TED Conversations

Mark Hurych


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Imagine a scenario this century that is very bleak for agriculture. What do you think we should do to address humanity's thrivability?

Suppose two things:
Suppose that the food producing carrying capacity (the number of people that can be fed from arable land) of the Earth within this century becomes less than one billion due to climate change, what do you think we should do to address thrivability? Suppose that you had all the necessary resources to act. For full credit, apply empathy, logic, and self-integrating system properties. Yes, this might be on the final exam.

Jeremy Rifkin,

Paul Gilding,

Ray Kurzweil,

Michelle Holliday,


Closing Statement from Mark Hurych

Thanks to everyone that participated. I apologize to anyone who might have felt slighted.

The answer I got here is that people are on many different islands of being about humanity's current reality. We all have hopes and fears but our paradigms I've found are unexpectedly different. Our perspectives and priorities sometimes don't even seem to have common ground.

I very much want to find that common ground, across cultures, across the globe, across everything that separates and isolates us. One way I plan to address this yearning is by tuning my questions to be more inclusive and collective.

I feel that art does this, pulls us together and gives us common ground, even across language barriers and across time. I want to be good. This sounds so strange but I want to be a good ancestor. I don't see myself as an artist but I would very much like to do something for the greater good the way a composer or an artist might leave behind an inspiring artifact.


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    Dec 25 2012: Mark, I'm not clear what your question is. Are you asking how we can use empathy now to try to reduce the effect of global warming? Or are you asking how we could use empathy after six billion people have died to try to make life better for the people who remain?

    I'm still going to say that I really don't believe we're looking at our agricultural abilities going down to where we can only feed a billion people. I would only believe that when I hear a lot of experts saying it, and so far I haven't heard any.

    If you want to reduce global warming, one way you can do it is to drink more milk. I was looking at a study that compared twenty foods for how much global warming they produced in their production and distribution, and milk produced the least global warming.
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      Dec 26 2012: ?? 
      Greg, I'm not sure what my question is. I'd like to know what if anything might be done by our species to reduce the probability of these dystopian scenarios. I anticipate that we would have to quickly do something unusually cooperative. 

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