Ecologistics® Presents:

2024 Central Coast Bioneers Conference,
A Bioneers Pollinator Event

October 4th and 5th

Historic Octagon Barn, 4400 Octagon Way, San Luis Obispo

Pre-Conference Field Trip

Zero Net Energy Green Buildings: Get an inside look at three all-electric green buildings that are energy efficient and powered completely or in part with renewable energy. The tour will cover one commercial building and two residential projects in San Luis Obispo.

Presented by the Tri-Counties Regional Energy Network, 3C-REN.

Bioneers Keynotes as Recorded at the National Bioneers Conference

The Slow Water Movement: How to Thrive in an Age of Drought and Deluge

Erica Gies, Author & Journalist

Increasingly frequent floods and droughts amplified by climate change inevitably spur calls for higher levees, bigger drains, and longer aqueducts. But this engineered infrastructure designed to control water, along with urban sprawl and industrial agriculture and forestry, are actually making water disasters far worse. Now some scientists, farmers, landscape architects and urban planners are asking a revolutionary question: “What does water want?” Our current forms of “development” speed water away and destroy wetlands, floodplains, and forests that normally absorb floods, store water for droughts, and grow food. But now, practitioners of the Slow Water movement like Erica Gies—inspired by geology, microbes, beavers, older cultures, and cutting-edge science—are showing us that we can make space for water within our human habitats and collaborate with natural systems to forge a more resilient future. Introduction by Teo Grossman, President of Bioneers.

How Fungi Make our Worlds

Merlin Sheldrake, Biologist and Writer

Most fungi live out of sight, yet they make up a massively diverse kingdom of organisms that support and sustain nearly all living systems. The symbiotic mycorrhizal networks formed by plants and fungi comprise an ancient life-support system that easily qualifies as one of the wonders of the living world. Yet climate change strategies, conservation agendas and restoration efforts overlook fungi and focus overwhelmingly on animals and plants. This is a problem: the destruction of underground fungal networks accelerates both climate change and biodiversity loss and interrupts vital global nutrient cycles. In this session, Merlin Sheldrake, the biologist and bestselling author of Entangled Life: How Fungi Make our World, drives home just how critically important fungi are and discuss the visionary work of the Society for the Protection of Underground Networks (SPUN) and its efforts to map and protect the mycorrhizal fungal communities of the planet. He also presents cutting-edge research into the flow dynamics of carbon and nutrients within mycorrhizal fungal networks. Introduction by Toby Kiers, Ph.D., Executive Director and Chief Scientist, SPUN

Towards a Just Transition: Blueprint for a Green Economy

We spend a lot of time talking about the ecological crisis, and not nearly enough talking about real, workable solutions. If the ultimate goal is to keep fossil fuels in the ground, how must we transform our economy to make that possible? Award-winning activist and innovative educator, Sage Lenier, one of the most impressive young leaders to emerge in recent years, takes to the stage to shed light on what a realistic and just transition looks like, and the role we can each play in leading us towards a more circular and equitable economy.

Organizing for Justice

Dolores Huerta, President and Founder, Dolores Huerta Foundation

Dolores Huerta, now 93 and still going strong, is a genuine living legend, one of the most influential labor activists in U.S. history as well as a foundational leader of the Chicano civil rights movement. Huerta’s 7 decades of activism have included co-founding the world-renowned United Farm Workers’ Union with César Chávez, leading major strikes and consumer boycotts, negotiating contracts, and tirelessly advocating for safer working conditions (including the elimination of harmful pesticides) and for unemployment and healthcare benefits for agricultural workers. In this talk, she draws from her decades of experience to share her thoughts on the critical importance of organizing unions in all sectors of the economy to fight for a fairer society, and on how to build more unity between labor, social, racial, gender, and climate justice movements. Introduction by Film Producer, Writer and Director Peter Bratt.

Democracy vs. Big Tech: How We Can Win the Fight Against Monopoly Power

Stacy Mitchell, Co-Executive Director, Institute for Local Self-Reliance

Most of us would like to live in a society accountable to people and the planet, one in which we exercise genuine agency over our lives and have a real say in the decisions that affect our communities, but the dramatic increase in corporate domination, especially the rise of giant tech companies that wield unprecedented levels of surveillance and control, is radically undermining our democracy and concentrating wealth and power in fewer and fewer hands. Stacy Mitchell, who has long been at the forefront of the national movement to rein in excessive corporate power and reinvigorate local self-reliance, is here to tell us that, as powerful as these immense companies and their political allies may seem, they’ve finally met their match. A broad grassroots alliance, together with a new generation of creative government leaders, is bringing long-dormant anti-monopoly laws and strategies back to life. This promising turn of events, Stacy will explain, offers hope for reclaiming our rights and assuring a far more equitable and greener future. Introduction by Kenny Ausubel, Bioneers Co-Founder and CEO.

Rematriation: Indigenous Women's Work to Recover, Remember and Heal

Corrina Gould, (Lisjan Ohlone) Co-Founder and Lead Organizer, Sogorea Te’ Land Trust

Returning to open this year’s conference, one of the leading figures in the East Bay Indigenous community and a longtime activist for First People’s rights and the protection of land and waters globally, Corrina Gould, focuses on the concept and practice of “Rematriation,” which involves reclaiming traditional land and sacred sites to help rebuild traditional cultures and heal the deep wounds inflicted by colonization and genocide and also prioritizes the unique role women play in that enormous undertaking. Introduction by Cara Romero, Director of Bioneers’ Indigeneity Program.

Local Presenters

Climate Change from Space

Susan Callery

NASA has studied Earth since 1960 from space, aircraft, and boots on the ground. Learn about Earth’s changing climate from NASA’s unique perspective through amazing photos, visualizations, and graphics that bring the causes and impacts of climate change into focus.

What if Solving the Climate Crisis Is Simple?

Tom Bowman, Author and Founder, Bowman Design Group

How does the climate crisis make you feel? Do you think we’re already too late? Many people do. Since we humans are so easily conditioned by familiar ways of looking at things, our assumptions and assessments often lead to predictable and unhappy results. What if we turn our approach to the climate challenge on its head? What will it look like then and what new opportunities might we discover? We’ll explore a different model for thinking about the climate challenge and ways to engage that are authentic, productive, and hopeful.

Reaching 30x30 on the Central Coast

Kara Woodruff, District Director/Sr. Policy Advisor for Senator John Laird

30×30 is a global initiative for governments to permanently conserve 30% of Earth’s land and waters by the year 2030.  This presentation will summarize the projects along the Central Coast (including San Luis Obispo, Monterey, and Santa Cruz counties) that will help California achieve its ambitious 30×30 biodiversity goals.

Working to Restore: Harnessing the Power of Regenerative Business to Heal the World

Esha Chhabra

Esha will dig into the new era of regenerative businesses going beyond sustainability. She’ll dive into what the term regenerative even means in today’s landscape, how companies can build businesses that have impact layered into them at each stage, and still remain profitable.

Using Entertainment to Speed the Pace of Progress

Gwen Loeb, CEO and Co-Founder of World Builders Incubator

Solutions exist for nearly all social and environmental issues, but it takes decades to build the collective support for implementation. Entertainment is a proven tool for bridging divides and shifting cultural norms. By bringing Thought Leaders and Creatives together, World Builders Incubator (WBI) is developing a pipeline of mass-market, solutions-focused fiction — TV, Films, Books, Plays, Video Games, Podcasts, and more — designed to inspire imaginations and build widespread support. With solutions-focused entertainment we can speed the process of turning hopeful possibilities into daily realities.

Bonus: Central Coast Bioneers participants will get the first peak at WBI’s groundbreaking Wheel of Possibilities. Housed on our website and shared with the world, the Wheel of Possibilities will feature Solutions for 50 environmental and social issues.

Nature-Based Solutions for Urban Injustice

Emma Lee Daniel

In Los Angeles, historic socioecological injustices have resulted in unequal access to trees, parks, and green infrastructure, negatively impacting environmental and community health. GIS spatial analysis and critical mapping reveal a strong correlation between 1930s redlining maps and current environmental burdens in marginalized communities. This study uses measures of tree canopy, park access, and climate change projections of rising temperatures and urban flooding as indicators to identify areas most affected. By evaluating vulnerability indicators within urban watersheds rather than census tracts, the study proposes how Nature-Based Solutions can be more equitably distributed, effectively managing stormwater and fostering healthier, more resilient communities.

Enjoy Being a Climate Solver

Don Maruska

See how you can combine what you love to do with what needs to be done for a healthy climate. Don Maruska, author of “Solve Climate Change Now: Do What You Love for a Healthy Planet,” will guide you in a quick, impactful Climate Action Conversation.  Discover your “climate sweet spot” to make a meaningful difference and have fun doing it. Don has engaged people around the world in these conversations to boost awareness, actions, and advocacy needed for successful climate results. Enjoy Don’s can-do entrepreneurial spirt honed as founder and CEO of three Silicon Valley companies and now shared as a Master Certified Coach helping others succeed in their careers and organizations.

Empowering Latino Voices

Hollister Guardians’ mission is to empower historically ignored members of Hollister by educating them on how to effectively advocate for their interests on environmental and land use issues that affect their quality of life.  They are currently organizing underserved Westside residents of Hollister who have long faced barriers to the political process.  Bella Rosales and Julio Rodriguez of Hollister Guardians will talk about their work to protect the interests of the residents who live near the Westside sewer facility and near the Sandman Mine on the San Benito River.

Screening of the Patagonia short film 
Undammed: Amy Bowers Cordalis and the fight to free the Klamath

After witnessing a massive fish kill on her ancestral home waters, Yurok tribal attorney Amy Bowers Cordalis dedicated her life to reversing the generations-long destruction wrought by the Klamath River dams. Undammed follows her journey to free the Klamath, from testifying before Congress to passing down fishing traditions within her young family.

Screening will be followed by a presentation by the SLO Beaver Brigade on Drinkable Rivers.

Photo: Josh Miller 

Denise Dudley

Our Mistress of Ceremonies
Since our founding in 2010, Denise Dudley has been “the voice of the conference” and a constant source of support and energy. She volunteers her time for us and keeps everything running smoothly throughout the event. Thank you, Denise, from the Ecologistics board of directors!

Five Cities Repair Café will be on-site to Fix your broken stuff for FREE at the Central Coast Bioneers Conference, Saturday, October 5th, 10 am – 2 pm in the Milking Parlor. Got a toaster that won’t toast? A lamp that doesn’t shine? Toss it? No Way! Volunteers make Free repairs on bikes, toys, clothes, small appliances, smart phones, computers, tablets, outdoor gear, etc. Bring your garden abundance to share with neighbors.

Closing Drum Circle Ceremony

Attendees who wish to participate may bring their own drum or percussion toys or borrow from the extra instruments provided. A few minutes of instruction from Francesca, our facilitator, will precede playing. The rhythm will be spontaneous, improvised and appropriate for experienced musicians and total beginners as alike.  We will set an intention that our Circle will be sending our collective energy towards the healing of our Community and our Earth and implementation of the many constructive solutions we have learned and shared during the event.  Dancing is also highly encouraged.


Breakfast will be provided by Coastal Peaks Coffee.

Lunch will be provided by Bear City Social – Farm to Street Mobile Kitchen


Featuring Volumes of Pleasure

The Central Coast Bioneers Conference bookshop since 2010.


Bioneers Pollinator gatherings/events are independently organized and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, or positions of the Bioneers organization. For more information, visit: