the Power of the Struggle.”
Kenny Asubel: “Democracies die by suicide. It’s all hands on deck. Democracy is the worst form of government – except all the others. We are inventing the FIRST EVER DEMOCRACY. There’s no model for the new economy of equity and regenerativity. It’s Now O’Clock. We’re on Earthtime. Everyone is called to be a leader. ”
Terry Tempest Williams: “If birds have a voice, so do I. We are constantly eroding and evolving each other. Engagement is our prayer.”
Jerry Tello: “My grandma talked to plants, gave them water and said, ‘I’m going to take a little of you. Thank you.’ She said to me, “You are a blessing!” When I was going to take myself out, I smelt my maja, my grandmother, and I felt her blessing. Ancestors, come help me. Bless me up. Will someone hold me in my stinkiness?”
Eve Ensler: “My father raped me repeatedly. He never apologized before he died, so I gave myself the apology I wished for. I found four steps that work: 1. Self interrogate 2. Admission of what has been done – a detailed account that unmasks intentions 3. Open the Heart and allowing it to break 4. Take responsibility and make reparations“
Bill McKibben: “50% of Artic Sea Ice has been lost in the last 30 years. Oceans are 30% more acidic. On Sept. 20th, 7 million people demonstrated to reduce CO2. What comes next? Chase Bank lent $190 billion to fossil fuel industry in the last three years. Look for the call to show up at Chase.”
Valerie Kaur: “My family came to California in 1913 as Sikh farmers. My uncle was the first victim of a hate crime after 9/11. He was murdered. Last week, my father was with my 4 year-old son when a white woman yelled “Go back to where you came from.” Nobody spoke up for them. There must be no more bystanders. Can I protect my child from white supremacy?
During labor, I was on fire, in transition. I felt like I was dying. This was just before my son was born. The metaphor of birthing is useful now. The darkness of our time is the darkness of our country waiting to be born. We are in transition. We will only survive if we show up to the LABOR of justice with LOVE. Love is the Fierce Survival Imperative of our Time. We are midwives. Breathe and Push. Breathe and Push. Breathe and Push.“
Paul Hawken: “Leadership is the capacity and willingness to listen to all voices. Leadership creates the conditions in which people can make up their own minds. My job is to change my mind, not other people’s minds. Global warming is a blessing. It is sacred feedback from Earth. Loose the verb – CONTROL. Change it to EMPOWER.
The Knepp Estates in England is part of the rewilding movement that is looking to Nature to sequester carbon. 3500 acres returned to four animals – ponies, cattle, deer and hogs. With no other changes, the land was rejuvenated in a decade after being completely depleted.
There was much more to the Bioneers Conference. These highlights strengthen me in the face of governmental cruelties, mass extinctions and the fires a half hour away from my door. Be bold and safe, dear ones.