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Bioneers is a salon of ideas and exchange that highlight the world we wish to see.

-David Orr, PhD, Board Member, National Bioneers


Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago Event, 2013

The 2013 theme Celebrating Community Resilience, called us to recognize that we are capable of bouncing back from social, economic and environmental challenges and move into meaningful actions to bring about essential change.  It was held from November 2 through 4, at Roosevelt University, Chicago.

Eco-Justice served as the lead organizer and fiscal sponsor for this event.  We are grateful for the leadership team and our sponsors, including the Pierce Family Foundation, who made this event both possible and a success!


Plenary Speakers

Click on videos above, to watch presentations by:

David Orr, PhD. Professor Orr is an award-winning scholar and leader in the sustainability movement, He is renowned for his pioneering work on environmental literacy and ecological design, including The Oberlin Project, a joint effort of the City of Oberlin, Oberlin College, and private and institutional partners to improve the resilience, prosperity, and sustainability of our community. He also serves on the National Board of Directors

Albert Bates. Albert is author of many books including The Biochar Solution, The Post Petroleum Survival Guide and Cookbook, and Climate in Crisis. He is the cofounder of Global Village Institute for Appropriate Technology (which he has headed for 35 years) and the Global Ecovillage Network.

John Michael Greer. John Michael is a scholar of ecological history and an internationally renowned Peak Oil theorist whose blog, “The Archdruid Report,” has become one of the most widely cited online resources dealing with the future of industrial society. He is the author of more than 30 books including The Wealth of Nature and The Long Descent.

Ameena Matthews. Ameena Matthews’s work as an “interrupter” for Cure Violence was documented in the acclaimed documentary “The Interrupters”. In this role, she aggressively mediates conflicts, arbitrating between individuals and even physically stepping into the middle of them in order to prevent their escalation to physical violence.

Gunther Hawk. Gunther is the director of Spikenard Farm Honeybee Sanctuary. Over these decades, he has given many workshops on biodynamic agriculture and sustainable/biodynamic beekeeping methods throughout the United States. In his book “Toward Saving the Honeybee” (2002) he calls for a radical change from current approaches to beekeeping. The Spikenard Honeybee Sanctuary is located in Floyd, VA.

Sandra Steingraber, PhD.  Dr. Steingraber is an author,journal, and environmental activist.  She was instrumental in working for the ban against fracking in New York State, and provided Friday evening’s keynote address:  The New Abolitionists of Illinois and their Fight Against Fracking.

Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago 2013 Event Guide

2013 Program

Friday’s program included six, 2 1/2-hour long workshops focused on shelter, waste, energy, food, water, and community resilience.  They designed to bring forward ideas for making Chicago a more resilient city.  Workshops were co-led by both plenary speakers and some of Chicago’s most prominent innovators, educators, designers, organizers, and elected officials, and attended by the general public, business persons, educators, environmental activists, students and more.

Click here for the 2013 event guide, which includes bios for all workshop leaders, in addition to schedule and sponsors for the 2013 event.


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Photographs were taken by Roark Johnson, Roark Johnson Photography, and Nancy Hill.  View with Cool Iris and navigate through all pictures or watch a full-screen slide show. Begin by clicking any photograph.

Radio Interviews …

Listen to Jerome McDonnell, host of WBEZ’s Worldview, interview Keynote David Orr. Learn about the Bioneers movement and the Oberlin Project, a public / private partnership, designed to make the City of Oberlin climate positive by 2040.

Hear Mike Nowak, host of WCPT’s The Mike Nowak Show, interview keynote Sandra Steingraber and plenary speaker Albert Bates a few weeks before the event:

Sandra Steingraber: The Fight to Ban Fracking in Illinois
Scientist, author, activist and parent Sandra Steingraber talks about her fight to prevent fracking in her home state of Illinois and her adopted state of New York.

Albert Bates; Ecovillage Response to the Crises of Our Planet
Author, lecturer and permaculturist with the Ecovillage Training Center, Bates talks about how appropriate, sustainable choices are the key to the future of America and the planet.

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Great Lakes Bioneers Chicago is a local affiliate of Bioneers that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and the planet. Our vision for the future is rooted in nature-inspired solutions to the world’s most pressing social justice and environmental challenges. For more information on National Bioneers, visit:  www.bioneers.org.