Friday, October 19, 2007

Bioneers Conference - Santa Fe This Weekend

Mikaela says:
I'm a huge fan of the global-working, yet N.M.-based group, Bioneers.

This is an organization that combines science, environmental sustainability, and social equity to bring truly innovative and important stories to radio. We hear it in Albuquerque on KUNM Wednesday mornings.

I have no idea how this group gets funded, how big it really is (staff page looks substantial, but not all are here in NM), or how sustainable as an organization it can possibly be. I do know it used to run out of somewhere near Lamy, NM. Duke City Fix founder Chantal Foster is now their web person, I think...

Here's from the website on the founders (also founders of Seeds of Change, which I'm also really excited about and support by buying its spaghetti sauce and frozen foods that also happen to be really tasty):

Kenny Ausubel founded Bioneers and its parent not-for-profit organization Collective Heritage Institute in 1990, in Santa Fe, New Mexico, shortly after he co-founded Seeds of Change, Inc., an organic seed company offering "backyard biodiversity" to gardeners. Since that time he has jointly produced Bioneers with his partner and wife Nina Simons, former President of Seeds of Change. The gathering moved to larger facilities in California's Bay Area in 1993, where it has grown and flourished. Bioneers presently takes place at the Marin Center in San Rafael, California each October.

Last year, four women I know also heard the feminist hip-hop poet Rha Goddess perform on the Bioneers radio show, and a few months later, we brought her to town to perform and do a school workshop during Women's Creativity Month at the National Hispanic Cultural Center.

While the group is a little hippy-white folks-centric, they do try to balance their focus with stories affecting low-income and minority groups, and they remain vigilant about not just environmental justice, equity, and sustainability, but also social and gender issues.

All told, it's an admirable and important progressive voice, and NM is lucky to have it.

That said, the New Mexico version of the Bioneers Conference is taking place this weekend in Santa Fe. As far as I can tell, even when the radio program has lapsed (because of funding, I'm guessing), the conference has remained rock-solid. The main conference is usually held in California, so it's great that they've continued to have a NM offshoot.

This year's conference looks amazing, with discussions on:
  • Incorporating water harvesting into development (esp. parking lots)
  • Economic & Human Realities of Immigration
  • Cultivating a conservation economy & "bio-regional strategic planning"
  • Cultivating a market & sustainable education for women's handcrafts
  • Holding Los Alamos accountable for toxic waste
  • Using art to build community
  • Giving input on Santa Fe's City Sustainable Plan
  • Protecting water as a sustainable resource
  • Preserving social capital through partnerships between local organizations and local businesses
  • Using nonviolent communication
  • Cultivating a local food-shed in order to produce and eat on a carbon-neutral scale
How cool is that?

Unfortunately, I'm babysitting my nieces all weekend, but if anyone goes and can report back, that would be awesome.

I've gotta put this on my calendar next year for sure!