Saturday, March 1, 2008

John Francis "planetwalker"

What an amazing man and great storyteller. Spent 22 years walking an sailing around the world. He started when he saw 1/2 million gallons of oil empty into San Francisco Bay he swore off using a vehicle or anything that required oil. He spent 17 of those years he didn't say a word. He stopped speaking so that he could stop arguing. He felt it could help him learn to listen. Although he reevaluated his vow of silence on his birthday every year. That lasted 17 years during which he earned a BA, MA and PHD. It took him 7 yrs and a day to walk across the country. The best thing, he says, is learning to listen. What started him talking again was when he realized that we, people and how we treat each other is truly part of our environment. He became a UN Ambassador (though i'm not sure what kind). He felt that he had a responsibility to help change others and he felt it was the only way he could have significant impact. We have to leave behind our security and go to the place we must go. We have to do something now, we have to change now.


Al Gore Activist "How dare we be optimistic

I'll start with the end where Al quoted an African proverb when ask what he will do next:
If you want to go quickly, go alone.
If you want to go far, go together.
He announced the launch of the Alliance for Climate Protection scheduled to launch worldwide in April 2008.

I took reams of notes, there was so much value in what he said, but bottom line you really have to watch the video when it comes out. His key messages were about activism and the link between climate change and poverty, It's not just about changing out lightbulbs or adding solar panels, but it's about being active as citizens in our democracy as citizens of the world. In a way I think he was talking about accountability. We are accountable to our planet, it's people and the environment. He calls it a unified earth challenge. More than a local challenge, more than a regional challenge, it's a global challenge and we are able and in fact we MUST get engaged and do something big now. Our generation CAN be the one to force change, our generation CAN be the one to change the cycle, CAN be the one to make a difference, but only if we hold ourselves accountable. We need to initiate a worldwide mobilization effort. We did it after WWII we can do it now. We can change the world.

We have to force the media to engage, to ask the tough questions, to make sure we know where the candidates stand on the issue. Less than fraction of a percent of the questions relate to global warming. We have the will, we have the technology, we just need a commitment to hold ourselves accountable. he cited the example of Australia where the citizens forced the Kyoto accord to be an issue and shortly after Australia became the second to last to sign the accord. The only remaing hold out is the USA.

Paul Collier economist

It's all about ideas for creating opportunities for the worlds poorest people.
He's focusing on one of his 4 big ideas wrapped around what he calls the "commodity boom".
He says that the revenue from commodities in countries where the "bottom billion" live far exceeds the funding for aid to those same countries, so how can we make this "change the world".
Currently the "bottom billion are experiencing the fastest economic growth rate ever. The key is to sustain it and according to Collier is how do you sustain it. He cites Canada, Australia and Finland as doing it right. It requires very strong checks and balances and these countries simply don't have them. He feels a key component is transparency, creating interest concern and effective action to ensure that there is indeed long term benefit. If society is uninformed, they can't act. he challenges us to help figure out:
How to extract resources our of the ground and benefit the country. He infers that what happens now is that big traders and government ministers carve deals that benefit them but not the long term economic health of the populace. If we could establish standards we can support the reformers who are struggling, and ensure transparency so that the general populace knows what is going on and can prevent the backroom deals that benefit big corporations and insiders.

Book: The Bottom Billion

johnny lee what can you do with a Wii?

OMG, an electronic whiteboard, 3d head tracking, all with a Wii. unbelievable stuff, and johnny offers free downloads on his website. you gotta see it to believe it.


Friday, February 29, 2008

Benjamin Zander Conductor

Amazing speaker. Passionate, funny, brilliant. By mid way through I'm dying to go hear some classical music, and that's a hell of an accomplishment. Funny, he just said that he will not continue his talk until every single one of us loves classical music. So he starts playing piano...chopin is his first choice. OMG this man is fabulous. I though about cutting out an I'm so glad I didn't. He, in 15 short minutes has 1600 people listening for the E and loving every moment. This is the TED video you have to share with your kids and parents. Your parents will cry, your kids may embrace it in a way you hadn't thought possible. he says we all love classical but many of us just don't know it yet. He said something dramatic that will stick with me and applies to many aspects of life. He says that as a conductor, he can't make a sound. His mission is to draw the best out of his orchestra. To get the listeners and players to have "shining eyes". He says success for him is about how many shining eyes I have around me. More than any of the talks, I see shining eyes all around me.

After he was done and the longest and loudest ovation so far, he had everyone singing Ode to Joy. As he was trying to motivate the crowd to engage....He made a comment the meaning of which I hope I never forget...paraphrased...A true leader finds ways to get things out of people that they didn't even know they had in them!


Chris Abani writer

Published since he was 16, in jail in Nigeria soon thereafter (i think i got that right!). After two more imprisonments he turned to poetry. His stories are amazing, he talks about the horrors he saw and heard about as a child. Some are simply horrific. He's an amazing story teller and some of his stories, not the most horrific but the ones about cultural issues, like a few of those he told remind me of my time teaching in the jungles of Sumatra. Some things just didn't make sense. I remember being in the midst of a cholera epidemic that killed hundreds every day. Ironic that the front page of the Bengkulu Sumatra paper was about 14 (or so) Americans who died of legionnaires disease, a new thing at the time. A tiny paragraph on the last page was dedicated to the latest death toll in their own province. I deduced that the financial impact of the death of those Americans far exceeded that of the Indonesians, but i couldn't understand, nor could they explain why the 18 Americans dying was more newsworthy than the deaths of their neighbors.


David Griffin Natl Geographic Director of Photography

as one would expect, incredible images....photographs emulate our's not just about capturing an image, it's about connecting with the viewer as if they were there, not just visually but emotionally. they've added a section to their website a "your photo" for reader submissions. "you need to know how to create a visual narrative".