Saturday, March 1, 2008
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.
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
Friday, February 29, 2008
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!
have you ever been rejected by someone who you really loved?
have you ever dumped anyone who really loved you?
95% said yes to both
"romantic love is one of the most powerful sensation" on earth she says and so she studies it's "biochemical foundations and its vital importance to human society". she's studying data now on
people who had suffered a romantic loss. she has learned that romantic love is a basic drive (not the same as sexual drive). it's an addiction and it's great when good and horrible when it's not going well. you crave, you distort reality, you take enormous risks you wouldn't normally take.
indeed she says "romantic love is one of the most addictive" things on the planet. her newest experiment is testing people who are still in a long relationship and say that they are still deeply in love to try and determine the origins of love and why we can walk into a room full of people who may be similar and be romantically attracted to one.
closing: "love is in us and deeply embedded in our brains."
Walter Isaacson Aspen Institute CEO (our amazing conference hosts) website
Sue Goldie Public Health Scientist website
Peter Schwartz Futurist website
Nassim Nicholas Scholar of Randomness website
he spent much of the time talking about redwoods, which are near and dear to me having spent 7 years of my life living amongst them. that being said, i never would have actually thought about climbing one, yet he's climbed the tallest. he has found berries, mosses, lichen and all kinds of interesting other life.
1. using mycellium to absorb oil (think oil spills!). the mushroms absorbed the oil, killed the smell and attracted other life forms
2. a rare fungus that grows in US forests is being used for flu viruses, defense purposes..........problem these guys only grow in old growth forests
3. used against insects and could revolutionize the way we deal with this..
people are giggling, openly asking if he's a nut or not...did he eat too many of the wrong kind?
4. econol, a mushroom derivative which could be used for energy
"I believe engaging mycellium can save the world"
really really, out of the box stuff in one way, but in another way so cool in its simplicity and the potential!
he's totally frustrated at our lack of knowledge, he knows that going to the unknown on our planet we may find many answers. he's beginning to disseminate information and motivate children to explore and dig for knowledge earlier than any one else. he ended with comments about how we have great opportunities with existing technology to learn so much more, to use so many things to our benefit.
was an amazing effort that is changing the world. He wraps with the NYC Condom program a mindblowing totally different approach to a huge challenge. We can change our values, we can change the companies we work with, we can change the world....sure makes me think about my client base!
Thursday, February 28, 2008
Religion has been hijacked she says. We have a talent as a species for messing up wonderful things. You cannot confine your concern to those of your religion. You must open up your mind and think more about Universal Outreach which she feels many religions no longer do. Religion is a kind of fault line and when a country has armed conflicts, religions tend to fall into line and are also impacted and take advantage of opportunities like armed conflicts, to grow when they have the opportunity to do so. After 9/11 her work on Islam has thrust her into prominence. She says the world is yearning for a change. Thousands of Pakistanis came to her recent talks. She says religion should serve to bring people together not tear them asunder. We should not treat other nations in a way we wouldn't want to be treated ourselves. Sh talks about how the mosques in this hemisphere reached out to Sinagogs and communities to begin to communicate and generate understanding. Personally I've always been of the belief that it's hard to hate those with whom you are familiar and she seems to support that. It is the "otherness" of our enemies that allows us to hate them. Her wish is that we help with by developing a charter of inspiration and based on the fundamental principle of the golden rule. To connect all of those who wish to reclaim their faith, to remember the ethos of love and charity. She wants to see the major religious leaders, at least a thousand all sign a charter that we can get to everyone on the planet. Archbishop Desmond Tutu has already offered his support as has the UN alliance of civlizations. we need to avoid the escalation of extremism. The UN gives it validation that it's not driven by single religion. Make relgion once more a source of peace rather than conflict.
Amazing, inspiring woman...read the books and get involved! This is why I haven't been able to subscribe to any religion and now I have a reason to dig in and see if there's a way to help. She has the potential to be a bridge to a new world.
The Great Transformation
The Beginning of our Religious Traditions
The Bible: A Biography
A History of God
She makes an interesting point. With all the trouble in Uganda, very few Americans even inquire or have any awareness of the challenges there, but the phones ring off the hook for people who want to save Gorillas.
Samantha talks about some of the organizations who are having some success raising awareness of some genocide, particularly in Darfur. She clearly thinks that a change of presidents isn't going to make much difference unless it's Obama.
So how do we prevent evil from prevailing?
Be adaptive, don't just denounce, be in the room, talk to your adversaries but don't check your principles at the door.
Espouse dignity, no holier than thou stuff.
Don't hype the threat, focus on the legitimate challenges and threats, but don't lunge into reactive mode. calibrate your response and approach.
Increase your awareness of the complexity of the issues. increase your involvement, don't let fear scare you. If we want change we have to become part of the effort.
Evil will not prevail she says, not unless we let it!
book: A Problem from Hell: America and the Age of Genocide
He talks about the danger of nuclear holocaust and how lucky we were to have survived the cold war. What is really scary is that most of those weapons are still around! His point here was that virtually every scenario of a nuclear holocaust showed a total destruction of life as we know it. the fact that we told people to hide under desks or build fallout shelters. Every single plan the government suggested was ludicrous. One depended on 4 days notice which obviously would never happen. The point he says is there was a total disconnect with reality.
The really scary thing is what he calls chapter 2 which we're in the midst of now. The idea of an all out war is unlikely, but nuclear terror threats DO exist.
1. The nuclear stockpile is not secure, they can be bought or stolen easily. 18 cases of theft have already been documented. 1300-2100 metric tons of highly enriched uranium are in the global stockpile. Amazingly enough, it takes only about 75 pounds of HEU. Plutonium is no less scary, it takes much less plutonium.
2. The information is readily available on how to build a bomb.
3. Evil-doers are organized, dedicated, "stateless" and "retaliation proof". Al Queda operatives have specifically stated that they have "the right" to kill 4 million Americans, including 2 million children. we, as a country are totally unprepared this kind of attack, both from a prevention perspective and a treatment perspective. Just a small suitcase is all that's needed to carry a bomb. He basically showed us how easy it would be to do.
He feels it's almost inevitable thought there's much more we have to or can do. So what does it mean and who would survive? A bomb in NYC would be insanely devastating. His description of what would happen, from the "nuclear storm" or hurricane, was so scary that almost everyone in the room gasped. You would have 10-15 minutes, IF you survived the blast, to get away from the lethal radiation which will come straight down. If it ever happens, get the hell out of dodge the moment it happens. Get in shelter and stay there if you can't get away. It's critical you find as much information as possible. The really really scary thing is that not one single American city has an evacuation plan. It's not futile, and with some planning we can dramatically impact the survival rate. The key is to get away from the blast as fast and as far as possible. NEVER STARE AT THE CLOUD, DUCK AND COVER, GET AWAY FROM THE INITIAL FALLOUT, MOVE DOWNWIND/CROSSWISE, KEEP YOUR MOUTH OPEN SO THAT YOUR EARDRUMS AREN'T SHATTERED, DECONTAMINATE AS QUICKLY AS POSSIBLE, STAY INSIDE SHELTERS FOR AT LEAST 48-72 HOURS.
Next he described the Stanford test "Quiet Rage". 75 students signed up for the 1-2 week study.
They were "arrested by local police, which was a surprise. They were picked up and jailed as if they were under arrest. They were forced to do degrading activities from cleaning toilets with their bare hands to various kinds of punishment and harrassment...the study had to be abandoned when so many of the subjects literally "lost it". More at lucifereffect.com.
He describes 7 social processes which cause the lucifer effect and one of the stronget was power without supervision. That's what happened at Abu Ghraib. The guards knew that no one was going to come down and see what they were doing.
A paradigm shift is needed. Heroism is the antidote to evil. Promote heroism to kids. Reficus attention on heroes as opposed to evil. We want kids to realize that heroes are every day people not caped superheroes. They can be and should be heroic, we need to share examples of the good things people do, the heroic things more than the bad things. Teach them skills to be heroic. Act when others are passive....a great quote from one of the heroes he talked about: "I did what Anyone could do and Everyone ought to do".
The point he leaves us with is that we too will have the opportunity to be heroic and we should be prepared to be so.
Is it truth? Is that even the right question? Decided to pick out favorite images of his at random to share. They included images from artists like Matisse to Warhol. Traditional paintings to tumbling cars. How are all these things tied together and how do we experience them? Art Museums should reflect society and change, they have that as an obligation. The objects we see in museums are messengers to deliver the messages of another age or perhaps to another age. talked about Museums with no walls. Museums in your own house. Think about them as platforms and change agents. Connecting museums is a must for society.
He says he doesn't know where "inspiration" comes from, he says it's not about research, more likely from using that time he isn't sleeping to think. This is a pretty amazing guy, selling everything from the highest end couture to a line at Target. He sits up at night watches movies to see how women are portrayed and he thinks about the roles the women play and that drives his thinking. He also talks about balance. That's what it's really all about. It's a huge part of his process. He wonders, as he lies awake and watches people in movies like Natalie Wood and wonders how he can ever create anything so beautiful. It drives his desire to keep going and take it to another level. He says "a little comfort is dangerous. I get bored." It's okay if I'm slightly bored with everything, in fact, if you're a designer you have to be a little bored with
Style is great because he says it keeps you from thinking about death.
argues that we ogle such features because they radiate the health and fertility our species needs to survive. We need to understand our innate drives, whether it's a desire for fattening foods or any other thing that we know exists and has potential problems, so we tend to temper those inclinations....
Her story about LBJ was much more personal. She spent many many hours with him and had a very interesting start to their relationship. She was named a White House Fellow and when dancing with him at a White House reception he whispered that he wanted her to work directly for him. two days later, an article she wrote about how to remove him from office!
He apparently still wanted her to work for him and then said something to the effect of if he couldn't win her over no one could. She wrapped her story about him by making it clear that by never learning to "play", he was unable to enjoy his later years without ever having the opportunity to enjoy life at all. Lincoln, on the other hand was able to play through his love of literature and theater.
like this but Craig is the clear leader. At the lanch of the UC Irvine Brehn Center I had the opportunity to watch the growth of 100% synthetic plants and flowers which were made by copying the genetics. Craig is actually creating new life forms. Through genomics, a small team can now do what it's taken twenty years to do in the traditional model. A key component is not only to NOT use additional natural resources, but if we can use C02 as the core of synthetic fuels we may actually create a financial incentive to clean up the atmosphere. As he pointed out, there appears to be inherent challenges to biofuels in that it dramatically impacts the pricing of food worldwide as well as cause the need to destroy more forests worldwide in order to accommodate the worlds need for sustenance.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
First talk by anthropologist Wade Davis. He's talking about the Indians at Machu Pichu. It's an amazing story of a truly sacred culture. 18 yrs of isolation with the rest of the word nothing but an abstraction, they never leave the circle at the "center of the earth". He says it's amazing that this culture, just 2 hours from Miami, prays for us and the planet as their mission in life. Wade talks about how much there is to discover, what does it mean to be human and alive? The rich tapestry of life is there for us to discover.
Okay, so I was a bit intimidated....intimate surroundings, very smart people, beautiful weather in aspen. I walked down to the Aspen Institute and was kind of blown away. Everyone very cool and open. Met lot's of folks and someone stopped, Marsha, to ask if I wanted a ride. The goodie bag is over the top....the venue is amazing with views stretching across the valley and mountains. The TED folks are awesome....starting soon! This is the photo on my badge....
February 27-March 1, 2008 Monterey, California
Many people come to TED seeking something out of the ordinary. A chance to mentally recharge. A chance to step back and consider the big picture. A chance to understand life in a richer way. Next year will be our most ambitious attempt yet to deliver, by answering questions like "Who are we?" "What is art?" "What is love?" and "What is evil?" in unexpected ways.
TED2008 will be our most ambitious attempt yet to deliver on that agenda. We're building our program around the biggest questions there are. And because it's TED, we'll be seeking answers not just from the sources you might expect, but by bringing together multiple voices from very different disciplines. The "Aha" moments often come from the most unexpected connections. The questions below will give you a flavor of the incredibly rich vein of possibility in this approach. Plenty of Profundity and Challenge, for sure ... but also plenty of room for Cool, Exciting and Whimsical. See the TED2008 Conference Program for details. We think you will like it very much:
Who are we?
What is our place in the universe?
What is life?
Is beauty truth?
Will evil prevail?
How can we change the world?
How do we create?
What's out there?
What will tomorrow bring?
What stirs us?
How dare we be optimistic?
And the point?
Now how cool is that?