GUEST COMMENTARY | Ecoaction, Wilkinson Bring Kenny Ausubel to Telluride
by Kris Holstrom, Sustainability Coordinator, EcoAction Partners
Feb 27, 2013 | 1169 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print

We at EcoAction Partners are so excited to be partnering with the Wilkinson Public Library to bring a true visionary to town, Thursday, Feb. 21, and Friday, Feb. 22: Kenny Ausubel is a real mover and shaker – and co-founder of the Bioneers.

If you don’t know Bioneers, you should! The original name came from Kenny and his wife Nina Simons’ desire to promote the ideas of folks working on the cutting edge. These “biological pioneers” formed the basis of the term their work is known by: Bioneers. Their annual conference held in Marin, Calif., every fall, has grown steadily, expanding in numbers as it bends our minds with the ideas and issues presented by biological pioneers.

From his early years as cofounder of Seeds of Change, Kenny has been working to show us “Nature’s Operating Instructions” (one of his several book titles) – how we can learn from examples in nature to thrive as humans, while restoring, and even enhancing, the natural systems that support us. I am particularly fascinated with the work Kenny and his cohorts have been doing with Dreaming New Mexico. Check it out at, but in a nutshell, it says: “The award-winning ‘Dreaming New Mexico’ program (DNM) is an innovative Bioneers program to bring about restorative ecological and social transformation both at the local and regional level of our Southwestern home base and as a template and tool kit for other place-based initiatives. Using collaborative and systemic approaches, the program seeks pragmatic and visionary solutions that heal the harms done to our state’s air, waters and lands, as well as to the spirit, livelihood and health of our diverse peoples.”

The shift away from a society built on cheap oil entails a radical reorganization of everyday life into a more local economy and infrastructures. The political borders on maps must transform to reflect the ecological and intensely local realities of watersheds, “food sheds” and “energy sheds.” A core goal is to “build a prosperous restoration economy that embraces the rights of people and nature, grounded in social and economic justice.”

We are bringing Kenny to town to talk about these and other efforts underway.

Kenny is scheduled to speak first at the Nugget Theatre, Thursday, Feb. 21, at 6 p.m. Afterwards, the crowd is invited to continue the conversation at a book signing of Dreaming the Future: Reimagining Civilization in the Age of Nature, at Between the Covers. On Friday, Feb. 23, at 8:30 a.m., we’ll be at the Palm Theater for a brief presentation, with extended time for discussion and to hear your ideas about how we can move from thinking to doing. Several high school science classes will be in attendance to encourage a rich, multi-generational dialogue.

And because Kenny’s ideas are far too important and engaging to limit to one town, Kenny will speak in Ridgway on Friday, Feb. 22, 7 p.m., Ridgway Town Hall.

Here’s what some of Paul Hawken, author of Blessed Unrest and co-author of Natural Capitalism, said about Kenny and Dreaming the Future: ”Without doubt, Kenny Ausubel has one of the most glorious minds on the planet. Herein he has crafted a dazzling treasury of essays on the destiny of humanity and its place on earth, a rosary of startling truths. His ability to describe the cataclysmic loss of living systems contrasted with the luminous and untold rise of human awakening is unique among living writers and speakers. Read this for its brilliance, but read it also to find joy in the intricate reimagination of what it means to be a human being at this parlous moment in civilization.” 

John Perkins, author of Confessions of an Economic Hit Man and Hoodwinked calls Kenny’s book “a brilliant new look at what it is to be human on a living planet. Kenny Ausubel has devoted his life to creating organizations that dream a new future. In this marvelous book he shares his vision in eloquent words that inspire us to take action. Read, enjoy, dream – and act!” And Annie Leonard, author and host of The Story of Stuff says: “Dreaming the Future proposes a path forward that is both profoundly radical and full of common sense. An excellent read for everyone who wants to build a better future-and for those looking to supplement the many dry technical tomes about today’s environmental problems. Ausubel explores the political, cultural, and personal changes needed to chart a sustainable path forward, leaving readers delighted and hopeful.” 

For more information For more information about the event, contact me at 970/728-1340 or go to

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