Back before the terms “green lifestyle” and “sustainable” were ever used, Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel had a great idea – to bring together the leading thinkers in environmental science, technology, activism and design to discuss how we might begin to rethink and reshape our society’s fundamental connection to nature.

Thus Bioneers was born with the mission to put forth the best and brightest ideas for the creation of a thriving, healthy planet that preserves our natural resources for all life for generations to come.

Each year the conference has grown in attendance and scope and this year is no exception. Headlining the event, which takes place in San Rafael, Calif., Oct. 16-18, will be Dr. Andrew Weil, author Michael Pollan, and “Story of Stuff” creator Annie Leonard.

I am thrilled to have been invited to participate in a first at Bioneers – a series of panels exploring the role of social media in helping to make companies and individuals adopt more sustainable practices. The series was created by InfluenceXChange founder Michael Leifer, anthropologist and award-winning social media expert and entrepreneur.

Day 1 will focus on how social media, social networking and the Interweb is helping companies and nonprofits communicate and clarify their sustainability initiatives with an all-star lineup of experts form Care2, Huffington Post, Carrotmob, JustMeans and many more.

Day 2 will look at the tougher side of social media – how the blogosphere, Twitter and other online tools are forcing corporations to adopt new levels of transparency and corporate social responsibility. I’ll be representing for and joining some exciting speakers from BlogHer, Global Water Trust and

There are also some great youth presenters this year, including Kari Fulton, leader of the Youth Climate Movement; David Orr, chair of Oberlin's Environmental Studies Department on new “ecoliteracy” programs for schools; and Alec Loorz, founder of Kids vs. Global Warming on the role of new media in empowering youth activists.

It should be a lively and amazing few days, and I’ll be blogging from the floor. If you are interested in attending you can get a 20 percent discount (just for being an MNN reader), and if you are a teacher Bioneers is offering a 55 percent discount.

Bioneers to celebrate 20th anniversary
The upcoming Bioneers conference will feature leading thinkers in environmental advocacy, youth activists and social media pundits (including yours truly). Disc