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 27 2012: My assertion is that we are already playing some kind of Russian roulette with our planet. I'm not content with any one answer unless it fundamentally eliminates the danger.  Even one "bullet" is one too many. It's been said already that the harmful change of our air and climate will continue for some time even if we completely stopped emitting CO2 now.  All answers and all people must work together. We must all put on our thinking caps as inhabitants of our one and only home planet. No one person can break this bundle of sticks problem but by sharing the effort it is a snap. Seven billion human brothers and sisters can and should be involved. How creative and effective we could be by making this effort together.
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      Dec 28 2012: Never before did so little people die from violence, hunger and extreme weather events (procentually, worldwide), never did we live so long and healthy lives, twice as long as in the beginning of the 20th century (which is true for almost any country, bar Zimbabwe and North Korea), never did we produce so much food and energy per capita. Never before could half of the world population be considered middle class, as is now.
      Deforestation is declining, rapidly, worldwide. In de developed world forests are increasing, the UK has more forest now than in any time in the past 500 years, air and water quality are improving in the west, animals (wolfs, bears, whales, storks, beavers etc) are returning. And renewable energy is the fastest growing energy source in the world.
      Far from accidently destroying ourselves, the Earth we are molding to fit our needs is proving to be increasingly kind to us.
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        Dec 28 2012: Here is the comment on Mr. Spectors talk I cited earlier.
        Dec 18 2012: Genetically modified food is a great idea, it's the Monsanto's of the world that are effing things up! When upwards of 90% of the genetically modified food in NA is modified to be herbicide resistant it's a gross misuse of the technology! I can't even begin to get into the problems these crops are creating for the ecosystems they are planted in to the tactics of Monsanto and the ownership of the crops. I had many problems with this talk, Dr. Paul Kratka eloquently mentions some of them below. If I didn't know better I would think that someone was paying Mr. Specter for these comments!?!
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        Dec 28 2012: No vilification is intended here. I just mean to say that SOME GM does harm instead of good in the long run, in terms of questionable safety or depleted natural capital.
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      Dec 28 2012: I agree with you. It's very hard to believe we're commiting several kinds of harmful actions against the beautiful and nice blue planet that it's our Home. We must bue more conscious and respectful for our Home. (sorry for my bad English). I'd like to encourage everybody for caring better that wonderful Home.
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        Dec 29 2012: Thank you for your participation, and for struggling past English grammar. This nice blue planet is called Earth but I often wonder why we don't call it Ocean.

        Creo que nuestros esfuerzos deben de involucrar cada ser humano en el sentido de que nos damos cuenta que este es nuestro planeta, nuestro hogar, y somos familia. Civizacion de empatia se llama. Creo que es un buen idea. mil gracias
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          Dec 29 2012: Yes, I really think so. Sometimes giving a walk by the sea side, enjoying the wonderful sun we can see here in Spain, it's easy to feel oneself like (only a) part of this complex world and then, at the same time, you can feel that nobody has the right for damaging it anyway, and we all have the obligation for caring it. It's not our private property, it's also of the animals, plants... One ought to feel guilty making something harmful against the environment.

          Oh, your Spanish is very good. Congratulations.
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      Dec 31 2012: The first thing needing attention is the ?50% or so who don't really care. They have to purpose or meaning in their lives, no goals, and no prevalent system of values to encourage them to modify their behavior. Our governments and institutions have proven themselves impotent and slovenly; if it's every one for him or her self why bother? The first thing WE need to do is stop voting, stop shopping and give God a little CPR!
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        Dec 31 2012: Enter "Empathic Civilization" with its inclusion and openness. Movements in this direction tend to be lateral instead of vertical. Viral spread of an idea (meme) is more powerful in the long run because it is making management teams obsolete.

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