Speaker Schedule for Bioneers 2024
Thursday, March 28th
Author & Activist
Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land
Taylor Brorby is the author of: Boys and Oil: Growing Up Gay in a Fractured Land; Crude: Poems; Coming Alive: Action; and Civil Disobedience; and is co-editor of: Fracture: Essays, Poems, and Stories on Fracking in America. Taylor's work has appeared in many leading publications, including The NY Times, LitHub and Orion, and he has been supported by several prestigious fellowships, including from the MacDowell Colony and the National Book Critics Circle. He also serves on the editorial boards of Hub City Press and Terrain.org, is a contributing editor at North American Review, and teaches nonfiction writing at the University of Alabama.
Electronic Frontier Foundation
Cindy Cohn, the Executive Director of the Electronic Frontier Foundation since 2015, served as EFF’s Legal Director as well as its General Counsel from 2000 to 2015. In 1993, she served as lead attorney in Bernstein v. Dept. of Justice, the successful First Amendment challenge to the U.S. export restrictions on cryptography. Among other honors, Ms. Cohn was named to The Non-Profit Times 2020 Power & Influence TOP 50 list, and in 2018, Forbes included Ms. Cohn as one of America's Top 50 Women in Tech. In 2013, The National Law Journal named Ms. Cohn one of 100 most influential lawyers in America, noting: "If Big Brother is watching, he better look out for Cindy Cohn."
President and Founder
Dolores Huerta Foundation
Dolores Huerta is a world-renowned civil rights activist and community organizer who has worked for labor rights and social justice for 50+ years. In 1962 she and Cesar Chavez founded the United Farm Workers union, in which she served as Vice President and played a critical role in many of the union’s accomplishments for four decades. In 2002 she received the Puffin/Nation $100,000 prize for Creative Citizenship that she used to establish the Dolores Huerta Foundation (DHF), which connects groundbreaking community-based organizing to state and national movements to register and educate voters; advocate for education reform; bring about infrastructure improvements in low-income communities; advocate for greater equality for LGBT people; and create strong leadership development. She has received numerous awards including The Eleanor Roosevelt Humans Rights Award and The Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor in the United States.
Samuel Gensaw, III – Youth Keynote
Samuel Gensaw, III, (Yurok), the founding Director of the Ancestral Guard (“a community organizing network developed to encourage an Indigenous mindset and engage the people who live in our ancestral territories to respect, become a part of and restore a natural balance between people and the environment…”), is an artist, Yurok language speaker, singer, writer, cultural/political/environmental activist, regalia-maker, mediator, youth leader and fisherman.
Friday, March 29th
Sage Lenier – Youth Keynote
Solutions for a Sustainable & Just Future
Sage Lenier, a young activist fighting for an education system that properly prepares Gen Z for a climate-changed future, was recently honored by TIME Magazine as one of the nation's ten 2023 Next Generation Leaders. At 19, Sage began teaching her record-breaking program, Solutions for a Sustainable & Just Future, which has enrolled 1,800 students and counting at UC Berkeley. In 2023 Sustainable & Just Future became a nonprofit and is rapidly expanding to bring the vision of a better future (i.e., a circular economy, decarbonization, de-growth, community power, local food systems, sustainable development, and environmental justice) to a global audience. Sage recently wrapped up a Public Voices Fellowship with The Op-Ed Project & The Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC), and her work has been featured in The NY Times, The World Economic Forum and Teen Vogue and has brought her to speak at conferences, universities, and organizations around the world.
Onondaga Council of Chiefs and the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy
Oren Lyons, a Faithkeeper of the Turtle Clan who serves as a Member Chief of the Onondaga Council of Chiefs and the Grand Council of the Iroquois Confederacy (i.e. the Haudenosaunee peoples), is an accomplished artist, social and environmental activist, and author; a Professor Emeritus at SUNY Buffalo; a leading voice at the UN Permanent Forum on Human Rights for Indigenous Peoples; and the recipient of many prestigious national and international prizes including The UN NGO World Peace Prize. Oren also serves on the boards of several major nonprofit organizations and social enterprises; is founder and Principal of One Bowl Productions, a purpose driven film and TV production company; and is an All-American Lacrosse Hall of Famer and Honorary Chairman of the Iroquois Nationals Lacrosse Team.
Institute for Local Self-Reliance
Stacy Mitchell is Co-Executive Director of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance (ILSR), a research and advocacy organization that challenges concentrated corporate power and works to build thriving, equitable communities. Mitchell’s reports and articles about monopoly power have shaped the thinking of policymakers, journalists, and advocates, and as a strategist, she has helped build coalitions and win campaigns for policies that dismantle corporate power, level the playing field for independent businesses, and strengthen communities.
Claudia Peña, Executive Director of For Freedoms, an artist collective that centers art and creativity as a catalyst for transformative connection and collective liberation, serves on the faculty at UCLA School of Law and in that school’s Gender Studies Department. She is also the founding Co-Director of the Center for Justice at UCLA, home of the Prison Education Program, which creates innovative courses that enable faculty and students to learn from and alongside currently incarcerated participants. Claudia has devoted her life to justice work through community organizing, transformative and restorative justice, consciousness-raising across silos, coalition-building, teaching, advocacy through law and policy, and the arts.
Professor of Forest Ecology
University of British Columbia
Suzanne Simard, Professor of Forest Ecology at the University of British Columbia and author of the bestselling, Finding the Mother Tree, is a highly influential, researcher on the frontier of plant communication and intelligence, globally renowned for her work on how trees interact and communicate using below-ground fungal networks. Her work on forest resiliency, adaptability and recovery has far-reaching implications for how to manage and heal forests from human impacts, including climate change. Suzanne has published over 200 peer-reviewed articles, presented around the world and communicated her work to a wide audience through interviews, documentary films and online talks.
Saturday, March 30th
Environmental Ambassador, Elder and Hereditary Drumkeeper
Ponca Tribe of Oklahoma
Casey Camp-Horinek, a member of the Ponca Nation of Oklahoma, is a longtime activist, environmentalist, actress, and author. Her work has led to the Ponca Nation being the first tribe in Oklahoma to adopt a Rights of Nature statute and to pass a moratorium on fracking on its territory. Casey, who was instrumental in the drafting of the first International Indigenous Women’s Treaty protecting the Rights of Nature, works with Indigenous and other leaders and organizations globally and sits on the boards of WECAN, Movement Rights, and the Global Alliance for the Rights of Nature.
Author & Journalist
Water Always Wins: Thriving in an Age of Drought and Deluge
Erica Gies, author of the important recent book, Water Always Wins: Thriving in an age of drought and deluge, is an award-winning independent journalist who writes about water, climate change, plants and animals for many leading publications, including Scientific American, The New York Times, Nature, The Atlantic, The Guardian, National Geographic, The Economist, Washington Post, bioGraphic, Wired, etc. She has reported from her home regions of California and British Columbia and countries and Indigenous territories all over the world. Erica is also a National Geographic Explorer, served as a staff editor at various publications, and co-founded and edited two environmental news startups, Climate Confidential and This Week in Earth.
Biologist and Writer
Entangled Life: How Fungi Make Our Worlds, Change Our Minds and Shape Our Futures
Merlin Sheldrake, Ph.D., a biologist and writer with a background in plant sciences, microbiology, ecology, and the history and philosophy of science, received his doctorate in tropical ecology from Cambridge for his work on underground fungal networks in tropical forests in Panama, where he was a predoctoral research fellow of the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute. He is currently a research associate of the Vrije University Amsterdam, works with the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN), and sits on the advisory board of the Fungi Foundation. Merlin’s research ranges from fungal biology, to the history of Amazonian ethnobotany, to the relationship between sound and form in resonant systems. He is also a keen brewer and fermenter fascinated by the relationships that arise between humans and more-than-human organisms, and a musician.
Wildlife Ecologist and Conservation Biologist
University of California at Santa Barbara + Host of Wild Kingdom
Rae Wynn-Grant, Ph.D., a wildlife ecologist and conservation biologist who researches how human activity influences carnivore behavior and ecology and is passionate about science communication, is the creator of the award-winning podcast "Going Wild with Dr. Rae Wynn-Grant" (produced by PBS’ Nature) and has recently become the co-host of the just resuscitated revered TV show, Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. Currently a Research Faculty member at the Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, she maintains a Research Fellow position with the National Geographic Society in partnership with the American Prairie Reserve and a Visiting Scientist position at the American Museum of Natural History. Dr. Grant, who also serves on the Board of Directors for NatureBridge, is a leading advocate for women and people of color in the sciences and is the author of many scientific papers, as well as her upcoming memoir, Wild Life.
Afternoon Panels, Interactive Sessions, Films and More