Whidbey Island Bioneers 2012: From breakdown to breakthrough!

The Institute staff are on a bit of a high, and we’re riding it through this beautiful fall post-conference week!

Last weekend, October 19-21, 2012, over a hundred Whidbey Island Bioneers participants converged at Chinook for three vibrant days of networking, ideas sharing, and marvelous dreaming and doing on behalf of a thriving planet and community.

The Whidbey Institute was honored to host Meg Wheatley, leading systems thinker and author of the new book “So Far From Home: Lost and Found in a Brave New World,” for the Friday night keynote. Meg’s presentation centered on themes pertaining to how we as agents of change can steward ourselves and our work through dark and challenging times. Both inspiring and provocative, her talk generated energetic dialogue among attendees throughout the remainder of the weekend.

Plenary speakers of all stripes, “beamed” via live video each morning from the central Bioneers site in San Rafael, CA, included such thinkers as Bill McKibben of 350.org fame, global and community activists Marina Silva and Ai-Jen Poo, and Paul Hawken, who all shared their wisdom on topics from activism to the future of energy and the “Christian Left.” The airy gathering space of Thomas Berry Hall held audiences for morning content, before the audience dissembled for a delicious and nourishing lunch, served by Chef Christyn Johnson and her capable crew.

Afternoons were devoted to practical, informative, hands-on, as well as energizing workshops on the land, and we are so grateful for the energy brought by all the workshop presenters who were here throughout the weekend and who shared with us their knowledge and gifts! From writers to dancers to gardeners and biomimicry experts to documentary filmmakers and architects of the new economy, the diverse array of minds and ideas was powerfully felt throughout the three days.

The WI staff also want to thank all our volunteers who helped pull off this event through their contributions: from setting up and breaking down before and after workshops, greeting newcomers, performing shuttle and parking duty, and a myriad of other tasks.

Bioneers has a long-standing culture of supporting youth participation, and this year we were blessed to have a strong youth contingent on the land, hailing from Olympia to as far as Colorado.

Saturday evening’s social activities were dynamic and memorable: from square dancing to sauna to an outdoor bonfire, there was plenty of fun to choose from!

Sponsors Antioch University Center for Creative Change, BGI (Bainbridge Graduate Institute), KCTS 9, OSR (Organizational Systems Renewal) at BGI, Puget Sound Energy, Mukilteo Coffee Roasters, Sustainable Path Foundation, and the UW Program of the Environment, all sent “delegates” and workshop presenters this year, and infused the weekend with a powerful energy which gave Paul Hawken’s “Blessed Unrest” a whole new meaning.

On Sunday, as attendees exchanged final regards and embraces and prepared to depart back out into the world, the rain came, and a glorious sun broke out over the land, as if in blessing for what we had shared, and for what lies ahead.

To all past, present, and future Bioneers: may experiences like this feed and serve our spirits as we carry forth our work in a world which needs our hope and our best selves, now more than ever.

October 25, 2012

People & Partners