Panel at Bioneers 2024: Collaboration, Conflict, and Community: A Cross-Generational Conversation

Bioneers is an organization devoted to highlighting breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet. Besides being home to a national network, and creating podcasts, media and educational materials, Bioneers hosts an acclaimed national conference each year. The conference is devoted to bringing together people working on “practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges”

And this year, Third Act was in the house! 

The end of March saw some Third Act staff gathered in Berkeley, CA to support a panel hosted by Third Act called Collaboration, Conflict, and Community: A Cross-Generational Conversation. Third Act Lead Advisor Akaya Windwood convened five multigenerational leaders, including Maddie Flood, of the The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights; sujatha baliga, restorative justice facilitator; Charlotte Lenore Michaluk, 17, award-winning, multi-disciplinary eco engineer and scientist; plus author and essayist (and Third Act Board Member) Rebecca Solnit. 

Akaya’s panel included women from 17 to 67 looking to lift up Third Act’s focus on supporting youth and thinking across categories. She posed various questions to the panelists and invited everyone in the audience to think of their own responses as well. She reminded us that thinking about hard questions can help us grow. 

Panelists at Bioneers
Third Act Panelists at Bioneers (L-R): Maddie Flood, of the The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights, sujatha baliga, restorative justice facilitator, Charlotte Lenore Michaluk, award-winning, multi-disciplinary eco engineer and scientist, Rebecca Solnit, author and essayist (and Third Act Board Member), and Akaya Windwood, Third Act Lead


What wisdom, skills and capacity are we going to need to navigate these next years? 

Akaya invited us into a space open to some dreaming and some ambiguity. One particularly memorable reminder was that “false certainty is killing us”. We think we know the categories and the answers. We think things are destined to play out one way or another and we need to create more spaciousness for diversity and interdependence. We need to become more comfortable with uncertainty. We can’t be obsessed with putting people into boxes or categories or being attached to outcomes. 

Some other takeaways that especially resonated with Third Act’s message and way of operating included: Hold each other with reverence and respect. Give ourselves a lot of grace. Remember our relatedness; we are all cousins. Find new ways to love each other. Ideas are seeds; maybe what we are planting now will only bloom in 5 years. Unconditional love is a skill, not just a capacity. 

Group of Third Actors at Bioneers
(L-R): B Fulkerson, Rebecca Solnit, and Taylor Brorby


It was great to introduce Third Act to new folks and continue to build relationships and situate ourselves with the movement of movements. Plus, it was super fun to run into strangers wearing their Third Act swag!