Yesterday I got to have lunch with Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel, who loves his work because he is continuously doing a “star search” for the greatest social and scientific innovators in the world. He described the Bioneers Conference as “a natural anti-depressant – It’s impossible not to have hope.”

Last year, Leadership that Works sponsored Danny Schmitt’s attendance at the Bioneers conference, and I was more than a little envious because I wanted to attend myself.

I first learned about the Bioneers listening to Paul Stamets, the mushroom guy whose books and audios have helped many of my friends grow mushrooms here in Bradford county. Living in the middle of the Marcellus shale, where we face the unique environmental challenges of fracking, I’m inspired by people who are creating breakthrough solutions. Stamets has done research proving that mushrooms can eat oil spills and help rid the world of toxins.

On my ride home I was wondering if this proven technology can be used to clean up the 4,700 gallons of hydrochloric acid spilled in July 2012 or the 10,000 gallon fracking fluid blowout in 2011, both within 10 miles of my home in Bradford county.

I’m incredibly grateful to Dale and Mary from Mary’s Gone Crackers who sponsored my attendance at the Social Ventures Network conference, not once, but twice. They produce a line of organic, gluten-free foods that I love. What a gift to learn from these extraordinary thought leaders!

At the conference, I also got to talk to Ben Cohen (of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream) about his latest project to get money out of politics, the stamp stampede. He’s calling for a constitutional amendment declaring that 1) money is not speech; and, 2) corporations are not people. Why? Because we need to reverse the damage done by billionaires, corporations and SuperPacs who have drowned out the voice of ordinary Americans. Ben’s call to action is to stamp currency with a variety of messages, including

This issue of taking money out of politics is one that both the right and the left can agree on. I can’t wait to give one of these stamps to my father for Christmas!

About the author:

441 Martha Lasley is a founder of Coaching for Transformation, an accredited coach training program and ChangeMakers, a year-long facilitation training program. She creates results-oriented programs that inspire, motivate, and transform. “I surround myself with people who take risks and look for new ways of doing things; we explore both the solid ground and the edges of transformation.”

Martha is a certified trainer in Nonviolent Communication and is a professional member of the Indian Society for Applied Behavioral Science. She has written three books: Courageous Visions; Facilitating with Heart; and Coaching for Transformation.