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 26 2012: Everything does not depend upon money.
    People have been brainwashed into thinking it does.
    Money does nothing. Nothing costs money.
    Everything costs people. It's people who do things, not money.
    Changing that thinking paradigm might help because everyone knows this or can quickly know it when it becomes more common place to believe and speak in this way.

    Global warming probably cannot be stopped unless we humans simply stop. Stop doing what we are doing and realize what is really important. But we keep thinking we must continue doing what we are doing which is what has caused all this to begin with. For instance, if we cleaned up the oceans, but stopped fishing completely for 10 years and we also stopped any and all activity in and on the oceans, they might just heal themselves. We cannot heal them. We can only clean our garbage up. We could work en masse to begin cleaning up the planet for those who will or might survive.
    What is important is our survival, meaning everyone, as much as is possible. That requires helping one another to survive rather than competing as we have been trained into doing, and realizing all that we don't need - we don't need.
    Survival is a sharp enough edge to cut away all the B.S. we have bought into and "bought" is the apropo word.
    Buying is consuming. It isn't managing, it isn't economy, meaning economizing, meaning eliminating waste.
    That right there is a huge change in thinking and that is where it has to begin.
    The juggernaut of our demise needs to be stopped now but regarding my ocean idea, many will say, "You can't just stop fishing or using the oceans! That's ridiculous!" Is it? No, it isn't. If we don't stop, everything will stop. It's really simple.

    Things don't "get done" because of money.
    Things "don't get done" because of money.

    Taking the management of resources out of the hands of those who misuse and mismanage them for money (profit)
    would be a great start
    The resources of the earth belong to everyone, not to any "one".
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      Dec 27 2012: Simply stop. Yes, that's true. The rest of the biota would thrive without us. Yet we have done the calculation that one tenth of one percent of the sun's energy that hits our planet would be enough for everyone's energy needs. Solar energy is a good replacement for hydrocarbons. A world wide grid is possible and a practical solution for dayside Earth to share with nightside Earth. No fish zones on 20 to 50% of the continental shelf oceans would return most fish populations within 15 years. Solar powered desalinization plants could generate fresh water. Biochar soil enrichment could allow food crop production with a negative carbon footprint. Mycelium cultivation could remediate the biodiversity of old growth forests. Alternate currencies and economies could make every human rich immediately. Urban planning for density could bring population down. Online systems for global thrivability could test, store, and communicate the best ideas.
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      Dec 27 2012: Stopping won't do, calculations by the IPCC show that even if we would not emit any CO2 from now on, climates would still change dramatically.

      We should do quite the opposite, we should assume full responsibility. Embrace all technological options, go into geo engineering.
      We are as Gods, and have to get good at it - Stewart Brand

      And everybody knows it's about people, money is just an inventive mechanism to put value on people. 70% of the money spent by an average company, goes to wages.
      And considering that on a free market the price of anything is determined by supply and demand, the fact that nothing has gotten so expensive as people, means that people are more scarce and more valued than ever.
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        Dec 31 2012: If we are as gods, then stopping and reversing CO2 venting seems to be one legitimate way to address the climate crisis. I look to the collective will of people, rather than coercive policy.

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