Finger Lakes Bioneers return October 22-24

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Tompkins Weekly – August 23, 2010
By Gay Nicholson

The Finger Lakes Bioneers return October 22-24 with the second annual We Make Our Future conference. Each day of the conference offers a chance to get deeply engaged with fellow citizens to co-create new responses to the challenges we face.

The main theme of this year’s conference is personal and civic responsibility. What happens when we put ourselves in the drivers’ seat? If you were in charge of setting policy on global warming, what would you do? If you were the Mayor of Ithaca or the Director of Transportation, how would you guide development in our county? If you were free to tackle anything you want, where would you make a difference? Throughout the conference, we’ll be exploring our role as individuals and as a community in creating our shared future.

Join us for three afternoons of creative play:

• Friday, October 22 – Play the Climate ChangeGame with Medard Gabel of Big Picture/Small World. Residents, policymakers, students, and business people will have an equal opportunity to see if they can navigate the complexities of solving the global climate crisis. Players act as leaders of governments, corporations, and as individuals as they make decisions that impact the global climate. While doing this, they learn about the options we have and what they can do to help avert climate change disaster. This simulation gets you thinking and acting from a new and empowered perspective. The game unfolds over an intense three-hour period.

• Saturday, October 23 – Solve today’s problems with the future in mind as a participant in Tompkins Transitions, a new customized version of the City Game presented by Big Picture/Small World and Sustainable Tompkins. This fast-paced multimedia simulation puts you in a leadership position in Tompkins County and allows you to make a difference as we steer towards our preferred future. You’ll be challenged with our current real world problems, and work together to address the complexities of our urban/rural interface. How will you deal with unemployment, shrinking municipal budgets, poverty, gas drilling, traffic congestion, housing shortages, increasingly expensive food and energy? Tompkins Transitions will put you into a collaborative problem-solving environment where limited resources, real world challenges, and your vision, values and creativity collide. Our problems are all interconnected. Our solutions should be too.

• Sunday, October 24 – Immerse yourself in the celebrated Awakening the Dreamer symposium from the Pachamama Alliance, and awaken to the reality of our shared stewardship of a jewel of a planet, and imagine a future where our intelligence and love of life can be expressed through creative re-design of our economy, our way of life, and our relationships. Using vivid multimedia material and interactive episodes, we’ll explore a series of questions: Where are we? How did we get here? What’s possible for the future? Where do we go from here? The aim of the symposium is to identify the assumptions underlying the way we see the world and our place in it, and to empower every human being to take steps – both individually and cooperatively – to move the world in a new direction.

This year’s events will take place mostly downtown to allow easier participation. Beaming Bioneers presentations from the main stage in California will be offered in the morning at Cinemapolis. Local programming in the afternoon will be in the Womens Community Building on Friday and Saturday, and the Emerson Suites at Ithaca College on Sunday. Evening programs will also be downtown.

Sponsorships are available for this inspiring community event. Contact Gay Nicholson at or 533-7312 to learn more, or visit

Gay Nicholson is president of Sustainable Tompkins and chair of the Finger Lakes Bioneers Steering Committee.

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