2nd Bioneers Chicago Event – Success!

Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago

This was the first time I was in a room full of people who were honestly talking about community resilience.
It was good to know that there are so many of us!

Bioneers gathered cutting edge thinkers, can-do people, and inspired me to approach sustainability in new ways.

Rejuvenating and inspiring, this event fueled my creative spirit to work on sustainability and resilience projects in my community.
Plus, I now feel I have broader connections and more resources to do it!

Celebrating Community Resilience
From Friday, November 1 through Sunday, November 3, Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago presented their 2nd Annual Event, “Celebrating Community Resilience”. Eco-Justice Collaborative served as lead for this event, with the participation and support of the Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago Core Team; Program Planning and Outreach Teams. The program event guide includes acknowledgements; a detailed schedule for each of the three days; and biographies for the nearly 75 people who led workshops and skill shares.

Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago 2013 Event Guide

Click here or on image to view program guide

Some Highlights
FRIDAY WORKSHOPS – Friday was amazing, and placed professionals, students, and the general public together in a facilitated process designed to create an action plan that will help move Chicagoland towards resiliency in each of six areas (food, water, waste, shelter, energy and community). Professionals included: Karen Weigert, Chief Sustainability Officer, City of Chicago; Debra Shore, Metropolitan Sanitary District of Greater Chicago; Doug Farr, Farr Associates (urban planner and architect for 7 LEED platinum buildings; Kim Wasserman, 2013 Goldman Environmental Prize winner; and many, many more.

Our team now needs to compile our data, and then organize it into action steps.  Look for a full report February or March 2013.

KEYNOTES – Our keynotes were well received, and addressed our them “Celebrating Community Resilience” in very different ways

Videos are being prepared for each keynote address, and will be available for viewing on our website when editing is finished.

YOUTH PROGRAM – This was a huge success! Lots of energy in the room and commitments were made for expanding youth involvement.  Some of the outcomes include: connections between “Bioneers Youth” and the youth in Afghanistan who Nobel Peace Prize Nominee Kathy Kelly is working with.  This would be a rich cross-pollination of ideas and learning if we can make it happen.  Kathy participated on the Bioneers panel “Creative Tools for Non-Violent Direct Action.

WORKSHOPS – Our workshops from advocacy and activism to “hands on” experiences and skillshares provided something of interest for everyone. The expertise of all presenters built on topics discussed on Friday by providing practical solutions to the challenges we face locally.

EVENT OPENINGS – Each day our Native American friend, William Buccholtz, Playing from Spirit, opened our event with his presence and music. Saturday and Sunday music and dance performances (gamelin and capoeria) followed our welcome remarks, offering a time to experience some of the rich, cultural diversity we have in Chicago.

EVENT CLOSINGS – Our Saturday and Sunday closings got people off their feet, singing and dancing in the aisles. We “sang for the climate”, and will submit our video to the international website “Sing for the Climate” for posting. Our closings were great fun, offering time at the end of the day to celebrate relationships, possibilities and the journey ahead. These too will be available for viewing on video.

Closing Thoughts
Earl Hatley, Tribal Leader and Grand River Keeper provides closing thoughts on this year’s event:

Thank you Pam for the honor of being a presenter at this event. I met a lot of wonderful people and made valuable contacts for the future, including you, Lan and the Chicago Bioneers.

Tom Goldtooth visited my farm while I was in Chicago. He was a speaker at the National Bioneers conference this year. I talked with him over the phone and he had a lot of great things to say about the organization. He is the founder and E.D. of the Indigenous Environmental Network. We have been great friends since the late 1980’s. I started working on tar sands extraction with him in 2006 with First Nations in Alberta. Anyway, I am glad there happened to be a Nation magazine reporter in my workshop so that the Chicago Bioneers received a national shout out. Can’t hurt to get the name in the national media! I wish you all the best for the future.

I think your efforts will continue to grow and develop into a sustainable presence for your region that will show people the various efforts they can take to make their lives more free of toxics, fossil fuels, Monsanto seeds and foods, better informed about climate change and the world around us, and how to convey these issues through art, music and other expressive forms. Multiple forms of healing body and soul are also important and your conference conveyed all of these issues and ideas in one three day event. That is pretty amazing.

I am sure I will continue to hear great things from you and see you again. Moving forward…..

Earl

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