Lenoir-Rhyne University-Asheville hosts 4th annual Bioneers Conference

Press release:

ASHEVILLE, N.C. – The Lenoir-Rhyne University Center for Graduate Studies of Asheville will host its fourth annual Bioneers Conference on the evenings of November 6, 11 and 13 beginning at 5:30 p.m. The conference, a Resilient Communities Network Event, will take place on the Lenoir-Rhyne University Asheville campus located at 36 Montford Avenue.

Dr. Keith McDade, Associate Professor in the Sustainability Studies program and Co-Director of the Reese Institute for Conservation of Natural Resources at LRU, commented “We are excited to again be engaging our community in important conversations about issues affecting us. We are facing great challenges moving forward, and this forum gives people an opportunity to not only learn about what others in our community are doing to help us move toward sustainability, but to discover opportunities to get involved through networking and dialogue.”

The conference will feature numerous speaker presentations from the National 2015 Bioneers Conference (held last month in California) that will be beamed in electronically. Following each presentation, a panel of live guests from local businesses and organizations will continue the discussions with open question and answer sessions. According to McDade, several issues will be addressed which focus on different themes for each evening of the event. The themes are Spirituality and Healing (Friday, Nov. 6), Food, Race and Justice (Wednesday, Nov. 11), and Climate Change (Friday, Nov. 13). Topics and speakers beamed in (via video) from the conference include:

• Community: Healing for the 21st Century
by national speaker Sister Simone Campbell
Sister Campbell is a poet, social justice attorney, and one of the nation’s most influential faith-based progressive activists. She will share her vision of how we can heal our divisions and differences, create a renewed sense of community, and build a far more just, peaceful, and compassionate world.

· Navigating Adaptation and Resilience as Un-Sustainability Hits the Tipping Point
by national speaker Andy Lipkis
As founder and President of L.A.’s legendary TreePeople, Lipkis will share his vision and success in repairing and restoring urban watershed by integrating ecology, economy, as well as justice.

· National speaker Malik Kenyatta Yakini
Executive Director of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, Yakini will explore how racism impacts our industrial food system and the importance of thinking beyond the logic of capitalism to create a more just, sustainable system.

· Building Green Blocs and Justice: California’s Game-Changing Leadership Model
by national speaker Tom Hayden
Hayden, former State Senator, will describe the political evolution of California’s pace-setting clean energy economy as a model for a Green Bloc of states nationally and globally attempting to survive climate change and build a 100 percent renewable energy future without nuclear power.

· Project Drawdown by national speaker Paul Hawken
One of the most important leaders, activists, and entrepreneurs of our era, Hawken will present the groundbreaking Project Drawdown: a coalition dedicated to measuring the impact of 100 substantive solutions to mitigating carbon emissions to determine if, when, and how we can achieve a year-to-year drawdown in the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.

“We are looking forward to profound and enlightening discussions that continue to emerge at this conference through the leadership of our panelists,” McDade said. He added that the conference will allow significant time for networking and sharing ideas.

The conference is free and open to the public. Food and beverages – including a generous donation from the Catawba Brewing Company – will be provided. For more information and complete schedule of events, visit http://asheville.lr.edu/AVLBioneers
or call 828-407-4270. To learn more about bioneers, visit http://www.bioneers.org.

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