The Bioneers conference this weekend was truly inspiring. I learned enough to share some revolutionary ideas with you for a long time. Throughout the week, and maybe longer, I’ll summarize the things I’ve learned and what we can do. I didn’t get any “rain barrel” type suggestions for things I can do at home. Bioneers is about restoring the earth, communities, and individuals, using a different mindset through which to consider things.
Nancy King Smith, the chairperson of the Cleveland Bioneers, began the conference. She reminded us that Bioneers are about solutions, and the change from fear to hope. There were 4,000 attendees in California, and 18 beaming sites. In Cleveland, we had visitors from Canada and the Bahamas, and throughout Ohio.
Cleveland Mayor Jackson was the first to speak, and he pointed out that there is no separation between humans and the environment. As Mayor, he tries to make decisions with that notion in mind. Mayor Jackson supports sustainability, and he has signed the US Mayors Climate Protection Agreement to advance the goals of the Kyoto treaty.
Andrew Watterson is the Sustainability Program Manager for Cleveland, and he spoke second. He pointed out the goal of Cleveland is to have lower utility costs to help the city’s residents. As Sustainability Program Manager, he is focused on green affordable housing, consistent with the triple bottom line: economic, environmental, and community sustainability. He spoke about the City Fresh program, which allows urban youth to take part in community gardens, where they can grow their own vegetables and sell them at markets. (more on community gardens later!) He mentioned the importance to lead by example, and it seems that Cleveland’s leadership is taking steps in the right direction when it comes to the triple bottom line. Cleveland’s operational efficiency task force is focused on improving service and efficiency. Since automating recycling, Cleveland’s recycling program has increased from 6.9% participation in 2005 to 9.6% in 2007. That small increase has saved 22,000 tons of waste that was destined for a landfill.
Bioneers is beyond sustainability, and seeks to restore the planet.
Media Update: The Cleveland Plain Dealer has a nice article about the conference.