Bioneers 2009 – Messages of Environmental Hope and Reality

Bioneers LogoThe 20th annual Bioneers 2009 is underway in northern California.

Attending this leading-edge environmental conference are an incredibly diverse crowd of several thousand, along wi thousands thmore via media feed at college campuses across the country.

“It’s not a doom and gloom event,” said one participant who’s been coming for years. It’s focusing on what you can do instead, she said.

Like greeting extended family, husband and wife team Kenny Ausubel and Nina Simon (co-founders of Bioneers) opened  the morning, . Greg Sarris, Chairman of the Greater Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, representing the Coastal Miwok and Pomo tribes, then gave tradiional greetings.

Sarris told the sobering history of his people. Where there had once  been a thriving people numbering over 20,000 at “first contact”,  the tribes numbers fell to only 12, from whom the current 1,200 members descended.

He spoke about the importance of “coming home” to a land that’s sustainable once more. We now have to be mindful of the land “to the 7th generation,” Sarris said.

Sarris’ message was heightened by a traditional native blessing -first sung, then played on a movingly deep voiced wooden instrument.

Ausubel and Simon each spoke counterpoint on the various important aspects our cultural and societal environmental awareness. More on this and a comedic-yet-sobering look at our water crisis in my next post.