Nature, Culture and Spirit | Honoring the Mystery

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Who Will Take Care of My People?
Introduction by Owsley Brown, Chair, Festival of Faiths
For 45 years, Reverend Cecil Williams, founder and Minister of Liberation of Glide Memorial United Methodist Church in San Francisco, and its founding President Janice Mirikitani have created 87 groundbreaking programs to provide human services to some of the Bay Area's most disenfranchised communities. These renowned faith-based pathfinders share their visions and strategies to address the pollution, economic injustice, neglect and apathy that confront poor communities.

A Love That Is Wild:
Why Wilderness Matters in the 21st Century
Introduction by Nina Simons

What might a different kind of power look and feel like, and can power be redistributed equitably, even beyond our own species? Conservationist, activist, and one of the nation’s most beloved and acclaimed authors, Terry Tempest Williams has been called "a citizen writer" who speaks eloquently for an ethical stance toward life, showing how environmental issues are social issues that become matters of justice. A scholar at the University of Utah and Dartmouth, she has been equally at home camping in the wilderness and being arrested for civil disobedience.

Mishkos Kenomagwen:
The Teachings of Grass
Introduction by Melissa Nelson, The Cultural Conservancy

Indigenous peoples worldwide honor plants, not only as our sustainers, but as our oldest teachers who share teachings of generosity, creativity, sustainability and joy. By their living examples, plants spur our imaginations of how we might live. By braiding indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge (TEK) with modern tools of botanical science, Robin Kimmerer, professor of Environmental Science and Forestry of Potawatomi ancestry, explores the question: “If plants are our teachers, what are their lessons, and how might we become better students?”

The Botanical Dimension of Our Human Evolutionary Next Steps
Introduction by Kenny Ausubel

The use of plants as food, medicine and construction material for human habitat is apparent to all, but the essential role certain plants play in human spiritual evolution is not well understood. Jeffrey Bronfman, an environmentalist, educator and founding member of Bioneers, has encountered the use of plants within numerous spiritual, ceremonial and religious contexts throughout the Western Hemisphere. He explores the vital role certain plants have in the development of human awareness at this critical moment in the state of the biosphere and our evolution as human beings.

I Wish You Water
Introduction by Joshua Fouts, Executive Director, Bioneers

The cognitive and emotional benefits of healthy oceans and waterways have been celebrated through art, song, romance and poetry throughout human history. Marine biologist, activist, community organizer, and author Wallace J. Nichols will dive deeper and explore our blue minds through the dual lenses of evolutionary biology and cognitive science, reminding us that we are water.


Spirituality and Faith Communities: Engaging for Resilience and Action
Many communities of spirituality and faith have adopted formal resolutions proclaiming protecting the Earth and promoting environmental justice as cornerstone moral responsibilities. How can faith congregations build vibrant networks and partnerships to build resilience locally and regionally? Moderated by Shilpa Jain, Executive Director, YES!  Connecting, Inspiring & Collaborating with change makers. With: Rev. Canon Sally Bingham, President, The Regeneration Project, Interfaith Power and Light; Owsley Brown, Chairman, Festival of Faiths; Rev. Fletcher Harper, Executive Director, GreenFaith; Krithika Harish, Associate Director of Global Programs and Network Development, United Religions Initiative.

Intelligence in Nature: The Vegetable Mind
Contemporary science is validating traditional knowledge about the vast pervasive intelligence in nature, and in plants in particular. What is intelligence? How do we learn nature’s languages? Hosted by Melissa K. Nelson, President, The Cultural Conservancy. With: Robin Kimmerer, Director, Center for Native Peoples and the Environment at SUNY-ESF; Monica Gagliano, renowned Australian marine biologist and evolutionary ecologist whose research Michael Pollan reported in the New Yorker.

Plant Sacraments and the Mind of Nature
Can entheogenic plants help people access the intelligence in nature—the “mind of nature”—that we must learn to understand in order to supersede our ecologically destructive habits? Hosted by J.P. Harpignies, Bioneers Associate Producer. With: Jeffrey Bronfman, founding member of the União do Vegetal church of the United States; Paul Stamets, master mycologist; Katsi Cook, renowned Mohawk midwife and environmental activist.

Your Brain On Water
Hosted by marine biologist Wallace "J." Nichols, research associate, California Academy of Sciences; co-founder,; author of Blue Mind. New ways of understanding our relationship with the world's oceans and the ability of healthy waters to provide health, happiness and creativity will be considered by a panel of athletes, scientists, artists, and adventurers. With: Kevin Weiner, Post-doctoral fellow, Stanford University and Director of public communication, Institute for Applied Neuroscience; Nik Sawe, Doctoral Candidate, Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources, Stanford University; and Andi Wong, Teaching Artist, Rooftop Alternative K-8 School.

Indigenous Forum. ALOHA (Applied Hawaiian Philosophy)
Native Hawaiian visionary Pua Nani Mahoe and TEK educator Kaimana Barcarse share Hawaii’s unique collective cultural wisdom and traditional philosophies of land, water, spirit and “Aloha” teachings. Learn about malama aina—how to take care of the land, water, community, spirit and self, as they take care of you; and how to weave the Aloha Spirit into your life. The dialogue will address the need for deep collaboration for protecting our natural resources that sustain life on Papahanamoku (Mother Earth).

Change the Story: New Strategies for Shifting Culture
Storytelling is an ancient, powerful human expression. Today advertisers and public relations flacks exploit the power of story to deceive and desensitize. How can we reclaim the power of story and design more effective “story-based strategies” for a better world? Join the Center for Story-Based Strategy (formerly smartMeme) in an interactive session on applying a “narrative power analysis” and transformational stories from grassroots movements. With: Patrick Reinsborough and Christine Cordero.
(Interactive, experiential)

Solutions from the Underground: Mushrooms as Planetary Healers
Visionary mycologist Paul Stamets, founder, Fungi Perfecti, author of landmark books including Mycelium Running, explores the leading edges of his research and current applications using fungi for restoring the biosphere and human health.

Science Fiction Envisions the World We Want
Bioneers Associate Producer J.P. Harpignies interviews Kim Stanley Robinson, among our most celebrated, award-winning science-fiction writers and the most ecologically conscious. The author of many classic works including the seminal Mars and Three Californias trilogies explores such topics as: how "eco-futurist fiction" seeks to identify today's most important trends; the power of dystopian and utopian memes; and how science fiction can contribute to helping us shape a desirable tomorrow.

Archetypes in Every Woman
How might our culturally inherited myths and symbols be limiting—or expanding—our stories, options and realities? Explore this dynamic terrain through a multi-cultural lens. Hosted by Anneke Campbell, author, activist, filmmaker. With: Jean Shinoda Bolen, author, Jungian therapist, activist; Luisah Teish, teacher/storyteller/priestess in the Ifa Orisha tradition; Sri Swamini Svatmavidyananda, teacher of Vedanta and Sanskrit, resident Acharya of the Arsha Vijnana Gurukulam.

Woman and Nature: The Shadow and The Promise
Explore with a multicultural circle of women the upsides and downsides of the deep, ancient association of women and “the feminine” with nature, and how a re-integration of the feminine principle into our culture may best serve us today. Hosted by Starhawk, renowned author, educator, activist, Permaculturist. With: Rachel Bagby, singer, author, farmer, facilitator; Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining), Diné (Navajo) artist/activist; Sasha Houston Brown (Dakota/Santee Sioux Tribe, Nebraska), Director of Education at Little Earth of United Tribes; Brandi Mack, who uses permaculture and holistic health approaches in her work with African American girls suffering from trauma; Osprey Orielle Lake, co-founder/Executive Director, Women's Earth and Climate Action Network.

Regeneration: Women of Color Healing through Nature, Art, Ritual, and Community
Very diverse women of color and indigenous women in Bay Area urban communities are drawing from their connection to Earth in highly creative ways to move toward personal and community healing and empowerment. Hosted by J. Phoenix Smith, Director, Back to Earth Outdoors, Orisha priestess. With: Catherine Herrera, Ohlone artist, filmmaker; Mira Manickam, environmental educator, multimedia artist, author; Brandi Mack, youth worker, gardener.

Duality Is Reciprocal: Integrating the Feminine-Masculine Powers Within
Until we heal the separation between the feminine and masculine, the world will not come into balance. We explore this duality, and ask ourselves if we’ve been asking the wrong questions and holding incorrect images, attitudes and beliefs about the feminine-masculine polarity. With: Pele Rouge Chadima, Lana Holmes and Firehawk Hulin, co-founders, Timeless Earth Wisdom, Inc. (Interactive, experiential)

Gender, Sexual Health and Culture Change
How might new and ancient understandings about gender from diverse cultural and generational perspectives inform our cultural reinvention? How is sexual health key to the vitality and resilience of our societies and all people? Hosted by Lana Holmes, co-founder, Timeless Earth Wisdom, Inc. With: Pat McCabe (Woman Stands Shining), Dine (Navajo) artist/activist; Jhos Singer, a transgender Maggid (Jewish preacher) serving Jewish community centers in San Francisco and Half Moon Bay; Erin Konsmo, Media Arts Justice and Projects Coordinator, Native Youth Sexual Health Network; and Sonj Basha, an Oakland-based activist working to ensure the inclusion of gender non-conforming and transgender identities in institutions of higher education.

Leadership Lessons from the Living Earth
Join this experiential session to meet mentors from the natural world and discover biomimicry-based leadership practices grown from life's operating principles. With: Toby Herzlich, founder, Biomimicry for Social Innovation. (Interactive, experiential)

Leadership for the 21st Century: What You Don’t Know Will Surprise You
What if the assumptions you had about yourself were not only challenged, but dispelled? Experience a breakthrough in what you know about who you are by working with a horse and Lisa Arie, founder/CEO of Vista Caballo.


Democratic Animism Now! Assuming Cultural Narrative Lead

In cahoots with flora and fauna, let us cultivate, animate, magnetize and spiral forth into the memosphere the irresistible invitational guiding narrative. Mytho-politico astrologer trickster Caroline Casey cavorts with fellow wordsmiths/musicians Climbing PoeTree’s Alixa Garcia and Naima Penniman


It Takes a Village to Raise an Elder: Intergenerations Honoring the Wisdom of the Elders in our Communities, Families & Glocal World
For most of human history, people have lived in small village clusters. From indigenous to intentional to family systems to global community, the face of our social structures are changing. We are about to have the oldest population in US history; soon, 1 in 4 Americans will be in their golden years. Can honoring their wisdom encourage innovative and timely solutions to our global and personal concerns? In this intergenerational Council, we will explore the role of elders in our world and what youngers, and middlers, have to do with it. With Ilarion Merculieff, Aleut traditional messenger and Sharon Shay Sloan, council trainer and community steward. Bioneers of all ages strongly invited to attend.  (Interactive, experiential)

Council. Cultivating 21st Century Earth Stewardship in a Power-Imbalanced World: Global Citizens, First Peoples & Spaceship Earth
We are pushing Earth’s life support systems to the edge, enacting of a paradigm of “ infinite growth” and taking. Common sense and indigenous wisdom traditions affirm that a life lived with balance leads to a more harmonious coexistence. Coupled with a need for reconciliation across gender, race and other social divides, 21st Century Earth and community stewardship require partnerships beyond boundaries. Join with fellow Bioneers to engage an ethos for stewardship fit for the 21st Century. Rooted in the wisdom traditions and best practices of First Peoples, and the planetary perspective of Global Citizens, we will explore models and practices of living reciprocity as if our lives depended on it—because they do. With Ilarion Merculieff, Aleut traditional messenger and Sharon Shay Sloan, council trainer and community steward. Bioneers of all ages strongly invited to attend. (Interactive, experiential)

Council. Honoring the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine: Partnership in Women’s & Men’s Leadership, From the Inside Out
Restoring and honoring the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine in our lives and communities is necessary to restore harmony with ourselves and with everything else in existence, and it begins in each of us. As the elders have said, nothing is created outside until it is created inside first. Leading from the “inside out” asks us to first embody the change we seek in the world, then what we do will become self-evident. Together, fellow Bioneers will explore the emerging paradigm of balancing the masculine and feminine, why it is important to our existence as human beings, and where it can lead us. How do we work together across the genders to restore a healthy balance between the masculine and feminine, the inner and outer dimensions of life? How do we apply this to our everyday leadership? With Ilarion Merculieff, Aleut traditional messenger; Sharon Shay Sloan, council trainer and community steward. Bioneers of all ages strongly invited to attend. (Double session.) (Interactive, experiential)

Honoring the Sacred Feminine and Sacred Masculine: Partnership in Women’s & Men’s Leadership, from the Inside Out
(Continued: see 2:45pm) (Interactive, experiential)

The World We Want & How We Get There: Cultivating Presence—When the Heart Speaks, The World Listens
There is widespread understanding and despair that humanity is overexploiting the Earth’s natural systems, and an increasing recognition that we are only beginning to experience the consequences. It has been said that no amount of logic and reason will be able to guide us through the unprecedented times ahead, that only our hearts will prove adequate. The inner life, guidance, deep listening and “the quiet, still voice within” may prove some of our most resilient assets as we seek answers. Join with fellow Bioneers to share your knowledge, wisdom and life experience as we explore these assets, share vision and our aspirations for the world we want, and how we might get there. With Ilarion Merculieff, Aleut traditional messenger; Sharon Shay Sloan, council trainer and community steward. Bioneers of all ages strongly invited to attend. (Interactive, experiential)


The Hadza: Last of the First
This acclaimed film by Bill and Laurie Benenson (Dirt! The Movie) looks at human origins in Africa's Rift Valley, where one of the world's last remaining hunter-gatherer groups, the Hadza, have lived sustainably for 50,000 years. It presents intriguing theories about Homo sapiens’ evolution and origin, and the delicate balance of human aggression and cooperation at our core. With: the Hadza, Jane Goodall, Richard Wrangham (author of Catching Fire) and Wangari Maathai. (70 mins)

The Summer of Gods
A troubled girl unites with her Afro-Brazilian religious ancestry on a summer visit with family to their ancestral village in rural Brazil. This mystical adventure through a nearby forest initiates her into her grandmother's spiritual traditions. Directed by Eliciana Nascimento. (20 mins)

Dying to Know
After two Harvard professors began probing the edges of consciousness in the ‘60s, Timothy Leary ended up in jail while Richard Alpert became Ram Dass, spiritual teacher. Directed by Bioneers Board member Gay Dillingham and narrated by Robert Redford, the film features rare interviews spanning 50 years in an intimate portrait of an epic friendship that shaped a generation. It invites us to ponder questions about life, drugs and the biggest mystery of all: death. (95 minutes)

Beyond Right & Wrong: Stories of Justice and Forgiveness
In the stillness after conflict, after the blood dries and the screams fade, the memory of violence transforms survivors into prisoners of their own pain. How do whole societies recover from devastating conflict? This life-changing, multi-award-winning documentary explores the intersections of justice and forgiveness. Directed by Roger Spottiswoode and Lekha Singh.


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