Dreaming New Mexico selected as first runner-up for the prestigious 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge Santa Fe, NM, May 6th, 2009—Bioneers (www.bioneers.org), a nationally acclaimed nonprofit hub of breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet, announced that its Dreaming New Mexico project was selected as first runner-up for the prestigious 2009 Buckminster Fuller Challenge. Chosen from nearly 200 entries worldwide, Dreaming New Mexico brings together the tools of grassroots organizing and community leadership with scientific know-how and political savvy to both create a vision for the future and lay the groundwork for getting there.

Along with the winner from MIT Media Lab, Dreaming New Mexico will be honored at the official ceremony on June 6th in Chicago. (http://challenge.bfi.org/runnerup_2009) “This is a very special honor for us,” said Bioneers CEO Kenny Ausubel, founder and Dreaming New Mexico project co-director. “Buckminster Fuller has been a deep source of inspiration to us over the decades. His idea of envisioning a ‘preferred state’ is exactly what Dreaming New Mexico is about. Usually people settle for what we think we can get. Instead we need to imagine what success would look like. Once we can picture a dream, we can realize it.” The Buckminster Fuller Challenge promotes a systems approach to design pioneered by Buckminster Fuller that aims to address complex problems through comprehensive, anticipatory design thinking. The Challenge draws attention to individuals and teams around the world whose innovative strategies have the potential to help solve humanity’s most pressing problems. “Creating a robust structure in which stake-holders can envision the future was a core principle of much of Buckminster Fuller’s work,” said Elizabeth Thompson, executive director of The Buckminster Fuller Institute. “The Challenge jurors were deeply inspired to see a team as accomplished as Dreaming New Mexico taking it on in a big way."

Dreaming New Mexico is based on the strategic premise that “dreaming the future can create the future.” It provides a systemic template and collaborative mapping tools for communities to engage in place-based and bioregional planning. The primary tool is innovative, “future maps” that envision a positive future for the State, and revive a strong sense of and respect for place. The Age of Renewables map was conceived by co-director Peter Warshall, a biologist, anthropologist, past public official and editor of Whole Earth Catalog. During the map creation process, Warshall engaged numerous top local visionaries and experts in a collaborative design process that also formed a core network for implementation.

The first map and booklet, called The Age of Renewables, depicts a do-able energy vision for the State by 2020. The project is now completing a second map called The Age of Localized Foodsheds. As the Buckminster Fuller Institute commented, “Dreaming New Mexico is creating a new political landscape that ties together Earth stewardship values with core community needs – from fresh water, to clean energy, to abundant and locally grown food – and is becoming a model for other states across the country.”

The project has won praise from New Mexico municipal, county and state officials, and is being used in schools. Commented Brendan Miller, appointed by renewable energy leader Governor Bill Richardson as Green Economy Manager of the New Mexico Economic Development Department, "The Dreaming New Mexico project is a wonderful resource for New Mexico. It provides an inspiring, practical and easy to understand vision for the state's Clean Energy economy, particularly how it could create new jobs in all parts of our State, both urban and rural."

Dreaming New Mexico has already spawned interest in other states and countries, such as Dreaming Oregon, Nebraska and Florida. A Dreaming Mallorca group is now operating in Spain. For its web site (www.dreamingnewmexico.org), the project collaborated with Google Earth Outreach on a grant from the Google.org Fund of the Tides Foundation to create a cutting-edge visualization using Google Earth technology that shows how to replace coal with wind and solar energy in the State’s worst fossil-fuel area. “At the end of the day,” said Ausubel, “We all need to take care of our place. It’s time to redesign our lives in concert with our watersheds, our foodsheds and our energysheds. Bioregional planning is the wave of the future. It starts with a dream.”

About BioneersBioneers (www.bioneers.org) is a nonprofit educational organization that highlights breakthrough solutions for restoring people and planet. Since 1990, Bioneers has acted as a fertile hub of social and scientific innovators with practical and visionary solutions for the world’s most pressing environmental and social challenges. A celebration of the genius of nature and human ingenuity, Bioneers connects people with solutions and each other. Its acclaimed annual national and local conferences are complemented by extensive media outreach including an award-winning radio series, book series, and role in media projects such as Leonardo DiCaprio’s film The 11th Hour.

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