TED Conversations

Thomas Teuwen

Designer Builder , kandf sustainable lifestyle strategies

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What are your personal strategies to curb climate change?

It has been said that 60% of us know that climate change is the biggest threat facing our modern civilization, yet only 5% of us act on that knowledge.

If that is true and the 55% who know but don't (or can't) act could somehow get engaged maybe we could reach the tipping point and stem climate change.

There are three steps that we have personally taken in our lives to reduce our carbon footprint by 80% We live car-free/care-free, we eat Vegetarian (mostly vegan) and we built a small footprint house that we hope to get net-zero in another year.

I would be very interested to hear what strategies others have employed. But please let's not debate the existence of man made climate change here, ok?

If you are still in denial about that, then I don't see why you would have an interest in this conversation in the first place. Unless of course you want to further spread misinformation and add to the confusion of the uninformed.


Closing Statement from Thomas Teuwen

TED asked me to enter my closing statement and answer this question:

"Now that the conversation is closed, let people know the final answer -- what did you conclude? Was the question effectively answered?"

Thank you for the few of you who actually addressed the question constructively.

But I am still disappointed at the level of denial that is out there, especially among the TED community. If there was ever a group of people that could apply themselves to solutions rather than bury themselves in denial I thought it was this group. Instead most of the conversation centered around "it's not as bad as you make it out to be." read: "please don't make me change anything n my lifestyle".

In fact all the predictions by the best climate models are being exceeded and the runaway effect is accelerating. The window of averting global disaster is closing and as we ride the rails over the cliff we are still arguing in the bar car about how far away the cliff really is.

Climate change is not about a few storms and sea level rise. Its about severe climate fluctuations and perturbations that could end agriculture as we know it in decades. Its about the runaway methane effect that gets triggered once the arctic is ice free and the permafrost melts. Its about the bottom of the food chain, the zoo and phytoplankton, collapsing due to ocean acidification.

No the planet does not care what we do. It has survived these sort of upheavals before and simple renews itself. But we don;t have that option. Our civilization is based on agriculture and agriculture has only been possible for the last 10,000 years because of an unusually stable climate. Its that stability we are disrupting at our own peril.

I leave you with these two links to ponder:



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  • Mar 16 2014: If you are seriously following what you have said:
    reduce our carbon footprint by 80% We live car-free/care-free, we eat Vegetarian (mostly vegan) and we built a small footprint house that we hope to get net-zero in another year."""

    Then , you are doing a great service to the universe
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      Mar 20 2014: Thank you Prakar. Yes we are living a fantastic and rewarding lifestyle that has made us so much richer in so many ways. But its not about saving the planet or doing a service to the universe or even our natural world. The planet will be just fine and there is nothing we can do to cause it any grief. It has survived mass extinctions before and will certainly survive this one. It lives and breathes on a different time scale and in a dozen million years any trace of our meddling will be wiped away.

      If we are doing it for anyone but ourselves we are doing it for future generations of humans. We awake each morning in awe of the bounty and riches that our civilization has bestowed upon us. We need to spend precious little time foraging for food or keeping warm and can enjoy the wealth of learning, growing sharing and loving. This is something we would like to pass on to our nieces and nephews and their children.

      Yes it is that critical even as the deniers foam at the mouth and scream in terror, refusing to consider that they are responsible. We are all responsible. Each and every one of us. And we are all able to respond to the crisis. There is so much we can do that will make a difference. In this talk we offer some simple strategies and show why they matter. http://youtu.be/CFag3a09RYU

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