TED Conversations

Mohammed Al Medfa

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What wrong(s) would you right?

Hi there everyone,

I'd like to ask, what wrongs you believe there are in the world, that you would make right, if you could.

I posted a related question, asking "What would you tell children about following their dreams?" over here:
& another asking "How will you strive to change the world?"

I'm asking these questions as part of a video project of mine related to inspiring people to follow their dreams, right wrongs, and strive to change the world. Its all part of a web and real world project dedicated to enabling and empowering people, which we're starting called Utopian.

I'd love to quote the answers that some of you provide to this question and the other questions, and use them in the video. We'll be constructing a kind of 'visual wall' featuring everyone's statements.

We'll credit each person by placing their name next to their statement on the wall, which we'll be filming as an important part of the video.

I think these are deeply important subjects, and I'd love to hear what everyone has to say.

Thanks a lot,


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  • Dec 2 2011: I think we need to put an end to the use of cheap throwaway toxic materials, such as plastics. I work in construction and find that almost all building products are toxic. The products have warnings on the back such as, "long term exposure can cause brain and nervous system damage." Why in the world are we damaging the brains of our work force? They made much to do recently about the September 11 firefighters being exposed to all sorts of toxic dust from building products that were released during the explosion and fall of the buildings. All I could think was, so no one cares about the construction workers who breathe this stuff in every day on the job?!

    I haven't even got into the impact on the environment, but there are plenty of TED video's on the subject such as http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/en/capt_charles_moore_on_the_seas_of_plastic.html. I love going out in nature, but more and more I see trash accumulating in the woods and waterways that surround our cities. Unlike many major cities, In Kansas City, where I live, the city has turned it's back to the river, in part because the areas that surround the river are industrial, but also because the river is so polluted there are signs that say "avoid contact."

    Finally, after recently having a baby, and reading a few baby books, I find that nearly every baby product is toxic crap, from the plastic toys to the synthetic fibers and dyes used to make their clothes. Everyone recommends buying organic cotton or wool, but finding these items in a local store is hard enough, footing the bill for some of the stuff is even harder.

    Finally, entropy is catching up with us and in the future we're probably going to be sitting on a toxic pile of trash, bombing each other for the last sip of oil, and trying to figure our way out of a big mess.

    For my part I have started developing my own building products that do not employ plastics, such as drywall joint compound made of lime, plaster, and casein. Out of words...
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      Dec 3 2011: Thanks James. Entropy really is the word here. In the system that is every one on Earth, each of us know certain things that we know to be problems, that we know should be fixed, we may even have solutions or ideas about how to go about fixing them. And others are in a position to make that change affect more people. And then there are the people whose lives would be benefitted by the changes we hope to make true. (All of this rings true with the deeply important situation you've described above.)

      What if all these people could find each other, effortlessly as a natural part of society? What if the tools of organization were so democratized that groups of people could naturally form and coalesce around the ideas and initiatives that inspire them? Thats what I believe is what we need. Because I have no doubt that between us all, we have the will, the skill, the resources and the drive to make these 10,000s of changes and improvements. But if we cannot find those who share our goals, only the tiniest sliver of them can ever be realized.

      Static organizations can only empower the 'established solution', the status quo or solutions that already exist -> They are static after all. Its time for ordinary people to take part in dynamic, organic organizations.

      You asked if 'no one cares about the construction workers' and I think this really touches upon the crux of the matter. Many people have the capacity to care, some have the capacity to do something about it. But until people like you can find other people like you, and can effortlessly organize and integrate your individual efforts and belief in the importance of your goals into 'constructive' wholes, these efforts will seem relatively ineffectual. Because they will have no shared identity or shared organization. If you don't know about the other people on Earth who are just as concerned as you are, you can't work with them, you can't be inspired by them..
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      Dec 3 2011: And I'm sure there are millions of people who share the same feelings you do, and surely a few thousand who have tried taking similar steps. But imagine if you could easily share your efforts, trade best practices, share ideas about how to take better steps to avoid all these toxic materials, organize ways to raise awareness as a group etc.

      You see the way I see it, a group that does not know it exists is infinitely weak. Once a group gains a shared identity, it takes on a strength beyond any individual member. It isn't a coincidence, to me, that the rise of the internet seems to have arisen right before our impending climate crisis, and a number other crises at least nearly as dangerous, right before perhaps the greatest time of need for coordinated human action. The solution and the problem seem equally clear to me.

      So one of the most crucial focuses of the things we'll be building with Utopian, are ways to enhance the creation of dynamic organizations, and put the ability to self-organize in the hands of groups of ordinary people. I do hope that can help many more passionate individuals find other people like themselves and act in increasingly coordinated fashion.

      Thanks for your thoughts :)

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