Bioneers Conference 2017

For the last 15 or so years, Besant Hill School has attended the Bioneers Conference in Marin, CA.  In the early years, students from Besant Hill School were among only a handful of student conference attendees.  This year, our students joined over 500 youth from around the country to learn, gather, and share what it means to be a Bioneer.

Co-Founder of the Conference, Kenny Ausubel, coined the term Bioneer in 1990 to describe an emerging culture. Bioneers are social and scientific innovators from all walks of life and disciplines who have peered deep into the heart of living systems to understand how nature operates, and to mimic “nature’s operating instructions” to serve human ends without harming the web of life. Ausubel notes that Nature’s principles—kinship, cooperation, diversity, symbiosis and cycles of continuous creation absent of waste—can also serve as metaphoric guideposts for organizing an equitable, compassionate and democratic society.

A Bioneer holds these truths to be self evident:

  • It’s all connected
  • It’s all intelligent
  • It’s all relatives

We ran into many Besant Hill school alumni at the conference, too!

The scientists, artists, activists, and connectors that we heard from, reminded us that:

  • We are ethnogenetically predisposed to understand that this is a relative not a resource
  • That a person’s worth is demonstrated by what they give, not by what they own
  • That we are all better off when we are all better off

That resilience is the ecological and social grail that enhances our ability to adapt to dramatic changes. And that resilience requires diverse communities and diverse ecosystems.

Bioneers also reminded us that language and relationships are vitally important. That we, budding Bioneers, are agents of cool responses in a hot reactive world. That the word “yet” is a key that can unlock our previous understanding and willingness to cooperate with nature, and that “until now” is a great magic phrase that disrupts fear and can engage a compassionate culture. And “did you know” goes much farther than a finger wag and instead will invite a curiosity and readiness.