TED Conversations

Linda Hesthag  Ellwein

Communications, Change, and Photography, Oikonomia, Inc.

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How attached are you to your deeply held beliefs? If solutions to global problems challenge your worldview, how do you react?

Allan Savory's recent TED Talk introduced an unlikely and politically incorrect solution to reversing global desertification and climate change with the use of livestock as a tool, and different decision making.

Well-meaning laws, bureaucracies, and activists at the mercy of public opinion have stifled this work from moving forward on a large scale in the US. Belief systems and the fear of being wrong often prohibits change.

How do you respond to ideas that challenge your belief system? How do we stop our paradigms and prejudices from unfairly shaping decision making, and allowing us to take real risks for lasting change? What's your reaction to cows helping save the world? What idea have you believed and been completely wrong?

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  • Mar 15 2013: I think your initial question says it all. With the exception of an enlightened few, we are all generally bound by our deep seated beliefs. There is no single solution to global problems - all solutions are important and no single solution will fit all situations. It simply is neither the nature of the planet of the individuals on it. (Belief systems govern so much - the value of things, how we treat each other, what we care about, what we learn, what we choose to see and so on.)

    Solving this problem is going to take all of us, acting in our own areas of expertise, from the highest levels of government and industry through to the manner in which each individual lives.

    The problem to me is that while (thank god) people like those in this discussion are interested and often involved in solving vegetation problems and saving elephants, most of the planet is focused on getting the kids to school, getting a promotion, worrying about real estate prices and the cost of petrol.. (All of which you might add are constructs.)

    I think there is a real place for mass level influence to change beliefs slowly. Captains of industry, rulers of lands, scientists, social workers, thieves alike are all mothers, fathers, brothers, sisters, friends and governors of the earth's resources. Get 'em at home and you will get 'em at the office.

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