TED Talks are changing how I think

I've been slowly working through the TED Talks video podcasts - making time to watch several sessions each week. I can't even begin to describe what an impact they're having on me. I'm starting to think differently about many issues - some I hadn't even considered before, others I thought were outside of my reach.

I watched Majora Carter's presentation this morning. She is the founder of Sustainable South Bronx - a grassroots movement she started in her community to try to bring it back from the brink of ecological (and social and economic) devastation.

I live in a pretty well-off community, in a pretty well-off city, in a pretty well-off country. I hadn't given much thought to the connection between ecological, social and economic planning and well-being. Hearing about what happened to the South Bronx as a result of wanton exploitation of a marginalized region's resources (human and environmental) made me wonder what we're doing here in Alberta, where our entire province feels like it's sole purpose is to extract oil from the tar sands. I'm wondering what impacts we'll be seeing in 60 years...

I also watched Sir Ken Robinson's session on creativity in the education system. Another absolutely amazing and provocative presentation that's changed how I think about "non academic" education. If we don't value and reward creativity in our young people, rather than drilling it out of them through an industrialized worker bee factory, we're wasting the skills and talents we'll need to remain flexible as a society.

The session list goes on and on. Al Gore on the environment. Jimmy Wales on Wikipedia. Negroponte on the $100 laptop. Aubrey de Grey on extending or preventing senescence (now THAT's something that will have a HUGE impact - ethical and moral implications on both sides of his argument). Every single session has sparked something for me. I'm positive I'll be percolating much of it in my head for years to come.

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