At Bioneers By The Bay www.connectingforchange.org
In her keynote speech, discussing the systematic corporate pillaging of our planet, Vindana Shiva asked, “Did anyone ever ask the earth worm?” I was immediately stopped by imagery within the question and it took me to the line in Trina Paulus’ book “Hope for the Flowers,” “Without butterflies the world would have few flowers.” Later, these two visionaries, one a physicist, writer, farmer, activist; the other a writer, environmental activist and artist, met outside in the exhibition tent, and discussed the problems, and solutions.
Climbing Poetree performed. Alixa and Naima stood on opposite sides of the stage in meditative poses, bodies facing each other, eyes closed, as a short film played. The bottled water industry reaps billions in profits. The water that fills them is usually equivalent in quality to what comes out of most Americans’ sink taps. The industry uses 8 times as much water for each bottle they fill. The plastic bottles are made of oil. For oil we kill abroad. Billions of people in the world do not have access to clean water. Yet we, people, let the bottled water industry profit off of the earth’s most precious resource. Plastic doesn’t decompose. Why is this allowed?
At Bioneers, things become clear to me. Yes, often, like about the bottled water industry, these are things I already know. But I become educated with details and facts. The power of this conference for me, is the coming together of what is obvious to many of us, in clear, structured arguments, poems, performances and speeches. The power of having so many people with concrete solutions to the world’s most pressing problems, in one place, meeting and discussing solutions, is extraordinary. And what becomes more obvious to me each year, is that this doesn’t need to be difficult. It really comes down to not doing things that don’t make sense to begin with. Like producing, or buying, a bottle of water. This is a simple solution. How to stop the producers from producing; this might not be so simple. Where is the Ghandi of the environmental world? Is it Shiva? Paulus? Or is it all of us?
Paul Hawken said that we can create enough energy to stop using fossil fuels worldwide by building an infrastructure of 10,000 square miles of solar panels and wind turbines covering an area the size of Manhattan. Think, if you will, about the technological feat, human and environmental cost and undertaking of the current wars in the Middle East. Now picture Hawken’s vision. Why is the former happening but not the latter?
Bioneers By The Bay. “Visionary and practical solutions for restoring the earth and its inhabitants.” Once again, I feel lucky to have been there. And, once again, I am left asking myself, how do I do my part? The solutions are right in front of us.