Annual Bioneers conference seeks ways to improve the environment

October 03, 2019
A shore on Lake Michigan

Detroit Mercy’s College of Engineering & Science will play host to the 15th Annual Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit (GLBD) Conference titled “The Planet will Survive. Will We?” Oct. 25-26 on the McNichols Campus.

This event will bring together hundreds of high school students, teachers, university faculty and organizational leaders to discuss the environment and changes. Additionally, attendees will receive opportunities to ponder and discuss many questions about the environment, such as whether or not the planet and human race will exist in the future, given the impact of global warming.

Bill McKibben, one of the nation’s leading environmental activists, will present a pre-recorded keynote address titled “Changing the Climate: What We’ve Learned in the Last 30 Years.” He is a scholar of Environmental Studies at Middlebury College and author of The End of Nature (1989), the first book for general audiences about climate change. He is also the founder of, the first planet-wide, grassroots climate change movement. For his work, he has won the Right Livelihood Award, Gandhi Prize and Thomas Merton Prize.

A number of compelling presentations and discussions will be available for attendees. On Friday night, conference participants will hear from Ed Whitfield. He is a social critic, writer and community activist, as well as co-managing director of the Fund for Democratic Communities. Originally from Little Rock, Ark., Whitfield’s political activism began when he attended Little Rock Central High School and engaged in the anti-war protest as a teenager. Today, he speaks and writes on issues of cooperatives and economic development, and continues to study issues of war and peace, as well as education and social responses to racism. He serves on the boards of the New Economy Coalition, The Working World and the Southern Reparations Loan Fund.

The conference will also present nine plenary speakers from the national Bioneers conference, as well as the following tours:

  • Southwest Detroit Eco-D Neighborhood Tour.
  • Eastside: From growing our economy to growing our souls.
  • Water is Life—Lila Cabbil Memorial Tour.
  • The Natural History of Palmer Parks Witherell Woods.
  • Green living Science Tour.
  • Forest Therapy at Palmer Park.

On Saturday, Oct. 26, the conference will host a local panel titled “Urban Greening: People, Environment, Power! Panelists include Oday Salim, Donna Givens, Nick Schroeck, Rev. Joan Ross, Joel Howrani Heeres and Victor Carmona.

The 15th annual Great Lakes Bioneers Detroit Conference: “The Planet Will Survive. Will We?” is sponsored by:

All conference sessions will take place at Detroit Mercy’s McNichols Campus. For more information and to register for this important conference, please visit To view the program lineup and agenda, please visit

Individuals with specific questions may email them to or