It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust, and it’s time to get inspired. This week it’s Simon Senek on how great leaders inspire action:
It’s TED Talk Tuesday on 350orbust, and it’s time to get inspired. This week it’s Simon Senek on how great leaders inspire action:
Jamie Drummond co-founded the advocacy organization ONE (Bono is another co-founder), which is focused on ending extreme poverty and the AIDS epidemic. In this inspiring June 2012 TED Talk, Mr. Drummond discusses the UN Millennium Development Goals:
In 2000, the UN laid out 8 goals to make the world better by reducing poverty and disease — with a deadline of 2015. As that deadline approaches, Jamie Drummond of ONE.org runs down the surprising successes of the 8 Millennium Development Goals, and suggests a crowdsourced reboot for the next 15 years.
Why not aim high? What have we got to lose?
“As a species with the creativity, adaptability and opposable thumbs that enabled us to create an Oil Age in the first place, we can be pretty certain that there will be life beyond it. Similarly, we may be able to prevent the worst excesses of climate change, and indeed the measures needed would almost certainly make the world a far better place. However, the point is that the world and our lifestyles will look very different from the present. It is worth remembering that it takes a lot of cheap energy to maintain the levels of social inequality we see today, the levels of obesity, the record levels of indebtedness, the high levels of car use and alienating urban landscapes. Only a culture awash with cheap oil could become de-skilled on the monumental scale that we have, to the extent that some young people I have met are lucky to emerge from cutting a slice of bread with all their fingers intact. It is no exaggeration to say that we in the West are the single most useless generation (in terms of practical skills) to which this planet has ever played host. However, the first step to the creation of a localized, low-energy-abundant future is actually visioning its possibility.”
So writes Rob Hopkins, the founder of the Transition movement and author of “The Transition Handbook: from oil dependency to local resilience.” I’m halfway through this inspiring and practical book about how to embrace climate change and peak oil as the impetus to creating a better, healthier, more community-oriented way of being on this planet. The changes that Hopkins is talking about are not simple changes, like deciding to recycle; they are significant changes in thinking and in “business as usual”. But as he (and many others) point out, inevitable and profound changes are ahead, whether we are prepared for them or not. What Hopkins, and the Transition Movement, do is to provide a roadmap for navigating those changes. As Hopkins writes:
I do not have a crystal ball. I don’t know how the twin crises of peak oil and climate change will unfold – nobody does. I don’t know the exact date of peak oil, and again, nobody does. Similarly, I don’t know if and when we will exceed the 2 degree climate threshold, and what will happen if we do.
What I am certain of is that we are going to see extraordinary levels of change in every aspect of our lives. Indeed we have to see extraordinary levels of change if we are to navigate our societies away from dependence on cheap oil in such a way that they will be able to retain their social and ecological coherence and stabillity, and also live in a world with a relatively stable climate. In terms of looking forward, many people have set out different scenarios for what the future might hold. I have trawled through a lots of these for insights as to how life beyond the peak might be.
What Hopkins emphasizes is the importance of not just being against something but to be for something positive. While standing against the destruction of the tar sands, fracking, drilling in the Arctic, etc, Hopkins reminds us to offer a vision of a better future where we are more connected to each other, and the earth, with cleaner air, cleaner water, and more equitable sharing of the earth’s bounty. Mike Nickerson, in “Living On Earth As If We Want to Stay” puts it this way:
It may be hard to imagine a civilization where the needs of all are met without depreciating the environment, where speculative capital serves real needs, and where nations and regions have the ability to make decisions in the interests of their people and the environment that supports them. However, such a system is possible.
Remember, we are a tremendously gifted species. Our challenge is not whether or not it is possible to live secure healthy lives for countless generations, our challenge is to identify the direction in which we need to move to accomplish that end, and to exercise our democratic power so that we can proceed to do so.
May you be inspired today to take a step towards establishing your vision of what a better future for your children, and mine, will look like.
Happy Birthday, U.S.A. – may you as a country live up to your promise of providing a better future for all your citizens, not just those with the biggest bank accounts!
An Open Letter to All Humankind
Please Help Me
I am thommo and I am a human being. I write this open request for help to all other human beings on this beautiful planet we share. The world that I am currently living in appears to be broken. It’s not irreparable, but it is not far off. That’s why I need every one to help me.
In my world, all the resources are used for the financial gain of big corporations and a greedy few that control them. They hold power over the governments in my world and none of them are interested in the needs of their people, in fact, many of them are actively trying to get rid of us. Also in my world, the people are very sick. Unfortunately all our scientists are trained by and have their research paid for by the big corporations. They no longer strive to make life better for us all, merely to make more money. They create cures and then invent the illness. They no longer look to prevent disease, they look to ‘treat’ it, prolonging the suffering and maximising the revenue stream. They tamper with the genetics of our crops ‘for the good of mankind’ as if mankind and nature didn’t have it pretty well sorted already! Soon all our food will be genetically modified and so will we. Our scientists keep quiet when harmful chemicals and drugs are added to our food and water because if they spoke out they would lose their funding. Our power needs are based on dangerous nuclear power and resource wasting fossil fuels. We have the technology in my world to produce all our power through renewable resources such as solar and geothermal. There is little money in free energy so the corporations block the scientists from finding ways to utilise it for the good of us all. I need your help to set the scientists in my world free so that they can do what they are supposed to.
Many of the people in my world are controlled by belief systems that they have been brainwashed into believing. Deep down in their hearts they know they are controlled, but they are unable to escape. They are bombarded day in and day out by rules and regulations that they must follow. Their religions indoctrinate them with one set of rules they must follow, the corporations indoctrinate them with another which often causes conflict. Television programmes are exactly that, programmes subconsciously altering our state of mind and entering new beliefs without our knowledge. Our music now indoctrinates our children with perverse messages designed to corrupt and entrap them in a sub human existence. The people have been divided and view each other by the colour of their skin, their wealth and social standing and the part of the planet they were born on. They are divided by the politics that is forced on them by the corrupt governments and corporations. They no longer see each as equal human beings, and I need your help to wake them up.
Fear is the emotion most people in my world feel every day. Fear of what they will ‘lose’ if they don’t keep up their mortgage payments or pay the loans and credit cards bills. Fear that they won’t earn enough money to pay for their children’s state controlled education. Fear that they will ‘lose’ their jobs if they don’t perform better and put the company before their own families. They are the lucky ones! People in my world also experience hunger, not knowing if they will eat from day to day. They fear that their children will die of preventable diseases, caught from contaminated dirty water. They fear that in times of drought there will be no help that reaches them from their brother human beings no matter how much we give to charity. Fear that they will be killed in a war against an imaginary enemy, that could ‘appear’ anywhere in the world. Fear that soldiers from another land that don’t speak the same language will see them as an enemy because they have been programmed to believe that they are. Fear that their whole families will be instantly destroyed by an unseen attacker as they sleep in their beds, whilst a teenage soldier thinks he is playing a video game as he pulls the trigger that kills them. There is also the fear of dying. The way the governments and corporations treat the human beings in my world, for many that will be the end of their working life. Fear is a very negative emotion when it used as a control mechanism and it stops the people in my world from making positive change. Can you help the people in my world dispel the fear?
In my world the people have been lead to believe that money is the most important thing in their lives. That without it we could not function. This is an illusion that has been created by the wealthy corporations and the governments they control. If the people in my world knew that it was all a massive deception to keep them operating as slaves for the benefit of their masters, they would break free and restore the world back to its natural balance of peace and harmony. They would very quickly learn that we can all work together for the benefit of all mankind without the need for money and the slavery it creates. They would soon learn that money is the barrier to progress, not the result of it and would so learn to cooperate to maintain society the way it should be. The money control mechanism is rooted so deeply into the subconscious that people in my world say they would not bother working if there was no money in it. But there is still hope! I need your help to make the people of my world understand that they are better than that. To understand that they can achieve amazing outcomes just by the power of thought.
As I mentioned previously, my world is currently ravaged by wars. In the last 60 years in my world roughly 20 million people have died as a result of war, however, very few politicians or ‘rulers’ have died in these wars. Only the poor that join up as a last resort die, not to mention the poor people that are invaded. Please help me to end the wars in my world. Violence is not the route to peace and love, it is the route to anger, hate and mistrust.
All I ask from you is that you imagine my world the way it should be. Imagine that it is peaceful, no wars at all. Imagine that it is balanced and only what is really needed is taken from nature as we learn to live in harmony with the world. Please imagine my world with no hunger. Imagine that no human being goes without the love that they need. Imagine that money does not exist and that the wealthy have no mechanism to divide and rule my world. Imagine that all human beings in my world work together to create paradise for all to enjoy. Please spend a few minutes a day imagining what I ask and my world will surely change for the better. You may even notice that there are things in your world that are not right and need changing. If you change what is wrong in your world, my world will also be changed for the better. There are nearly 7 billion people in my world and we are all equal. I believe that my world will change for the better, and I thank those of you that chose to help me change my world. All it takes is a little bit of empathy and compassion. Maybe that will be the reason that you pass my letter on to all the human beings that you know, so that they may decide whether or not to help me change my world and yours in the process.
Peace Love & Respect.
Much of the UN climate negotiations that went on in Copenhagen in December, 2009 was just so much hot air and spinning of wheels without any movement towards a liveable planet and a sustainable future for our children. But maybe things are changing. Recently a new bike innovation, called the Copenhagen Wheel, has been introduced, which might help this very green city reclaim it’s well-deserved reputation as an environmental leader. The Copenhagen Wheel, which is being touted as a way to help its namesake city become carbon-neutral by 2050, is a collaboration between MIT, the Italian Ministry of the Environment and Ducati Energia. Michael Lemonick over at Adventures In Climate Change had this to say about it recently:
Here’s how it works: you replace the rear wheel of your bike with the Copenhagen Wheel, which houses both an electric motor and a regenerative braking system that feeds power to the battery when you pedal backward to slow down. But (as they say on low-budget TV commercials) that’s not all! The wheel is Bluetooth-enabled, so you can use a smartphone to lock and unlock your bike, change gears and decide how much of a motor assist you prefer. You can also call up real-time information about how many calories you’re burning—and, thanks to built-in sensors, you can call up information about conditions around you, including temperature, humidity, noise and even nitrogen oxide pollution.
Check it out: