Concentration of CO2 in the Atmosphere

Day 2 – Beaming Bioneers Conference, Montpelier VT, Oct 15, 2011

What is the Beaming Bioneers, VT Conference?

In 2010 Terry Youk and Ann Armbrecht were invited to present their documentary film “Numen: the Nature of Plants” at the national Bioneers Conference, an event that has been going on since 1990. The national conference showcases people whose small actions have blossomed into movements – large and small, to bring about economic justice. The speakers were so inspiring, Terry and Ann decided to bring Bioneers to Vermont, with the goal of creating an ongoing movement in Vermont to bring about ecological justice in Northern New England. With that in mind, they will be donating the Savoy Theater space for monthly meetings at which community members, businesses, and other organizations can work and plan together.

To follow the conference on Twitter use these hashtags: #beaming #bioneers2011
Facebook page:!/pages/Beaming-Bioneers-Vermont/233432646674135
Web site:

Notes from, Friday, October 14, 2011

Welcoming Remarks

Last year we were invited to Bioneers conference to show our film. We’d interviewed many of the people involved, but had never been to one. We were blown away by the presenters. Hard to capture how affected I was – so many deep, wonderful presentations. One of the most powerful: 16 yr old Alex gave the most inspiring speech in my life.

Taking simple steps in a powerful way and over time making a difference. We’ve all been to conferences then gone home and the momentum erodes. After 2 floods in 3 months, this came to the forefront again, so we signed up to bring the conference here. And here we are.

I heard what Obama said about Steve Jobs, and thought it really fit with the Bioneers:

“Steve was among the greatest of American innovators — brave enough to think differently, bold enough to believe he could change the world and talented enough to do it.”

Many of us are finding the courage to think differently about how we live on this planet (examples: Occupy Wall St., etc) Effect change for our children and grandchildren. We have the power to create change in whatever movement we put our minds to.

Our friend Rosemary Gladstar said something that really stuck with me in one of the interviews: “There’s a lot of toxicity. Everything you touch, in the news, clothes plastic, everything we deal with on a daily basis has some kind of toxin.” She has been making a conscious choice to listen to her own heart and embrace the beauty she can see and touch, the beauty in your children’s faces, in the nature around you.

This is our time.

We’re going to offer the space (at the Savoy Theater in Montpelier) for citizens, companies, and organizations to come together to share resources and network. To try to have a larger impact, and to sustain the motivation for action.

VT college of Fine Arts – morning workshops space for free
Goddard College – (Suzanne Richmon, a mighty force)
Dadra design – web site. Gabe put site together free of charge!
Organic Valley – major sponsor for parent conference
Hunger Mountain coop.
Capitol Grounds.

We also couldn’t have managed this without:
Catherine Cerulli, incredible organizer who put lovely sophisticated touch on everything.

Anne Armbrecht Reading of “Hieroglyphic Staircase” by Drew Dellinger

[Here’s the poem, as read by Dellinger himself]

Planetize the Movement from Drew Dellinger on Vimeo.

We were listening to NPR two years ago, and they were discussing global warming. My daughter, who’s 13 now, looked at me and said “those changes won’t happen in my lifetime, will they?” I had to look away so she wouldn’t see the tears. How do I answer my 11 year old? Her question haunted me. How do I respond to my child in my life, with the life that I’m living – the choices I make?

At the Bioneers conference, I expected to feel bad about how little I’m doing, but instead I came back with great inspiration for what I can do. When I got back, I knew what changes I wanted to make, but got overwhelmed with the enormity of the task, and ended up not starting anywhere.

I saw Paul Stamets talk about the mycelium – the threads underneath the soil and how it relates to community, and that was an inspiration. Suzanne Richmon helped put together a program. We started with the mycelium and threads, then we tapped into the connections we had, and built from there. But anyone here can speak, can take an action, make a difference.

We can do what we’re called to do and look our children and grandchildren in the eye and tell them we made a difference.

Intro by Kenny Ausbuel and Nina Simmons at National Conference

First thanked the sponsors and encouraged people to remember the sponsors who made the event possible.

Bioneers is not a spectator sport. If you’re not involved, you will be soon. [big grin] Don’t be shy, just go say hello. It’s a friendly group.

Joanne Campbell will give the welcome prayer.

Melissa Nelson provides the intro: Joanne is a Coast Miwok elder [ed note: serving on the Tribal Council of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria], revitalizing culture, language, and basket weaving traditions of her people.

Good morning, on behalf of my people, I welcome you to this land. We were once thousands of people. There have been many intrusions in our history. At one time in 1800s, we were 14 people. Now we are 1,300 people and every one traces their heritage back to those 14. We’ve now got federal recognition, we were granted our land last year, and had our first members meeting in tents last weekend.

Prayer: (in traditional Coast Miwok language)

Music: R. Carlos Nakai

(You can listen to samples on Amazon. His work is available from Canyon records) – reintroducing the world to the sophistication and beauty of native flute music

After the first piece, he stops and grins …

“I’m standing here thinking what am I going to do next. I think we’re here to have one voice and to think about what our futures may be. I want you to join me in a chant . Direct it toward the intention of why we are here this weekend.” (He directs the audience to hum a particular note, maintaining that note as he plays. The result is entrancing – a beautiful, resonating vocal hum, w/flute overlaid).

This is followed by a piece in which he makes one distinct note play before the next ends, for a rich, layered sound.

Nina Simmons

This is about you. About each one of your unique abilities to transform inspired commitment into action – finding allies and providing leadership to create a thriving just regenerative future.

This year has 23 partner sites embodying local grassroots action. This is our longest standing program – focused on local action.

We began supporting org of local conferences, broadcasting speakers you’re about to see. Local cities have nurtured into fruition – bringing bioneers to 60 cities 40k people.

Live conference webcast to make as accessible as possible the main stage. Partners build upon the platform as a launching pad for local effective solutions. Solutions for own local regions neighborhoods cities states. Building social capital among disparate groups.

Join the network of passionate folks who are already committed to doing this. We need your input, your engagement and your support to make this possible. If inspired or enlightened, join us to learn more. your visions and contributions will make this evolution possible.

8 beaming sites tuned in live right now: Travers City, Mi; Anchorage, AK; Turlock, CA; Louisville, KY; St. Louis Obispo, CA; Telluride, CO; … Montpelier, VT pronounced with the Fench pronunciation: Mont Pell Yay, leading to much laughter.

Kenny Ausbuel – Announcing Bioneers 3.0

Bioneers 3.0 from Bioneers on Vimeo.

Bioneer’s Eye-view of the world:

We’ve been acting like a rock star trashing a hotel room. The room is planet earth, and management may vote us off the island!

Honey we shrunk the planet.
There’s an illusion that we’re apart from, rather than part of nature.

Prior civilizations have failed by cutting down trees, building where water ran out. When Jared Diamond looked at Myan failure, he saw that their attention was focused on short term concerns of enriching themselves, conducting wars, and building monuments while taking as much from the poor as they could extract… Sound familiar?

See Jared Diamond’s TED talk on Collapse:

Preferences are not easily adaptable. Societies slide into crisis when struck by multiple crises rapdily. If we wanted to destroy as much life as possible we could be no more effective than to dig up an burn hydrocarbons. When people talk of saving the earth we’re really talking about saving ourselves.

Real health creation is based on investing in our communities and workforce. Every dollar we spend on pre-disaster risk management will displace 7 dollars in recovery later. The revolution has begun, it’s the sunrise of a just civilization. As economics is powering the destruction, it can power the salvation.

Efficiency alone can reduce emissions by 50% by 2050 with no net cost.

The defense industry is prioritizing [ed note: the mitigation of and response to] climate disruption. Peace on earth can be achieved only when justice is achieved. Those societies that take advantage of the talents of all of their adults, not just half of them, have pulled away from the rest.

In his book “Why Smart People can be so Stupid,” Robert J. Sternberg notes that the opposite of “smart” isn’t “stupid,” it’s “wisdom.”

Winston Churchill: Got to succeed at doing what’s necessary.

Hanson in 1998 testifies to congress: climate is warming.
Seeds of Change raised environment as of mother of all issues. Solve the whole problem approach: premise: solutions are largely present, inspired by nature’s operating instructions. Education. communications and media. When people find out that viable options exist it leverages pressure to implement them.

Moved to SF Bay, operated as volunteer operation. Facing 10k shortfall got a 5 yr 1 mil grant. Treated as seed capital to finance 2.0. Grew to 3k attendees. Fewer than 10 young people at conference, launched youth program, now 100s of young people.

Launched suite of communications and radio products and channels. 400 stations, US market coverage (***get #s).

Community conferences at 5 sites with several hundred people, Now 60 sites, 40k people. Launched

“Provided consulting to “The 11th Hour Film. Ongoing source of experts. Launched women’s leadership training program.

Redesigned to 3 program areas
Education (BioneersNet media platform and media catalog [greatest hits], formation of national education for action network – identifying key leverage points for action within the ed system); Study guides and lesson plans (action based) being developed. With support from Google, working with Google earth team, mapping practical potential for solar on Navajo Nation land – enough solar on one corner of the land to support entire US electrical grid. We could end coal in the next decade if we use it.

Formal mentorship program to mentor gifted young and emerging leaders from diverse backgrounds to launch in 2012.

As Groucho Marx said: “why should we bother about the next generation, they’ve never done anything for us?”

This is the keyhole from break to breakthrough. The next 5 or 6 years will be most important in entire history of human civilization.

Choice between resignation and hope. There is profound hope in the healing power of nature and the people with heart courage and imagination. As David Orr puts it, “Hope is a verb with its sleeves rolled up.”

Women’s leadership is going to to be the key.

I’d navigated most of my pro life by relying heavily on my masculine attributes. Decided to integrate those parts of myself I’d previously undervalued. What behaviors I associated w.each gender sought balance in myself.

Saw same imbalance everywhere I looked. Impact on society and ability to live respectfully and sustainably with the earth. Life a dance of complementary parts. Promoting women’s leadership belonged at the heart of bioneers. Created plenary “restoring the feminine” – scholars, scientists, healers, activists to explore this complex topic. Opened wellspring of exploration.

Created a retreat : unreasonable women for the earth. Envision broad womens movement with the earth at its heart. Code Pink founded 4 months later. Then aluched radio show with women’s voices and perspectives. In 2006 co-created women’s leadership intensives. 6-days exploring difference from traditional male models, learn to overcome internal limitations. 200+ women so far, eduring impact. Wrote “Moonrise, the power of women leading from the heart.”

Through this engagement with women’s leadership, came to see how these issues are essential. Our social system negatively

Women’s leadership is essential and on the rise. Most effective strategy to shift our course to an earth-honoring and healthy future.

Evidence shows investing in women benefits the entire environmental and social system. Social health, crime and violence reduction, social justices, sustainability and more. The greater the power of women in a nation, the greater the economic success.

This year’s nobel peace prize awarded to 3 women this year. Well-being of women and girls, sat in our living room and wept as chair of nobe committee said: we cannot eacheive lasting peace in this world unless women achieve the same levels of acomplishment as ment o influence all levels of society.

In US only 21% of stories in news, 3% ofcoprorate CEOS, 17% of US house and senate (no change since 1972). Globally, even more problematic. 2/3 of world’s work x% of income. 70% of people in poverty are women.

We can no longer devalue any segment of our population. We cannot denigrate, waste, or discard people of color, women, or the earth. Not only right, or necessary, or most strategic. Though it is all of those. it’s also the most healing, authentic and revitalizing thing we can do. I believe this is what Dr. Martin Luther King said about ***ecstatic?*** community. I feel ecstatic as we reclaim our fullest capacities. We can reclaim the soul of our humanity.

Proactively and energetically support women, while also supporting the healthy masculine in our society. Treating every aspect of life as sacred. Won’t you join me in restoring the full range of our health, resilience, and balance?

The entire livelihood and sustenance of the Suruian people comes from the rivers. They have 5 different symbols for fishing spot – there are places you use a basket, places you use a spear, etc.

The Surui used to live sustainably on their land. When invaded, they had to find food and engage with the outside economy. They didn’t have job skills, so they began to sell their logs (for bribes). You need to feed your family – feed your children. THe NGOs then started to prmote the belief that the indigenous people selling their own resources were the problem. But if you look at the maps, you can see the protected areas, the ones with the least deforestation, but with border incursions, you can see that the the indigenous people as cause = myth.

Chief Almir went to the President of Brazil and said “if you want to protect the forests, you need to strengthen and support the indigenous people.”

Since then, a project to map the deforestation over time has been started – creating google earth engine. In addition a youth project in the Navajo nation is working to go to wind and solar and get off of fossil fuels,


Restoration Writ Large: Unleashing the Potential of Nature and People for Large-Scale Ecosystem Restoration, John D. Liu

Kenny (intro): Our bodies have a profound capacity for self repair or healing. Tapping the healing force of nature, we can heal nature. John illustrates transforming the most wounded landscapes into productive fertile land.

Global climatic stability, pollination, etc. eco-services determine the quality of our life on our planet and the thing from which value is derived. Movement to put a price on the priceless by creating eco-service valuation methods.

We need to restore ecosystems on a large scale while supporting livelihoods.

Rwanda has adopted an ecological program based on John Liu’s demonstration project.

John L: “Oh Dear, I’m not a young person, I’m not a woman. I must be indigenous somewhere.”

My journey here began high in the Himalayas, In chian Hai inTibetan Plateau there is a river known as the mother river. This is in the Lus plateau in the upper reaches of the Yellow river. Lus is a soil deposited on the plateau below by the yellow river. It’s a rich mineral soil that requires organic matter to be fertile. This is the birthplace of the Han Chinese race.

The most populous race on the planet. If you go southwest to Seschuan, you find a flly functional forest ecosystem If you go to the northeast, you find grassland ecosystem. There’s evidence of humans and their ancestors (1 million and ahlaf years) knwonto be second place on earth where settled agriculture began. A tremendous civilization grew heere. They sowed the seeds fo their own destruction and ultimately collapsed. By 10000 years ago, the plateau was no longer the center of national agriculture.

If ound a fully degraded ecosystem. It was surprising to me that the largest civilzation could be from a place so degraded. People described it as a desert. I explored what happened: they cut the trees, then tried farming on the hillside, then raised goats and cheep that ate everything down to the roots. It created a cycle of poverty and ecological destruction. Each generation lost more. This was passed from generation to generation. Then we realized this place was analagous to every other cradle of civilzation. Studying this place is a study of th ehistory of humanity.

Ecologically causes tremendous impacts to the hydrological cycle. If you change the plant cover, you cause erosion, and loss of fertility and productivity. You find huge amounts of sedmintation going into the river. This makes it easy for the river to flood. 1500 times, the Yellow has flooded. THis is the effect of 1.6 billion tons of sediment going into the river. This is what causes the dust storms that blow across Asia and the world.

Chinese government decided to try to fix it. Mapped every watershed in the plateau. Used enterprise software to track every intervention. Then used software to engage local people into the project. Took several years to analyze what to do. Everyone could see the problem, but not how to solve it. Eventually decided to divide the ecological and economic land. They looked at the landscape and said these places are useless for productivity. The ecological function is more valuable than production here. Released larege wareas from the economy, concentrated ag in smaller areas.

Not everyone agreed: One villager: “What about next generation? They can’t eat trees!”

Eventually engaged the local population, partly by paing them. Evolved from neolithic agriculture to a modern culture.

Terraced the land, infiltrated water, planted trees. Transitioned people to modern economy very rapidly.

In 1995, was a desert. In 15 years converted it to a healthy, recovering mixed forest and grassland.

Multi-systemic approach (hydrology, biotic communities, etc.) was so effective.

In geologic time, the earth had no atmosphere. Water was very different. Over evolutionary time, earth has changed to a magnificent garden. It’s done this through natural processes of evolution. Photosynthesis is the driver. We’ve built up huge proportions of biotic fertility. This is a biochemical photoreactive process we can’t duplicate. It’s created a huge extraordinarily beautiful world.

I’ve now had the opportunity to go everywhere in the world. look at still-functional areas and realize humans only began to alter these ssytems 10s of 1000s of years ago. Maybe we became good hunters and took out top of food chain about 40k yrs ago. Then 10k yrs ago, developed slash & burn settled agriculture. This depleted fertility rapidly. This kind of agriculture is still taking place now in many parts of the world. I can tell you what this does to soil moisture, micro-climates, etc. It’s devastating. Why are we doing this> It leads to collapse of the ecosystems. Every society that has done this has suffered collapse. So this is pretty much scientifically understood. So why do we keep doing this? Why are we repeating history again and again?

There is clearly a link between our behaviors/motivations and hte outcomes. In traveling around and looking at amazing biodiversity and found we have somehow devalued biodiversity – decided it has no value, because our economy is based on the production and consumption of goods and services. The fact that the goods and services comes from functional ecosystems is wrong. We’ve based the global economy on a mistake. A mistake that even a camera man can see.

So what can we do about this? How can we address this? We’re in a situation where we have devalued the things that provide our air water and energy. We have manufactured things that turn into junk and they are more valuable than water, air, etc. Do we really believe that and if we don’t believe that, then why is this the case? I’ve been puzzling, because the more I go to pristine and degraded areas, I see there are only two states, functional and dysfunctional. If you are moving toward dysfunction, you will collapse.

What China did made an intervention – a paradigm shift that determines whether we survive.

Scientific implications: hydrologicical function is related to the total biomass (etc. can I get slide?)

It’s possible to rehabilitate large-scale damaged ecosystems. WHy arent we doing that? If we did that, what would happen? We are feeding 7 billion people, and there are 2 billion hectares of degraded land we can restore.

What’s stopping us from restoring the planet? My conclusion: Groucho was right, Karl might have been wrong. Karl was talking about state capitalism (not communism at all – state capitalism).

3 reasons

Creates perverse incentive to degrade the ecosystem

It’s impossible to have continuous growth

It’s immoral

The total sum of money on the planet (GDP) is based on total goods produced. But the ecosystem is vastly more valuabe.

We have imposed the concept that wealth comes from the production of goods and services on the poor. What the indigenous people have been saying forever is correct.

WHat is money? What is this thing? Now we say “Money comes from production and consumption of goods and services.” It’s wrong, it’s immoral and it leads to poverty, disparity, and ecological destruction. What if money were based on ecosystem function? Suddenly everyone’s work would be going toward conserving and restoring ecological function. If we make that the basis of our economy, we will survive.


Revolutionizing K-12 Education with Sustainability in Mind, Karen Brown
Intro by Zenobia Barlo, co-founder and Exec Dir of Center for Ecoliteracy in Berkley, CA

I grew up in a society that didn’t include the ecosystem. Where I learned about the future and ecology, was Tomorrowland at Disney. I didn’t drink orange juice growing up, I drank TANG. I drank TANG because that’s what the astronauts drank and I had to condition my body for space travel. These messages affected my love life. THey came straight into my classroom with books that told me step by step, how Id get to the moon. I got assigned reading about how we would solve the earths problems. And the way these books taught me to solve these problems was by leaving and colonizing outer space.

We did send a few people into space. But they all came back to earth.

When I was grown p, looking out the windw of my high school i was looking at fas lines. And thinking for myself about how to solve problems. Pilulation.

What might have been a better education for me to learn how to live on and solve the problems of earth? Our mission: Education for sustainable living … on EARTH.

We teach about the things real people do to focus on solving problems. One example we teach about: a school in England where students designed small-scale wind turbines using recycled cans. It got the students thinking about problems of scale. The ones we’re used to are big, and centrally located.

Smart by Nature principles. If you notice in nature, nature doesn’t create one great big wildflower centrally located, and say “wanna pollinate something? Pollinate this, I’m done.” Nature does not do this.

This year the kids started networking their wind turbines.

90% of energy in Hawaii is imported in the form of diesel fuel. When you turn on a light in . They use diesel because it’s lighter than goal. They have run out of landfill space in Hawaii. They are trying to ship their garbage to continent for land-filling, but can’t because continental cities don’t want it.

So these wind turbines were really popular: they re-use trash and don’t

It turns out a lot of kids today kind of sort of don’t know what a hammer is. We’ve encountered kids who don’t know what end of the wheelbarrow to use. They suffer

Even though they can type with their thumbs, they are showing losses in concrete problem solving, spatial relationships, etc. These hands on projects have a value beyond the academic learning. Today 1% of Americans farm. This is true due to the massive amounts of energy put into the food production system. Average age of a farmer in the US is 63. One person growing food for the other 100 in every community. A big transition is going to be required around agriculture.

I’m going to show a school making the most of the opportunity:

Troy H. Middle School in Belfast Maine has student greenhouse farmers. Got a small grant to learn to design, build and run a solar, inexpensive greenhouse everyone in the community could afford. It integrates curriculum. They use math class to determine how to orient the garden to maximize solar absorption.

Rooted in a deep knowledge of place. You can custom tailor solutions to fit the place you live. Places that are well known tend to be deeply loved. Their compost has seaweed as an amendment because they’re in Maine. The kids learned about history of why seaweed was used, and when it was replaced. Unearthed misconceptions the students have. For example: on carbon emissions, they’ve come to see carbon as a poison, but participating in the carbon cycle, they get a much better understanding.

The garden is self-supporting. The kids sell organic produce and run a pizza cafe. They use non-gmo non-hybrid seeds and save them for next year’s crops. Hand gathered open-pollinated heirloom seeds adapted to local soil and climate conditions. They also make their own seed packets. The use their bodies, grow their muscles, but also learn to be tender and caring of the new life they’re generating.

Also a economics program. They develop business plans, present to a real bank, and go through the plan. Is this something the community might need or be interested in? If so, develop a viable local business – in 7th grade.

Sustainability is a community practice, not a solo act.

Midland School La Salinas CA:
Needs and wants is a through=-line that carries through there. What do I need and what does the school need vs what we desire or want to have. Decided they really did need high speed internet, and decided you did not need a cell phone. Decided they were wants, not needs.

2800 acre campus. Buildings are not painted They realized that if you don’t paint, you don’t need to re-paint. Not having to repaint leaves more time for other things. Every year, the kids have worked with experts to build and expand a solar farm.

Assignments include needs and wants, as well. Students had to make a model of the native insects, and were given NO materials. They got creative: coming up with materials including foods, moss, little bits of wire, etc.

Have you noticed that the astronauts had to say about space travel:

“This planet is not terra firma. It is a delicate flower and it must be cared for. It’s lonely. It’s small. It’s isolated, and there is no resupply. And we are mistreating it. Clearly, the highest loyalty we should have is not to our own country or our own religion or our hometown or even to ourselves. It should be to, number two, the family of man, and number one, the planet at large. This is our home, and this is all we’ve got.” – Scott Carpenter, Astronaut

We need children who are strong and powerful when they need to be strong and powerful and know how to be tender and caring when they need to be tender and caring.


Blue and Green: Working Together to Secure a Sustainable Future, Roxanne Brown United Steel Workers

Intro: The top 1% increased from 8% of income to 23% of the income from 1973 to today. (Looting of the American Middle Class by Les Leopold)
CEO pay from 42x average worker’s pay to 343x in 2010.

Things are really bad and won’t get better just because of a cycle. It’s not a coincidence that things started to get bad as union representation fell. Right wing corps and their power friends first went after the unions and are now coming after everyone else. I don’t know about you, but I’m not on his side (Eric Cantor)

“People could starve” quote.

It’s not a coincidence when the percentage of people represented by aunion started falling. But things may be getting better. There are people in the streets, occupying wall st. and other places.

“There was much in it that I did not understand in some ways I did not even like it but I recognized it immediately as a state of affairs worth fighting for.” – George Orwell, Homage to Catalonia (Spanish Civil War)

I’m ready to fight, are you ready to fight?

Roxanne Brown:
A bioneer is an innovator whose key purpose is to serve human ends w/o harming the web of life.

Guided by the principles of kinship, biodiversity, symbiosis, and … all with the goal of leaving a legacy for future generations.

The Blue Green Alliance and United Steel workers have a common goal of leaving a legacy for future generations. I pinch myself – can’t believe how lucky I am to be part of two absolutely critical movements. First the labor movement and second the movement to make the world a safer place for future generations.

I am from Jamaica. My family decided to move to the US, specifically to NYC and spend years assimilating to the new country. Watching my family make this transition was my education in sustainability – specifically economic sustainability. Ensuring there is some means for Americans each day to earn a living no matter what job you do, there should be some way to allow you to put food on your amily’s table, send your kids to school, and maybe, just maybe to retire one day This is still the American dream. Its what brought my family here and what most families hope for.

I come from a family of women. while there are some men, the matriarchs decided to come to the US. Very strong willed Jamaican women who my husband lovingly refers to as the Generals. They were housemaids, etc. and made the decisions to come ti thi country to give their children a legacy. These women are my innovators.

Each day I have the distinct privilege to represent people like the women in my family.

We see the deck is slanted against the average.

The number of discouraged workers is 1 million – people not looking for work because they believe no jobs are available for them.

Construction saw a minor bump, wages are stagnant, foreclosures are

We are a nation staggering out of the deepest recession since the great depression. The last 3 years have been added misery to the last 10 years. All of this is made worse by trade policies that take jobs from american workers and the continued attack on public sector employees.

What we’re seeing is the stubborn determination of americans around the country standing up and refusing to take it. We saw this AM thousands of union members stand up and tell Mayor Bloomberg to take a hike.

We will not be moved.

We saw DC block a long-overdue jobs bill.

We say enough is enouhg. Enough.

We are also seeing broad sweeping attacks on the rules that protect our air and water – this at a time when we’re seeing the effects of climate change.

We’re also seeing attacks on clean energy technologies. Attacks have reached a frenetic level as the claims that the green sector jobs are fallacious. The continued call to leave behind the innovation the leadership and the jobs in this sector – ceding them to foreign countries.

Green and Jobs: We will have both, or we will have neither.

We strongly believe well-crafted environmentally sustaining policies can live side-by-side with jobs, and in fact can create them.

We view the joint challenges of high unemployment and climate crisis as a time to turn crisis into opportunity.

All of us together unite more than 14 million people across the country (list of unions). We are united in our quest for good jobs and a clean environment. Our union, the nation’s largest manufacturing union – wants to ensure the tech used here are built here using the parts made by our members every single day.

A clean energy economy means installing weatherization around the country, for SEIU it means safer chemicals for their environment and their workplaces. For electrical users, it can make

We are focusing on local policies – JOBS21 to create millions of jobs for 21st century clean energy economy. Brings sustainable clean energy jobs discussion to town halls. (

I remember Dave Foster and I meeting on the Hill (in DC) to introduce the alliance to Congress. The tensions that have historically existed among blue and green around issues such as coal and nuclear, the alliance allows us to put the discussions on the table to help understand where we all stand. We all leave the table eager to work together on the things we all agree on.

Employee free choice act, labor law reform bill – Sierra Club decided to advance the bill with us. Covered their entire building on the hill with a huge banner and lobbied on why they supported the act. Congress members stopped gaping about why the Sierra Club would lobby on this (“what does the Sierra Club know about working people?”).

Not only is our union willing to fight, but the alliance and all the 14 million people we represent are ready to fight. The question i have for you guys is” Are you?

We won’t back down from the American dream, the promise of family sustaining jobs, and a green energy future.

This isn’t an audience of steel workers but I get the feeling you can be rowdy like us. Our convention theme was “stand up, fight back.” Showed a conference video. Video page:


Google Earth-eye View: Mapping a Future Environment of Hope, Rebecca Moore
Intro: 20% of the greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change are from tropical deforestation. It’s greater than all transportation in the world. If we can make trees worth more alive than dead, we can [missed this].

Tribal members travel the rainforest with GPS tools to map more than 40 million acres of forest in S. America. They’ve developed a 40 year program with payments for ecosystem services. The Surui are the first indigenous tribe to be paid for keeping trees alive. As a result, attempts on the life of the current Chief Almir have intensified. So far 11 leaders have been assassinated for standing up to illegal logging.

Googe cloud enables scientists to study the rainforest and its implications.

Started in 2005. Bioneers has supported my work every step of the way. I’ve now been all over the world with this work, and must say the Bioneers is my favorite conference.

Shows map of the earth.

Seeing is believing. The arguments often come from lack of basic facts of what’s happening on the ground. By dispelling a level of ignorance, showing what’s happening on the ground, you can elevate the conversation.

I did a search on monarch migration. A school in Minnesota did a study, mapping where monarchs were sighted.

A close-up on where they butterflies go shows that the biosphere region is surrounded by clear-cut regions that make it nearly impossible for them to reach the place they need to be.

Coral Reefs in AUstralia – there was a proposal for oil and gas exploration in one bay. But a new Google Earth image became available, and a man in Australia took a look, and discovered a rare type of fringing reef. It’s now in discussion to be preserved as a protected area.

How my activism started:
Opened the mail – notice of intent to harvest timber appeared in the mailbox. It was a map. The key said that black lines = non-industrial logging areas. Very unclear – the map was ALL black lines. So I decided over the weekend to extract and map in full 3-d satellite imagery in Google Earth. So I did. It turns out, they were planning to log a 6 mil swath along a watershed.

Then created a virtual flight up the canyon You could see how the drinking waterhsed for 100k people in Silicon valley. Then mapped all the helocipter landing areas Would be incredibly close to schools, daycare centers, etc. You get a much better understanding of the plan with the google-earth eye view.

The land was privately owned by a utility company. Snuck in with a camera. In the plan, claimed not to cut any “late successional forest” (aka old growth). But, oh btw we’ll cut the defective trees. A “defective” tree was defined as any tree with a split top. The area wasn’t logged in the 1800s. Then the loggers in the 1920s left the split trunked trees. Took photos of split-topped trees. We were able to prove it was not only a bad idea, but legally did not qualify (those “defective” trees were almost all old-growth).

Tutorials available on (

I got a phone call “Hey Rebecca, this is Woody.”
“Woody Harellson?”
“Yeah. So can we take what you did in google earth to stop them blowing up mountains?”
“Yes.” We taught them how to use google earth to show what was going on.

Found an example of a site with an elementary school at the base. If the dam for the sludge pond failed, the school would be buried in sludge.

Kentucky coal company called it “cheating” because the group was using google earth for shock value. The local response was “Yeah, it’s shocking, but what’s shocking is what you’re trying to do.

Almir was the first of his tribe to go to university He flew to his home. He could see the illegal logging incursions into the land. Asked for help putting cultural info on google earth so people could learn about the culture in that place. The icons you pick for your maps represent what’s meaningful to you (such as the sacred jaguar, sites of historical battles)

Students in the tribe are literally measuring and mapping all the trees. If they see a threat to a forest location, they can report it immediately – document the state of the forest last week vs this week. The info goes to the chief and other leaders, who can walk to the area with a smartphone, document it, upload the data and begin a law enforcement procedure against the illegal loggers.


When Women are People … and Corporations are Not: Why the First Inequality will also be the Last, Gloria Steinem

I’m here for the 1st time. now I have 22 ears worth of things to say to you. I have here notes that, if you poured water in them could become 100 books.

I am touched, moved and glad to be here with my sisters and brothers on this fragile spaceship earth. I want tot alk about an imbalance that affects everything. It has led to gov by ranking rather than linking. it has led to worshipping gods that look suspiciously like the ruling class. It has led to destroying the planet, in part due to religions that

Division of humanity into cults of masculinity and femininity. We are socialized into it when very young in the home. It normalizes later divisions. If we can internalize that some cook, some work on cars, etc. then how hard is it to internalize.

Least democracy in public life have greatest division in family life. You can’t have a democracy without the female half of the country. Courses on family are feminine, foreign policy masculine. Inequality at home normalizes it outside of the home. Violence at home normalizes it in public.

We have no idea what would be possible if we raised one generation without violence. Ranking is killing us. It’s certainly killing females, since femicide is the most prevalent form of murder. But it is also killing males by training them in attitudes that lead to shortened lives.

It is important for the unseen to self-name. But labels can get in the way of connection. For instance, it is impossible to be a feminist without also being anti-racist. If women are imprisoned by ideas of race, all women are imprisoned. Our freedom is limited as women so we will reproduce race. Reproductive freedom is a fundamental human right.

All movements are weakened when they are not connected.

How did we get into this jam? It began when men took control of reproduction out of the hands of women.

Olf Palme, former Prime Minister of Sweden said “Gender roles are the deepest cause of violence on earth —they normalize subject and object, dominant and passive, and group judgments in general.”

We all come from a common embryo, but why isn’t that publicized. Why do men have nipples? Whey do we not know that clitorises have the same nerve endings as penises? Testosterone levels are lower when men raise children. Men raising children and becoming whole people is the key to world peace. I bet we’ll find that testosterone is raised in women when we have to fight to protect our children.

Men and women have similar degrees of physical strength and other skills. It’s something to name, but something else to build this into hierarchy. We all share the same origins in Africa with only minor changes in response to climate.

What happens to men is called politics, what happens to women is called culture. God may be in details, but I think the goddess is in connections.

We’re discovering that early languages did not have pronouns. How did we get so mixed up as to give genders to tables and chairs.

The circle was the paradigm not the pyramid or hierarchy.

I have sat through meetings in which men from indigenous cultures sat through hours of meetings and only spoke when they had nothing to say. Traveling down the Nile, you can see the evolution in which the gods and goddesses are depicted in everything – butterflies, etc. Then you see the mother and son, then you see mother shorter than son, then you see son as pharaoh and mother only as a representation of source of power. Then you see no depiction of goddess.

In supposedly equal cultures we still must choose will we give birth to ourselves or to someone else. We should be able to do both. We need to work in patterns not made for parents. This is the only country in the world that does not make work pattern adjustments for parents. Many of us have not learned for ourselves that women can do what men can do and vice versa.

Religions have become more and more like politics in the sky. As some historians of religious architecture, we build churches with interesting form.

In churches – men symbolically take over the power of giving birth. They have created a space with two entrances (labia majora, labia minora), a vaginal column down the center, two curving ovarian structures on either side, and the altar in the center which is the womb where the miracle takes place. … Where men dressed in skirts sprinkle imitation birth fluid over your head and say you were born of woman, an inferior creature, but if you obey the rules of the hierarchy you can be reborn into the better eternal life by men.

It is very dangerous that we have this cult of belief in doomsday – in these times of weapons.

Corporations became persons in the 1880s while women could still not sign contracts without their husband’s permission. Last year the supreme court allowed corporations to have unlimited ability to fund campaigns.

If corporations are people, some of them should be in jail. I don’t believe in corporal punishment

They shouldn’t be allowed to have subsidiaries they can’t care for. Corporations should be forced to care and support for 18 years at least any subsidiary desired by someone who sneaks in there with a successful business plan.

IN the mean time, women in this country have more unplanned children than any other industrialized country due to the loss of

It would take an act of congress to overturn the damage done by Citizens United. We can support the buffet rules – millionaires and billionaires pay taxes at the same rate as everyone else. The republican party has been taken over by people who are not republicans. Instead of a 50/50 choice, we have a 70/30 choice. This is very, very dangerous. This country is now more polarized into rich and poor than at any time in the last 100 years.

Occupy Wall Street is doing amazing things.

Restrictions always create art, because they were forbidden amplification, a person speaks on the platform for a sentence or two, then the first couple rows repeat it, then the next rows, etc. until it propagates. It creates poetry

In this country we’re all worried about the degree of violent rhetoric and record number of gun sales, rise in number of people joining neo-fascist and racist groups, the proposal of laws legalizing murder of abortion doctors because its a form of self-defense.

The model for violent situations is the family. When a woman is escaping a violent home, it’s the time she’s most likely to be murdered, because she’s escaping control. I think that’s what’s happening – our country is escaping control. We turned against the people who believe in ranking not linking.

The people who believe in ranking not linking are losing control. Two things to keep in mind- it is a time of maximum danger and we have to look after each other and be aware of the danger. And We’re not going to turn back. We would never tell a woman to stay in an abusive home and we will not stay in the old way of ranking and injustice.

Indian country, not Greece was the source of democracy.
The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.

If we choose every day to do the best we can, to act with kindness, to say I am neither more nor less important than anyone else. If we do it with joy, poetry, music, sex, and humor, then we will have joy, poetry, music, sex, and humor at the end of the revolution.

Beaming Bioneers Conference, Montpelier, Saturday, October 15, 2011

Framing the day in terms of human nature and the recolution of the human heart.

Biomimicry study is unearthing untold treasures. But as humans we’re story-making people. Who can resist the v formation of geese bucking the strongest headwinds, or the oak trees in VA whose roots join to help the whole tree community remain strong against the hurricanes. Even as seriously weird species go, humans are, well, special. Looking at the wretched state of the world, is there a deeper biomimicry we’re not seeing?

It’s right in front of us: it’s called deceit. Shady practices can give any organism an advantage. Human beings, Smith said, are natural born liars. Brains grew in direct proportion to the size fo their groups. It may be that the size of the brain grew in response to deceit. With homo sapiens, development of language meant that public grooming was replaced with private gossip. We needed to forge alliances, win friends, and neutralize enemies. We spend 80% of our time talking about other people. Evolution has favored these traits. From the fairy tales our parents told us to the propaganda our government feeds us, we are surrounded by deceit. {missed some great jokes here, sorry)

Humans are a predatory species and our main prey is our own kind. Mimicry is one of the best tricks in the book. Let’s go back to nature for master classes on the sting. To attract male wasps to pollinate them, the orchid looks like a wasp Marilyn Monroe. The male bees which mature a month before the female, they bounce from

That pseudo copulation reminds one among the spreading wealth among rarified orchids of high finance.

Back closer to home, non-human species have their own version of fire and brimstone preaching. We use redundancy, rhythmic repetition, supernormal sounds, bright packaging. Conspicuousness is a key against predators: flaunting the fat that they’ve survived predators.

Opportunistic mimics bring to mind Lehman brothers (etc) and their derivatives.

But keeping a low profile also has advantages. Blending with surroundings (branch, stone)

ALEC – the point is to keep ALEC as unremarkable as bird droppings. Bring together corp cheiftans and legislators to undermine worker rights, privatize education, deregulate industries. They’ve created stealth regs across the country.

But you can trick the tricksters. T-mimicus can shape-shift and color-shift into a Gaga wardrobe of disguises. It can scare off predators by looking like a lion fish. If attacked by a damsel fish it makes one arm look like the snake that eats damsel fish. Which brings to mind the Yes Men, those notorious shape-shifters who assume the identity of the corporations. They sent out a fake press release that GE would pay back their tax refund due to their profits. Caused the market to care 3 (m)(b)illion(?) dollars off their value before the deception was discovered.

We’re all the heroes of our own stories. Depressives may suffer a deficit of self-deception. The downside of self-deception. They spread the myth nuclear was as safe as milk. Promoted safety w/Alice in Nuclear Wonderland theme park, a robot dodo stays nuc is safe and reliable. “It was always a lie” – new popular song. The industry fooled itself, coming to believe its own lies. Part of our brain serves as an unconscious mind reader – we all possess a bs detector, which may save us. Nature is sending us extravagant distress signals. We’d better get really good at reading those signals, really fast.

We can’t fool mother nature – trust me, that ain’t no lie.

Solutions from the Underground: How Mushrooms can Help Save the World, Paul Stamets

We live in th best of timeas, we live in the most critical of times. I may be paul stammets standing here, but I’m really a collection of microorganisms, talking to you, a collection of microorganisms. We are bioneered super-organisms: us.

I’m going to talk about 5 specieis organisms. We as collections of individuals can make the difference.

I spend a lot of time in the old growth forest. Many people may not realize that the old growth forest is the best carbon storage above ground. Protection of it will do more to help with warming than other steps.

Habitats and humans share immune systems an mucelia are bridges between the two.

When logging roads are put in, hydrology – a tremendous threat to the other organizms in this ecosystem. Most plants associate with mycelim. Exhales co2, inhales o2. Remains resident for decades to hundreds of years before a mushroom shows. Mycelium’s fine filaments provide microfiltration membrane and water storage. These features set up the basis for life. Nuclei run through the mycelium nets, at the tips of filaments, are sensing membranes that takes new nutrients, experiments, creates new “stuff” that then is fed back through the rest of the network to create a better networl.

Slime mold finds the most efficient path from the food to itself- mapping experiment for tokyo subway system. Optimized mathematically to come to the best engineered pathways – shutting down the not so useful mechanism.

Mycelium = web based life form.

Can ouor used crankcase oil (complex hydrocarbons) on an expired oyster mushroom kit and a few days later, you get mushrooms – they break down the hydrocarbons. Created mycobooms that float on water, excrete digestive enzymes. Put in salt water environment, and sure enough, they survived just fine. The mushrooms attracted flies, fish, frogs, created a food chain helping the ecosystem members to protect them from the oil.

After fukushima, people asked – what would you do? There was a mushroom that hyper-accumulted cesium after chernobyl. That activity protected the other styff in the ecosystem. Remove the mushrooms after they grow, and you’ll remove much of the cesium from the area. I suggest setting up a forest, letting it become an old growth forest, and harvesting the mushrooms. It will take hundreds of years.

One mushroom (agaricon), turns out to be anti-tubercular Novel antiviral and antibacterial compounds. Found a new class of medicines in this kind of mushroom. Longest living mushroom lives without rotting. Has a host defensive immunity that protects it. Grows exclusively in old growth forests.

Got some of its tissue into culture. 40 strains of this rare species now in the lab. Extracellular metabolites – called fomitopsterols turn out to be incredibly potent antivirals and antimicrobials. Diluted to 1%, it is more potent than any other antiviral currently on the market.

We should save the old growth forest of a matter of national defense.

Great vitamin d sources – equivalent of 8 hrs of sun exposure.

Turkey tail mushroom study in breast cancer patients (HER2 positive, estrogen response-negative). After radiation, your immune system is killed by radiation therapy. Mushroom re-grows immune system, but doesn’t overgrow the killer cells. Mother called, crying, my right breast is 5 times the size of my left, I have 5 angry lymph nodes. Massively metastatic cancer, had crossed the midline, invaded the liver. She was put into the study (irony – he was providing the mushrooms for the study).

ANother cordyceps mushroom in study, used medicinally for hundreds of years.
Has a mushroom state and a mold state. Insects are repelled by the stores. Was able to morph the mucelium to a pre-sporulating state. Theinsects were attracted – then super-attracted. Then the mycelium mummified the insects, and under the right conditions, grew new mushrooms from the insect. Termite study was very effective.

Doesn’t harm bees. Works on both social and non-social insects (including mosquitoes and gnats). Attracts mosquitoes as well as a human hand. Can help reduce insect disease vectors. We could control zoonotic diseases simply by attracting them – steer insect migrations across landscapes, then bring in turkey tails to help build human immunity – could be a game changer in human health worldwide.

Just got a patent for use against all kinds of insects.

This, I believe will save billions of dollars, millions of lives, all while protecting biodiversity.

What we do in our lifetime is the legacy we leave.


The Rights of Nature: An Idea Whose Time has Come, Natalia Greene

Intro: Lynn twist
In 2008, in Ecuador, a miracle occurred – a country of 14 million on the equator. One of the most biodiverse locations on earth. A country where indigenous voices are heard – loud and heard. In 2007, new president was elected on the platform that the country was being governed under a colonialist constitution. If elected, he’d call a constitutional convention including indigenous peoples. 1st world constitution that gives rights to nature under fundamental primary law. A magna carta moment. Bolivia followed suit. Initiated a global movement for the rights of nature/mother earth. Forest system, river systems, etc. now have legal rights in courts in Bolivia and Ecuador.

Natalia Greene:
It is a privilege talking to this amazing crowd. I am thankful I get to speak under the image of a condor. I was hiking, thinking about what rights of nature mean to me. I remember asking my parents as a child: “really you didn’t have TV when you were young?” and imagined my own children asking “really mom, nature didn’t have rights when you were young?”

I was at a conference in SF, and heard people saying “Can you believe this, people running around saying nature has a right to exist?” I think it was the dying gasp of a colonial power.

South America has been an exporter of nature. We are already exceeding our capacities (astonishing map of deforestation in Ecuador). Our economy is based on extraction – of oil, and forest products. But these resources are not located in a desert – they are in one of the most biodiverse regions of the planet. But the destruction of the ecosystem is considered unimportant – a secondary effect.

Our govt has not realized what the indigenous people have been saying for years – our wealth is not under the ground – it’s all around us. After the biggest oil spill (Texaco) in a rainforest, we took note of our indigenous people. We elected a president who helped create the 1st constitution in the world to recognize nature as having rights.

Rights of nature is not a new concept, and not invented by Ecuador. Humans are not the owners of everything animate. We cannot achieve a just society when women, animas and nature are viewed as inferiors.


Rights of nature

Article 71. Nature, or Pacha Mama, where life is reproduced and occurs, has the right to integral respect for its existence and for the maintenance and regeneration of its life cycles, structure, functions and evolutionary processes.

All persons, communities, peoples and nations can call upon public authorities to enforce the rights of nature. To enforce and interpret these rights, the principles set forth in the Constitution shall be observed, as appropriate.

The State shall give incentives to natural persons and legal entities and to communities to protect nature and to promote respect for all the elements comprising an ecosystem.

Article 72. Nature has the right to be restored. This restoration shall be apart from the obligation of the State and natural persons or legal entities to compensate individuals and communities that depend on affected natural systems.

In those cases of severe or permanent environmental impact, including those caused by the exploitation of nonrenewable natural resources, the State shall establish the most effective mechanisms to achieve the restoration and shall adopt adequate measures to eliminate or mitigate harmful environmental consequences.

Article 73. The State shall apply preventive and restrictive measures on activities that might lead to the extinction of species, the destruction of ecosystems and the permanent alteration of natural cycles.

The introduction of organisms and organic and inorganic material that might definitively alter the nation’s genetic assets is forbidden.

Article 74. Persons, communities, peoples, and nations shall have the right to benefit from the environment and the natural wealth enabling them to enjoy the good way of living.

Environmental services shall not be subject to appropriation; their production, delivery, use and development shall be regulated by the State.

We need to use nature in ways that acknowledge our interdependence.

We were all recognizing that a legal instrument will need to recognize and incorporate the thoughts of indigenous people. When negotiating with the lawyers, we had to address gaia as host.

In philosophy, we have a right to regenerate … and so does nature, but we have not given nature the time to regenerate.

What we need is a model based on reciprocity and well-being. Endless accumulation has no future and is completely contradictory to survival. We have not granted nature rights, we have only recognized something nature has always had, but we were too blind to see.

The govt is trying to develop a dev model based on the rights of nature and well being. But it’s not fully impmenented. It’s like a tamale – it looks like a tamale. You unwrap it, and it smells like a tamale, but you taste it, and it’s not a tamale. We have a lot of work to do.

We all need to work to guarantee the implementation of these fundamental rights. We need more countries to recognize the rights of nature into their legal frameworks. Think of our near future, and bring corporations to court for crimes against humanity and nature. The pollution does not respect the borders created by colonialists.

People once thought that granting collectie rights would end individual rights, that women’s rights would devastate families, that eliminating apartheid would eliminate white south africans. There is no dichotomy between development and the rights of nature. As Ghandi said – there are plenty of resources for human need, but not human greed.

We need to stop industrial fishing that rips apart the floor of the oceans and throws back the dead unwanted species. We need to rething property rights. We might even want to rethink patenting animals plants and sees, because we don’t own them. Why do we keep accepting arguments that destroy our ecosystem? Nature just wants us to accept the cycle of restoration and evolution. Insanity is trying the same thing and expecting different results. Why do we keep trying to use fossil fuels instead of green energy?

How can we protect our rights if nature doesn’t have rights? In the work we do in ecuador, we look at criteria and indicators to recognize the rights of nature. But recognition is only one part. A shaman says half of the spiritual beings have left their territory due to underground exploration. We have lost the ability to listen to nature. We have no idea of the effects of our work on nature. Just look at climate change. Why not acknowledge natures rights, not nature’s “value” – even if the value is carbon capture.

We need to recognize the rights of nature not because they are rights but because it is right.

It’s only been 3 years and it’s already being discussed at the UN. Nutrition rights came when people were undernourished. Women’s rights when women were excluded. We, as part of the nature, are talking nature’s rights.

We need your help to make it real.

We are now celebrating one year of Global Alliance for the rights of nature

Ecuador’s people have taken the first step to creating a new
social contract with the rights of nature.

The rights of nature is an idea whose time has come.


Music break w/Imogen Heap

I didn’t catch the name of the first song, but the second was Lifeline. Inspired by an image in the Guardian UK of a man on a bicycle attempting to outrun the tsunami. The image enabled her to understand the enormity of the tragedy from the perspective of one human, and then extrapolate to the all those who lost so much.

The third was Propeller Seeds, a song about the love she found with her partner Thomas.


The Emerging Imagination Age, Joshua Fouts

“The creative adult is the child who has survived.” – Ursula K. LeGuin

The transformation of our planet is in the hands of a group of 5 – 10 year olds. We need to embrace and empower that generation, because they’re going to inherit whatever we create.

The imagination age – in 2006 Rita J. King was working with a 9yo girl. They went for walks on the beach, and the girl said “you give me a lot of hope.” WHy? “Because you’re the 1st adult who has let me believe I don’t have to lose my imagination when I grow up.”

She then spent 6 mo on the gulf coast reporting post hurricane. After the exhaustion, a friend told her to do something easy for a bit – thy “Second Life.” Being an investigative journalist she started asking people questions – asked where synagogues and mosques were. Interviewed people at a Shabat that was taking place in one of the synagogues. The woman was a muslim who always wanted to attend and learn about a shabbat, but the tensions post 9-11 made that impossible. She found this a profound experience – being able to participate in Second Life in a meaningful way.

We are in a world in which conflict is being raised to a terrible and dangerous level. So we got a grant to explore the use of virtual worlds for public diplomacy. People told us we would never find people in the middle east who would be willing to participate in a virtual world. We found exactly the opposite – we found people from 25 different countries building religious buildings, working together to create virtual worlds. We found a group of Jews, Muslims and Christians trying to recreate 16th century Andalusia (al Andaluse) and it’s peaceful coexistence in Spain.

We had some interesting discoveries, and questions. If I don’t take my shoes off when entering a virtual mosque, will it be dishonoring the religion? Even if not removing digital shoes won’t affect soiling of the space. Would that act be a spriritually important act?

A coupe years later we went to Al Andaluse to see what was happening. We found people trying to have discussions about important and difficult issues in a way that could not escalate into physical violence.

One woman goes to a very crowded mosque in real life and is relegated to a side room, rather than the main room. She found that her ability to experience god was limited, she couldn’t feel that connection. But in second life, she could create the space that would give her the ability to achieve the connection.

People don’t think of virtual worlds as being ‘real’ or meaningful. But it turns out people in these virtual worlds are having very deep experiences because of the power of imagination. If you take an artistic approach to virtual worlds instead of a technological view, you can experience the world differently.

We discovered a location in Louisiana, with a building called “light” – a place with one of the most immersive VR systems in the world. There were middle school kids at a 2 week programming camp to learn to build computer games. They knew some people would be brought into Lafayette LA to talk to them about their experience. The kids assigned themselves roles then built these games. The games they were assigned to build were of a very serious nature. In LA, the state with the lowest of low scores on everything – everything stacked against them. They built games for reducing obesity, protect environment, improve health care.

One game they developed: Whack a nutria (a rodent that is common there). How do you know the whack-a-mole people won’t sue you for copyright infringement. One of the kids came out with a very serious 6-pt list of why they were not infringing.

If you take kids and tell them we’re going to treat you like adults and expect that kind of responsibility for you. If you do that, the kids will do it. It’s amazing what they can do. Resulting report: Imagination – creating the future of education and work (web report).

Our educational systems are training for industrial culture rather than entrepreneurial culture. IN 5th – 6th grade, their brains are agile. Collaboration is an asset. Taking a test alone, not working with fellow studens is counter to the way our society is evolving. In this interconnected collaborative world with all these tools, we have to accept that they can be collaborative, and trusting them to do that in a responsible way.

We were then invited to the Science House Foundation – a center for lifelong science learning. Grownup section invests in science based startups. Science is apolitical. People rise above geopolitical backgrounds. Just look at LHC – 100 scientists from all over the world.

Saul Perlmutter found that universe may not be expanding the way Einstein predicted. Parallel universe to the rest of the universe – that got me thinking, if that’s true, then what if we just reimagine a better way? What will happen?

Building a global (microglobalscope) network, providing high powered microscopes to 5th grade teachers around the world. The only requirement of the students – to share their discoveries with each other across the world via the web site.

—–The Real Food Challenge, Anim Steel

Targeting enormous food purchasing power of universities. Getting students to demand that their universities purchase healthier local foods.

Really the old people got together and said “He’s gonna do it.”

I’ve spent nearly all of my 30s working on food justice. I do it because I think it’s one of the defining issues of our time. It’s also the only way I know to make a true difference in all the places I call home – America, Ghana, W/ Africa. (I want to thank the drummers – I felt so connected and so happy. The unmistakable sound of the djimbe reminded me of home.)

I was asked to talk about the real food challenge, but Im going to start at a different lace. Remember yesterday’s google earth presentation – zoom in, zoom out. I want to zoom way out then zoom back in. I’m going to ask you to take a mental journey with me. A journey past 3 doors at different places in time and space.

1st door: Imagine you’re in a room 30 ftx 30 ft. Floor is stone. Walls and ceiling are stone & cement mix. THey’re damp. It’s a dampness you can only smell because the room is pitch black. It’s absolutely dark except for the light coming from one wall. It’s coming from a low arched doorway, in whose frame is silhouetted an iron gate. As you turn to face the door, and you let your eyes adjust, you can see the beach – a narrow strip of beach, then the blue & gray of the ocean beyond. This is the door of no return. It’s the last place you would touch of Africa if you were a slave passing through it on the way to the waiting ship.

I stood in front of this door when visiting my family in Ghana. It was plapable. Millions of people walked past that spot in the way to a wretched death at sea or a life of bondage overseas. If you were one of those people, you would have been ripped from your family, shackled by the neck to other people, and thrown into this castle to the door fo no return. And you would have been stuffed into a crowded reeking room waiting for a ship.

This door represents our capacity for cruelty to one another – and our capcity for resilience. My ancestors did not go through that door, but the descendants of those who did, not only survived in America, they built America. And the opened all the doors that helped me in my life.

That door also represents the beginning of the modern food system. If you could look through that door all the way across the atlantic, you’d see an endless row of plantations. And these vast mon-ocrops led to depleted soil. But it made money – huge amounts of money.

Looking through that door you can see the logic of the modern food system – profit above all else, above people and the earth. The logic of the plantation is the logic of the modern food system. It helps to understand this logic. Understanding the logic

In this system, it is the interest of the middle man to squeeze farmers, externalize the costs and to “add value.” When you hear “add value” you should think processing, sweeteners, and all sorts of junk. It may make us crave it more but does nothing for our wellbeing.

This model might work well for some things, but I know it doesn’t work for food.

I know it doesn’t work. I know it doesn’t work, because I know Lucas a tomatoe worker in southern florida who toils dawn to dusk without sun protection who eill never get out o poverty. I know it doesn’t work for a farmer in iowa whowas harrassed almost out of existence by Monsanto. It doesn’t work for the kids I met in NY who, when I asked how many had diabetes or knew a family meber with oit – every single hand went up.

It doesn’t work when you want real food. Real food is food that nourishes the body, the earth, and people – those that eat and those that produce.

If the logic the industrial food system is profit above all else, the logic of real food is respect and balance. It’s not against profit, it’s just against not sharing with those who work the hardest to bring us our food.

I want to go back to that door. It represents what were against 50 years of industry that is only there to make money.

2nd Door
It’s a wooden door in London, it says “Print Shop.”

If you were standing outside this door, you’d have seen 12 men, mostly quakers, go inside for a meeting. It was the 1st meeting of the British Anti-slavery campaign. What they started there – petitions to parliament, book tours, etc. This group of 12 in 10 years grew to 100s of thousands around the world. I just 40 years, they ended slavey in the british empire. Amazing book: “Bury the Chains.” It also tells the story of the slaves themselves who fought for their freedom.

I reached for this book when the Kellog Foundation released its study. How much of US expenditure is on real food? Less than 2%. I’d been working on the food project for years at the time, and we were doing so much and it was really growing – and then it turned out we were just a blip.

At the time when those men who walked in that door, the order of the day was slavery and serfdom. 3/4 of the world’s population was slave or serf. All they had was their belief in the difference between right and wrong.

That door represents a small group of people can and will change the world.

3rd Door:
It’s that one (points). It represents the idea that big change can start with small things.
In 2006, I was training teens and college students started to join the groups. Students on campus were asking for organics, local foods, fair trade coffee. Then some of us started working together and realized that colleges and universities spend 5 billion per year to feed their students. What if we could rediirect some of that into local, small, ethical producers. We could do it if there was strong student leadership.

One of them, Alex (slidar?), from WA state. His father lost their farm and ended up working on a feed lot. His brothers joined the military. Alex was following in their footsteps at naval academy, but then decided to help his country by joining the weal food network He was joined by Mohamed Omar from Somalia. Who never considered himself an activist. We have a famine in Somalia, but we live in the US. My family is dealing with the same issues of food security as in Somalia.

So they asked for dining service records, then asked the president to commit to 20% real food by 2020. This campaign is now rolling out. Students please get in touch if you want to be a part of it.

In 3 years, we built 5000 student network at 350 colleges. Students have won 45 million dollars in annual food budgets for real food – including the entire U. California system. Food Day – October 24, 2011. This is the day it’s rolling out.

We estimate 1 billion in annual food purchases shifted to real food.

We also created a real food calculator. It allows students to look at the invoices, see what’s actually going on. If your school wants to do that, let me know.

It’s about more than dollars. It’s about farmers, like an apple farmer in RI – and Alex, instead of struggling, is selling to Brown university, but also to the elementary schools.

It’s also about hog farmer whose hogs are free pastured – who now has a contract with the local university, so she can afford free pasture instead fo “smoking hogs over their own manure” in industrial farm.

It’s just redirecting money that’s already being spent – instead of a boycott, it’s a “procott” – investing in the outcomes we want.

The Real Food challenge is only part of a food movment. I had no idea I’d find allies all over the country – with groups with fabulous names, everywhere. These are teens, 20-somethings, 30-somethings. They’re using the recipes of their grandmothers, nanas, (etc.) and revitalizing their communities.

A this point, shows a video:

We’re starting an initiative called Live Real – you can go make the commitment you need to make in your life – share your starting point at (currently in beta, but come back later to sign up and share your commitment).


Reinventing Fire, Amory Lovins

David Orr, Intro:

Case was bulletproof. In god we trust – all others bring data.

He introduced what he called Vision across boundaries – a systems view of the world.

Lovins: After that intro I can’t wait to hear what I’m going to say.

Fire made us humans, fossil fuels made us modern. We need a new fire to bring us into the future. Saving fossil fuels costs us less than not burning it. Powering the world is from burning 4 cubic miles of dead plants and dinosaur poop. It’s rising cost to our security economy, health, and environment are starting otoutweigh the benefits.

Our sistem today is disconnected, inefficient, …

Very effiicent vehicles buildings and factories save money, displace oil and coal and save natural gas to displace oil and coal. Renewables can displace more.

It could save 5 trillion dollars vs business as usual, while growing 158% larger economy, using 0% energy from oil, coal, and nuclear.

Regardless of what you care about (environment, national security, economy), this makes sense.

“If a problem cannot be solved, enlarge it.” – Eisenhower.

America burns $2billion worth of oil a day, but then there are the other costs , of $2 trillion each. The cost of the treasure transfer and costs to the economy = 1/2 trillion/yr. The market value of oil’s price volatility costs us another 12 trillion. Oil price spikes have preceded every recession in the last 40 years. Another 1/2 trillion is for military intervention. Hard to believe we’d have invaded the middle east twice in one year if they just grew broccoli. They are 10x what we spend for the oil itself

Oil is finite. The pentagon is preparing to continue without oil. We should, too.

Oil is 1/6 of GDP.

How can we make autos oil free. Weight is the biggest factor in oil use of cars. Lighter less slippery autos need less energy to move them. THis makes it possible to use electricity to power them. Electric vehicles will be able to sell for same sticker price, bt use less energy.

A temp fee-bate, a fee on inefficient vehicles to fund the shift to more efficient autos. In Europe, feebates have increased rate of improved efficiency of autos by 3x.

America could lead the next auto revolution, but Germany is leading. VW is producing a carbon fiber plug-in hybrid, as has BMW. Audi is going to beat them both by a year.CEO: “We do not intend to be a typerwriter maker”

Today’s military energy revolution will speed civilian advances. Like when military research created internet, GPS, and microchip industries. Not to mention the benefit of not needing to invade the middle east.

Revilutions in how vehicles are not just made bu also used. Looking at rush hour peaks, we’ve got idling. We could charge by when people drive, use smart growth, more efficient traffic ssystems. Giving betteraccess with 40 – 60% less driving, and thus far less fuel.

We can use no oil and save $4 trillion. The biofules we’d still need could be grown without using good farm land.

The 6 sectors in need of transformation are near their tipping points:

Oil use will peak in 5 years. It’s uncompetetive at low prices before it becomes unavailable at high prices.

Using smart grids and electric cars make it easier to solve both the auto and electricity problems.

Saving electricity and making it differently – promise more diverse disruptions. We’ve got 21st century needs and tech colliding with the 19th century tech of the grid.

Efficiency of buildings can save 4x what they cost to achieve. Industry can get an internal rate of return in 21%.

Big savings can be turned into expanding returns with massive retrofits. Remanufacturing existing windows on sight into super windows saved 30% of cooling osts. Doing the BIG retrofit created a 3 year payback than if they’d done piecemeal retrofits.

1/2 of all motor efficiency savings can be made with certain improvements. But redesigning a pumping loop to use less energy – short fat pipes, rather than long thin crooked pipes. All the compounding losses in a motor – every unit of flow or friction you save in the pipe results in 10x savings at the power output end.

Due to recent reductions in panel costs, solar installers can now install panels on your roof in many states, with no upfront charges, and guarantee to save you money over your current electric bill.

Global generating capacity: micropower = 91% of NEW global electrical generation.

Without nuclear how can we displace Coal? Use elec as efficiently as the top 6 states already do. Then install the already queued wind power THen add new wind.

Industrial and large commercial cogeneraton

Then add other renewables. Solar on 3 percent of rooftops.

Doing this would replace coal 16 times over.

Industry would build some plants, maybe add some renewables, then get rewarded for selling you MORE electricity. That’s now being inverted. In countryies that do this are winning.

Our energy future is not fate, but choice And that choice is very flexible.

Not all the fossils are in the fuel. Companies hampered by old thinking simply won’t be part of the problem for long, because they won’t be around for long.

Not dug from below, but falling from above.

Please consider how we can make the world fairer, cooler, and safer by reinventing fire.

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