This weekend the eco/new-agey/NoCal faithful gathered in Marin for the annual Bioneers conference. I’ve gone several times in the past, and it’s always an interesting experience, and not for the obvious reasons …

Rather than describe Bioneers in detail here, allow me to point you to something I wrote about last year’s conference.

The basic gist is that it’s a forum that draws together leading thinkers and actors in a number of different disciplines that are profoundly related, and yet aren’t always thought of in that way. Hard-core anti-corporate, local-sovereignty litigation of the sort pursued by Thomas Linzey, for example, is connected via the work Tzeporah Berman is doing with ForestEthics to the freaky/practical mushroom-channeling the lovable Paul Stamets focuses on, to Sarah Crowell’s Destiny Arts Center, which has coaxed Bay Area youths to actually make environmentalism far, far cooler than you or I could ever hope to be. See? Lawyers are connected to dancers. It’s all, indeed, connected.

It’s the kind of gathering that I am constitutionally predisposed to criticize and mock — precisely the kind of moonbat Gaia worship “they” think we get up to here in California (if they only knew …). It’s elitist (expensive to attend and impossible to get to without loading up the atmosphere with carbon); it’s self-congratulatory (yet one more forum where people go on about change being in the air, a new world being born … in defiance of all evidence) — but, somehow, I find it inspirational and moving.

It’s very difficult to explain, even to people who are, perhaps like you, drawn to the accomplished presenters. Somehow, it manages to be mind-expanding, even to jaded nihilists-in-denial like yours truly.

For me, unexpectedly, the aha moment came when Linzey referenced an essay Derrick Jensen wrote in Orion a couple of issues back — a look at the futility of hope. It had been on my mind this month already, but Linzey brought my attention back to it, and I went out into the exhibition hall and, of course, found the Orion people (practically speaking, the fact that a huge slice of the movement is there in person is a big draw for me), and re-read the essay.

Rather than go on about it further, I recommend you read it yourself.