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Bioneers : Revolution From The Heart Of Nature

Free Speech TV is excited to present Bioneers 2023 programming, highlighting movements of the past decade for liberation, justice and a multicultural democracy. Featuring talks from Saru Jayaraman, Rebecca Solnit, Kim Stanley Robinson, Jade Begay and more.

As Bioneers rolls into its 35th-anniversary in 2024, decisive majorities of Americans support progressive policies, from serious climate action and environmental protections to strengthening democracy, taxing corporations and the rich, living wage jobs, abortion rights, racial justice, affordable healthcare, gun safety and more. The question is whether there is sufficient time to make the transformational change necessary to begin to heal and regenerate people and planet. Bioneers invites you to connect with the community of leadership in this time when we’re all called upon to be leaders.

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Full Episodes

Yuria Celidwen: The "Ethics of Belonging" of Indegenous Traditions

Yuria Celidwen is of Nahua and Maya descent from the highlands of Chiapas, Mexico, born into a family lineage of mystics, healers, and poets. Her scholarship centers on Indigenous forms of contemplation and has developed into a broader statement she calls the “ethics of belonging.” It has become evident that when we pay attention to the world around us, all we hear is urgency. It is time for community reflection. Yuria shares two core guiding principles from her scholarship, Kin Relationality and Ecological Belonging. She explains how these concepts can help us access an ever-expansive unfolding of a path of meaning and participation rooted in honoring Life.

Jade Begay: Strengthening Indigenous Leadership During Collapse

By now, we have all heard the statistic that Indigenous Peoples protect 80% of the world’s biodiversity, despite being 5% of the world’s population. This simple fact alone should position Indigenous, Native, and Tribal Peoples as not only leaders but experts on resource management and climate mitigation and adaptation. Yet, in many spaces, political and institutional, Indigenous knowledge and expertise are seen as supplemental, and at worse, romantic. So how can we move beyond just acknowledging Indigenous Peoples to working to ensure that their rights are centered and strengthened in climate action at the local, national and global levels? Jade Begay, one of North America’s most effective Indigenous Rights activists shares her insights on how far Indigenous leadership has come and what we can do to strengthen and embolden this leadership that is so needed if we are all to survive on planet Earth.

Saru Jayaraman: The Great Revolution: What A Worker Power Moment Can Mean for Climate Justice

Saru Jayaraman, President of One Fair Wage, Director of the Food Labor Research Center at UC Berkeley, founder of the Restaurant Opportunities Center and author of four books including: One Fair Wage: Ending All Subminimum Pay in America, is one of the most creative and effective labor organizers of our era. In this talk, she describes her work organizing restaurant and other low-wage workers over the last 20 years and the incredible moment of historic worker revolt currently underway in the United States, one that could have enormous implications for both climate justice and for our democracy.

Kim Stanley Robinson: What I've Learned Since The Ministry for the Future Came Out in 2020

Kim Stanley Robinson is one of our greatest living science fiction writers. His more than 20 award-winning books over four decades, translated into some 26 languages, have included many highly influential, international bestselling tomes that brilliantly explore in a wide range of ways the great ecological, economic and socio-political crises facing our species, yet nothing had prepared him for the global explosion of interest in his visionary 2020 novel, The Ministry for the Future, which projects how a possible climate-disrupted future might unfold and how the world might respond meaningfully. It’s also chock full of brilliant science and wildly imaginative ways humanity steps up. Among other results, he was invited by the UN to speak at COP-26 in Glasgow. Stan offers us his overview of where we currently stand in relation to the climate crisis.

Shane Gero: Preserving Animal Cultures: Lessons from Whale Wisdom

We have been killing whales for centuries, but we do so now out of ignorance rather than intent. As cetacean pods lose mothers and grandmothers, they lose wisdom inherited across generations on how to survive. Whale researcher Shane Gero shares some of what he has learned from the thousands of hours he has spent in the company of sperm whales, including how fundamentally similar their lives are to our own and how their cultures define their identity, just as ours do. Shane explains why we need new approaches to whale conservation that recognize the biologically important divisions between different communities of whales, so we can respect their identity and cultural diversity; and how this can be extrapolated to the larger struggle to conserve biodiversity.

Leah Stokes: The Future is Electric

A massive influx of clean energy investments is poised to transform the American economy during this decade. Opportunities abound to take advantage of new climate incentives. If we get this right, the U.S. could be on track to reach 80% clean power by 2030, leading to deep decarbonization across other sectors including transportation, buildings and manufacturing. Nevertheless, success is far from guaranteed without widespread action from the grassroots to the canopy. What did it take to pass a historic $370 billion climate deal in Congress? How can American households and businesses take full advantage of it? What does effective, equitable implementation look like? Award-winning author, political scientist, and climate expert Dr. Leah Stokes dives deep into clean energy policy and the tools we have to realize our electric future in this decade and beyond.

Laura Flanders: Community Wealth Building: The Most Important Global Economic Movement of our Time

In the early 1980s Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher and conservative economists such as Milton Friedman ushered in a global era of “neo-liberal” economics, which saw markets and large corporations given nearly unrestrained power, leading to ever escalating wealth inequality and the capture of government by monied interests. But in recent years a new global movement, Community Wealth Building, has been pushing back on neo-liberalism, fighting to democratize the economy and build wealth for the many, not just the few. It is taking hold in places as varied as Cleveland, Jackson Mississippi and the Pine Ridge Reservation here in the U.S., and in England, Scotland, Amsterdam and Australia. Renowned journalist Laura Flanders, host of The Laura Flanders Show on public television, explains why this growing movement for a democratic economy may be the most important economic movement of our time.

John Powell: Belonging without Othering: The Story of our Future

Western culture has for the last several centuries built a society founded on three strong separations: our separation from ourselves, our separation from the other (or the person we call the other), and our separation from the Earth. But, according to john powell, one of our nation’s longtime leading experts on civil rights, structural racism, poverty, and democracy, Director of the groundbreaking Othering & Belonging Institute at UC Berkeley, the reality is that we’re not separate. We’re deeply connected to each other. Our challenge is that in order to emerge from the existential crises we face and to birth a far more humane civilization, we now need to look deeply at ourselves and our social structures to overcome the separations that have been inculcated into us for so long and rediscover our fundamental connection to each other and the entire web of life.

Erin Matiriki: The resurgence of Maori Law: The Constitutional Transformation Movement in Aotearoa NZ

Erin Matariki Carr is from the Māori tribal nations of Ngāi Tūhoe and Ngāti Awa, and lives in Tāneatua in the east of the North Island of Aotearoa New Zealand. Matariki is a member of RIVER and a lawyer working within the intergenerational movement of Māori resistance that is now surging towards constitutional transformation in honor of the treaty Te Tiriti o Waitangi 1840 between the British Crown and sovereign hapū Māori. An important story in this movement has been the granting of legal personality to Te Urewera rainforest, the homelands of Ngāi Tūhoe. Here, Tūhoe aims to “disrupt the false notion of human superiority over the land” by removing human ownership and management, and providing a new kawa (or law) that starts with “human management for the benefit of the land”.

Danny Kennedy: The Charging 20s

The energy transition race is on. Fossils fuels have peaked. What do we need to get renewables to prevail as fast as possible, and can we make that victory good for everyone? The 2020s will be the decisive decade in the climate justice fight. Where and how we create the new energy economy, who gets to lead it, who owns it and who works in it now matter more than ever. We must prepare for a large pulse of eco-industrial activity the likes of which the world has never known. As we race to the finish line of the transition away from fossil fuels, visionary “green” entrepreneur and founder of New Energy Nexus Danny Kennedy presents a plan to build out the full 3D potential of clean energy—not just distributed energy, but decentralized in ownership and democratized in control. Highly decentralized global grassroots entrepreneurship is central, as the pathfinding work of New Energy Nexus is demonstrating.

Kenny Ausubel: May the Farce Be With You

“As we confront the sorrows of our time, there’s authentic hope in nature’s solutions, and in each other. It’s times like these when the nobility of the human soul swells to meet the moment.” Bioneers’ founder takes us on one of his renowned, tour de force surveys of the current zeitgeist, this time masterfully tracking the diabolical machinations of the fossil fuel industry and oligarchs seeking to derail global economic decarbonization, but offering us genuine pathways to building a green and just world together, if we put our shoulders to the wheel.

Rebecca Solnit: Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility

How do we imagine what’s possible, what matters? Who we are shapes what we do, and what we do in the present shapes the future. In addition to the many practical, scientific and material aspects, the climate crisis has cultural aspects with which we need to engage in order to meet this emergency. Drawing from the new anthology she co-edited, Not Too Late: Changing the Climate Story from Despair to Possibility, Rebecca Solnit talks about the stories emerging from what science, Indigenous leadership, good organizing, and visionary thinkers are giving us. These stories offer the grounds for hope and the work hope does. What are the ways that what the climate requires of us could mean ushering in an age of abundance rather than austerity? This talk was delivered at the 2023 Bioneers Conference.

Nina Simons: Weaving the World Anew

“If we know where to look, and we turn our attention and energies to the world that’s being born, there is ample reason for hope.” Bioneers’ Co-Founder and Chief Relationship Strategist Nina Simons traditionally sets the stage for each year’s conference, and does it again with sublime clarity and heart-warming passion, as she frames Bioneers’ history and its core values rooted in reverence for the natural world and biological and human diversity and stresses the need to balance the inner and outer in our quest to give birth to a new civilization based on relationships rather than the possession of things.

Ilana Cohen: The Time for Fossil-Free Research is Now

Climate activists have made landmark progress on fossil fuel divestment. Now we need to evolve the divestment movement to the next level by holding universities and academia broadly accountable to fully separate from Big Oil’s influence. This means getting such institutions to reject industry funding for climate research, which has distorted public knowledge and policy, while contributing to greenwashing. Ilana Cohen explains how a burgeoning international grassroots movement of students and academics, known as Fossil Free Research, is seeking to combat the industry’s pernicious influence, and how you can get involved in the fight!

Amara Ifeji: Storytelling for Social Change

Amara Ifeji mobilized a grassroots effort to address racism in her high school in Maine, at age 14. She also developed a love for the mountains and woods around her, but she saw her passions for the environment and racial justice as distinct until she heard youth of color like herself share their experiences working at this intersection and realized these struggles were completely intertwined. She shares how this awakening shaped her subsequent work as a remarkably effective organizer and advocate who centers storytelling to realize environmental justice, climate education, and outdoor learning for ALL youth.

Akaya Windwood: Getting Our (Third) Act Together

People over 60 were instrumental in creating social change in their youth, and their wisdom and energy are greatly needed today. Third Act is a place where those who’ve been around awhile can bring their life experience to the work of social change, while supporting the next generations in creating a world that is healthy, equitable, and whole. Longtime activist and renowned leadership educator Akaya Windwood explains the work of Third Act, co-founded by Bill McKibben, and how we can participate in this exciting new movement.

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