TED Conversations

Sarah Shewey

CEO/Founder, Happily


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How can we help the sustainability community maintain its growth? *A TEDActive Sustainability Project question*


The TEDActive Sustainability Project will look at best practices in community organizing, and explore radical solutions to push the sustainability movement forward.

At TEDActive2011 in Palm Springs, an amazing group of individuals came together as a group to come up with a simple micro-action solution for helping the sustainability community continue to grow. After a quick 36 hour period of time, they recommended that we move the sustainability TEDTalks into TEDWalks by starting TED Conversations that include an action item attached to a TEDTalk. If you'd like to join them in doing so, please add the tag TEDActiveSUS in the "topics" section of the conversation form.

What would be your micro-solution to growing the sustainability community?


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    Apr 20 2011: I agree with you Naz. The fact that term sustainability comes from a history of 'compliance' or 'measurment' which both in itself are not very inspiring puts it behind the eight ball from the get go. I think we all have seen the picture of gloom and doom if we don't address the issues facing the world today soon and it is so hard to understand what to do when there is no silver bullet (another reason why this is so elusive).

    I was part of the sustainability task force at TEDActive and we grappled with this as well as many other issues surrounding sustainability and we all agreed that it is not only a matter of coming up with a correct answer (see silver bullet reference above) but also what is the right questions that provide specific directions for people or businesses to take - even if they are small. The definition of sustainabilty needs to come from the individual whether it be a student, a citizen or a CEO. Education on impacts of decisions give people more awareness of how they affect their environments. Providing education and information on our current situation is imperative. TED can provide this via their network which they are doing via their topic choices.

    I also feel that TED can go deeper - go beyond just the talks but walk the talk too. How sustainable is TED itself? Has that been considered? What information can be provided to the participants of TEDx events to make them zero waste or carbon neutral? Is this being considered for the larger TED events? These are low hanging fruit in my mind.

    We all know that 'whats in it for me' reigns in society today. Leverage this to provide TEDcred to those who provide insightful solutions or avenues of sustainability awareness and promotion via the TED network.

    Spreading the knowledge base to schools using some of the TED talks on sustainability is an excellet way to engage in discussion that can lead to micro actions for that community.

    These are but a few ideas that I think could enhance the conversation

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