Bioneers host conference, music and film fest

Published: September 15, 2008

Joe Craven, formerly of the David Grisman
Quintet, performs and is conference MC.

The Earth could reach an irreversible tipping point in less than a decade unless we quickly change our ways, warns NASA climate scientist James Hansen. In a recent study Hansen said, “If global emissions of carbon dioxide continue to rise at the rate of the past decade … there will be disastrous effects, including increasingly rapid sea level rise, increased frequency of droughts and floods, and increased stress on wildlife and plants due to rapidly shifting climate zones.”

In the midst of this urgency, the annual Norther Rockies Bioneers Conference, Oct. 16-19 at the Emerson Center in Bozeman, presents leading scientists and social innovators who are creating practical solutions to help restore the Earth’s imperiled ecosystems and heal our human communities.

Satellite and local presenters will discuss a wide range of topics, including:

• How to dramatically reduce global warming pollutants from energy production;

• New, nontoxic technologies that emulate nature’s design genius;

• The best green business practices;

• New strategies for safeguarding human rights and the environment; and

• How to protect our children from toxic chemicals in the environment.

Local keynote speakers

The two keynote speakers, who will address the conference live, are:

• Mark Lakeman, who founded the City Repair Project in 1996. As both an organization and a larger movement, City Repair inspires and guides the transformation of the grid infrastructure of the typical American city into a vital social commons. By re-asserting localized village patterns, City Repair establishes both the physical and social foundation for sustainable culture. Lakeman is now the principal of Communitecture, a private design firm specializing in ecological building and planning projects on many scales (

• Sharif Abdullah is a leading proponent and catalyst for inclusive social, cultural and spiritual transformation. Abdullah’s life and work have been featured in a number of books and publications, including The Rise of the Intelligent Organization, A House Divided, A Cultural Diversity Sourcebook, and Bridging the Racial Divide. Sharif's own writings include The Power of One: Authentic Leadership in Turbulent Times and Creating a World That Works for All. He has worked with thousands of individuals and facilitated scores of transformation, empowerment and leadership sessions for various public and private organizations, including city and county governments, large corporations, federal agencies and international bodies like The United Nations.

In addition, Abdullah has facilitated workshops with organizations like Association for Humanistic Psychology, Institute of Noetic Sciences, the International Conflict Resolution Conference, Institute for Sustainable Development, and others. He currently directs the Commonway Institute, designed to build inclusivity, understanding and civic engagement between diverse groups of people in various settings (

National speakers

National speakers, who will address the conference via satellite, include:

• Naomi Klein, anti-globalization activist, journalist, and author of No Logo;

• Ray Anderson, founder and chairman of Interface, Inc., a leader in green business;

• Professor David Orr, author and one of the founders of the eco-literacy movement;

• Janine Benyus, co-founder of the Biomimicry Guild;

• Kavita N. Ramdas, president and CEO of the Global Fund for Women;

• Christine Loh, China’s sustainablilty director;

• Alexandra Cousteau, granddaughter of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, a leading activist and advocate for the conservation and restoration of the planet's oceans, and many others.

Highlights include:

Thursday, Oct. 16: REAL2REEL Film Festival, featuring media, music and film and the Brower Youth Awards (

Trillian Green

Saturday, Oct. 18: A concert with Trillian Green, featuring Bozeman's own Ben Klein, and Joe Craven, previously of the David Grisman Quintet, who will serve as master of ceremonies throughout the weekend. Local and regional musicians also perform. Stay tuned to or for more details on live music.

Participate in over 25 workshops and intensives over the course of the weekend including: Biomimicry Workshop, Mushroom Cultivation, The Importance of Pollinators, Alternative/Green Building Panel Discussion, “Seeds of the Future,” which addresses permaculture, seed saving and wldcrafting in Montana, “City Repair,” Alternative Energy Systems, Youth Leadership, Habitat Restoration, Arts and Media, Ecological Design, Indigenous Knowledge, Eco-nomics and Women’s Leadership. Sessions also address traditional medicine, environmental education, activism, culture, spirit and community, food and farming.

Enjoy four fresh harvest meals that feature local and Montana-made ingredients and products, and network with individuals, businesses and nonprofits from throughout the northern Rockies in the exhibit hall.

The Northern Rockies Bioneers Conference targets all ages from youth to elders. Families are welcome, with admission free for children under the age of 13. For registration, student discounts, scholarships, sponsorships, volunteer opportunities, contact Lori Foster at or visit or

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