No matter where we turn, we’re fed news and information about all the world’s activities. TV, radio, magazine and the web, we’re connected. With a limited attention span, the headlines demand our attention and they bombard us with disturbing stories that cause concern: chronic unemployment and rising income inequality. Crushing government debt and bank bailouts. Energy wars and food insecurity. Don’t forget: there’s no escaping toxic chemicals. They’re everywhere. Already on sensory overload we’re hit with reports of storm damage in Florida, drought in Australia and hurricane in Haiti. Want more? Old growth forests burn in Colorado and heat waves devastate crops in Russia. Is it any wonder rates of anxiety are sky high?
To salvage the last shreds of our sanity, we shut off and tune out and get on with what is our hectic, too-busy life. In the back of our mind, however, we conclude: the world’s messed up and we don’t have a chance.
Or is it? Presented an array of options to pay attention to, we’re wired to choose that which presents possible danger to us. The media understands human nature and keeps our attention, but at the expense of exposing the largest story in the history of the world: the response to the massive problems that confront humanity.
It’s a movement that imagines something different, that see opportunities where others see challenges Made up of diverse, distributed and unique organizations numbering in the millions, the goal is nothing short of remaking civilization. Engineers and farmers, scientists and artists, architects and ecologists, they innovate, experiment, network and collaborate. From food and fuel, to manufacturing, materials and transportation, they re-imagine and redesign every aspect of our built environment. It’s a one woman start-up that connects consumers to farmers to a billion dollar manufacturer who no longer needs a landfill and an architect with buildings that produce more energy than they consume. They’re mobilizing civilization to re-imagine what’s possible and, while no single leader or ideology leads them, if there’s a guiding mission, it’s about creating conditions conducive to life.* And if there’s one organization connecting and broadcasting the feats of the most inspirational of all the innovators it’s The Bioneers.
The Bioneers is a national movement that holds an annual conference in California, with satellite meetings nationwide. Open to the public, the workshops, demos, tours and talks bring together visionaries designing and implementing solutions, showing what’s possible and accelerating change. For the first time, Chicago hosted a Bioneers conference, November 2nd-4th at The University of Illinois, Chicago.
So, I’m not asking you to ignore the news, but forget about being pessimistic. There’s not time. The 21st century is the most exciting time in the history of the world to be alive. Chock full of opportunities, today.
*Janine Benyus, The Biomimicry Institute