Saturday, January 12, 2019

Overcoming Ageism’s Divisive & Harmful Consequences

Bioneers Pulse – updates from the Bioneers Community
Greetings fellow Bioneers! 
In American culture, age plays a large part not only in how we are perceived by those around us, but also in how we value ourselves. The oldest and youngest among us feel the effects of ageism most—dismissed for being “out of touch” or lacking necessary experience. These assumptions, however, are false and harmful. At any age, we have the right to feel valued and have our ideas, efforts, and contributions valued by others. In this week’s newsletter, we hear from Bioneers of all ages—including youth activist Edna Chavez, writer and activist Ashton Applewhite, and climate activist and Executive Director May Boeve—who lead the way in championing intergenerational camaraderie within causes that affect us all.
P.S. Starting this week, the Bioneers Pulse will be delivered on a bi-weekly basis. We look forward to an exciting year of conversations with you!

The Big Question: Ageism In the Workplace

Age discrimination is illegal according to U.S. law, but that doesn’t mean it’s not commonplace. In 2016, the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission received 20,857 formal complaints of age discrimination. How are older workers most often affected by workplace age discrimination? (Read to the bottom of this email for the answer.)

Wise Words

“The climate crisis is front and center in the mess we are living through right now. The climate movement is a vital part of the resistance when we can see how it connects to everything else. We are in an epic battle to see if we can avoid what we’re on track for, a planet we don’t recognize, a democracy in name only, and a set of relationships among each other and the creatures we share this planet with that are degenerative. It is an epic battle to create a just transition to 100% renewable energy.”
—May Boeve, climate activist and executive director of, from her Bioneers 2018 keynote address. Read more of her speech here.

Video to Watch: We Are All Aging, So Let’s End Ageism

What’s a surefire way to make activism more effective? Make it intergenerational. What’s the biggest obstacle? An ageist culture that pits old against young and bombards us with messages that wrinkles are tragic and old people useless. Aging is not a problem to be “fixed” or a disease to be “cured.” It’s a natural lifelong process that unites us all, and a world that’s better to grow old in is better for everyone. Debunking myth after myth about late life, author and activist Ashton Applewhite passionately urges us to come together at all ages – and dismantle ageism in the process.

This Week on Bioneers Radio & Podcast

Youth movements are rising to restore people and planet. De’Anthony Jones, a former President of the Environmental Students Organization at Sacramento State, Chloe Maxmin, co-founder of Divest Harvard, and Xiuhtezcatl Martinez, hip-hop artist and Youth Director of Earth Guardians, say there’s no better time to be born than now because this generation gets to rewrite history. It could be known as the generation that brought forth a healthy, just, sustainable world for every generation to come.
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Person to Know: Edna Chavez

In her passionate Bioneers 2018 keynote address, youth activist and gun control advocate Edna Chavez shares how the pain in her life and the life of her peers have served as motivation. She calls on the older generations and those in office to create room for youth leaders to help move us toward a better tomorrow. Below is an excerpt from her keynote address:
And it was then, after the election, that my whole world shattered — just like many of my peers — from policies that impacted us, policies that impacted our family, policies that impacted my father, leading to him having to leave us due to his legal status, not by choice, but because of how the system works.
I was 16 years old when I lost my father to immigration. Years before that, I always asked my mother, “Why isn’t Daddy here?” But because of him, I started creating Know Your Rights workshops, making sure that no family member has to leave their family ever again due to their legal status, because we are human. We are family. We are power. We are strength.
I have lived in South LA my entire life, and have lost many loved ones, whether it’s because of their legal status or to gun violence. I have fled from gun violence. When I spoke at the anti-gun rally March for Our Lives in Washington, DC, I was nervous, but also I knew I stood with students and survivors of gun violence from Parkland, Chicago, Detroit, South LA, and all around the country. We shared our stories to make change because we realized enough is enough. Read more here.

Don’t Miss: Winter of Wellness

It can be difficult to know where to turn for trusted wellness resources—particularly when searching for practitioners who are experts in their fields and are able to support you in achieving your individual wellness goals by addressing your unique needs. To learn how to take your health into your own hands, join Winter of Wellness, a FREE online event taking place from January 14-18. This unparalleled health, healing, and wellness series will feature talks from today’s top health experts. Bioneers co-founder Nina Simons will be one of more than a dozen featured speakers offering innovative solutions to your most pressing health concerns, from diet to mental clarity and focus. Interested in joining? Click here to RSVP now.

What We’re Tracking:

  • Bioneer Paul Stamets outlines the potentially huge benefits of antiviral properties in common wood conk mushrooms when it comes to treating viruses in bee colonies. (Paul Stamets via The New York Times) Stamets’ first presented this idea at Bioneers.
  • Ohio’s Olney Friends School requires all students who pass through its halls to learn how to farm, harvest crops, and preserve food. (Mary Ann Lieser via Yes!)
  • In this excerpt from her new book, Nature, Culture and the Sacred, Bioneers co-founder Nina Simons discusses the importance of cultivating ourselves as leaders and how she hopes she can inspire others to join her in working toward a better tomorrow. (via Bioneers)

The Big Question, Answered: Ageism In the Workplace

According to a survey conducted by AARP, for older workers, age discrimination typically means not getting hired at all. This was followed by being passed over for a promotion and being laid off. It’s currently legal for prospective employers to ask both your age and graduation date during an interview. Though a 2009 Supreme Court made it more difficult for those affected by ageism in professional settings to take action, the survey also found that most Americans over 50 would like to see Congress pass stronger legislation to prevent workplace age discrimination.
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