The threat of rain pushed us all into the Guild Hall, making for a cozy Central Coast Bioneers Conference. Exhibitors lined the walls but were pleased at being able to be part of the action once the lectures began. Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman riveted the crowd with her recounting of covering of the Standing Rock water protectors and their abuse by the militarized force assembled against them. A warrant was even issued for Amy’s arrest for “inciting a riot” which amused and puzzled the seasoned journalist greatly.
Participants split into two sides of the Guild Hall. One group attended the Empower.SLO Advanced Activism Training while the other continued listening to National Bioneers keynotes and local speakers. A wonderful lunch was served by Javed Kabob Paradise during the break while singer Jill Knight entertained us.
The two groups reconvened at the end of the day to hear about the successful campaign to stop the Phillips 66 Oil Trains, a collaboration of Sierra Club, Santa Lucia Chapter, ECOSLO, Mesa Refinery Watch and SLO Surfrider Foundation. The group announced their new undertaking, the Coalition to Protect SLO County, whose goal is to get an initiative on the 2018 ballot to stop all future petroleum-based infrastructure from being constructed in the county. Look for them on Facebook and feel free to volunteer your time to help gather signatures on the petition.
The final viewing of the day was of an amazing short film by Louie Schwartzberg capturing an event at the Vatican, where nature films were projected onto St. Peter’s Basilica. Thousands of people were on the plaza watching hummingbirds and butterflies fly across the church and flowers bloom on the dome. It was extremely moving and reminded us all of what we are fighting so hard to protect.
The Ecologistics board wishes to thank the hard-working volunteers who helped with all of the heavy lifting and the checking in of attendees. We also thank the attendees for their interest in our work, for the exhibitors who spent the day with us, and the talented speakers who shared their time and knowledge. See you next year!