From the blogosphere

Again, last year I collated links to blog posts and photos. So in the spirit of precedence, here we are again. Please let us know of any more out there.

Questions questions

The People’s Republic of South Devon wrote a nice post to recommend watching the videos; ‘TEDxExeter rounds up some of the best minds and the brightest ideas around’.

The talks really opened the minds of a group from Exeter School to new ideas, and they enjoyed the opportunity to talk to the speakers afterwards in an informal setting.

Sophie “shamelessly stole” Living the Questions as the theme of her new blog. After all, TEDxExeter was what prompted her to get on with starting it.

Kasia was enabled to ‏connect with her inner Pirate Piglet, and was sent back to Rilke in his original language.

Jim took up the challenge of asking strangers a question, and blogged on the responses to his question about whether they were worried about declining sea ice.

I wanted to  affirm the importance of asking questions to religion and religion to asking questions such as: What is true freedom? How can we be ‘bound together again’? How best can we be ‘careful’ of the other?

Martin was inspired by ‘Not all those who wander are lost’, the quote on the TR14ers T-shirts, to think about the importance of exploring faith, and embracing doubt and uncertainty.

Not everyone was inspired. Sadly, John didn’t like the TEDx format … although he did have the opportunity of interacting with the speakers at Speaker Corner, or discussing the questions with his fellow delegates. [Also, please note, TEDxExeter is not a University of Exeter event, although the Exeter Northcott Theatre is located on the campus and the University is one of the sponsors.]

TEDxExeter 2012 keeps on giving

Andy explains why he has brought the social game Perspectivity to Exeter in 2013.

And one year on from TEDxExeter 2012, Sally shares a really heartening outcome from the day. She also came in 2013, so I hope she was equally as inspired.

Searching for…

Here’s a bit of fun… the search strings that brought people to the TEDxExeter website in the run up to the event and in the immediate aftermath.

2013-04-13

pete yeo exeter, ted exeter, ted exeter 2013, tedx exeter, tedxexeter, tedx Exeter, jo berry magee, polly higgins ted x eceter, matt harvey potato poem, tedxexeter 2013, tedxexeter-2013!, carrie clarke dementia, tedx, tedx exeter sustainability, video, Declan Bates, tweflections, paul humphries architects ltd, what if the hokey cokey is what it’s all about, stewart wallis hamsters, TED talk Exeter, tedxexeter 2012 rob hopkins tedx exeter, stuart wallis our big bang, watch ted exeter live, ted talks exeter, meaning when, tedx exeter 2013, TedxExter, carrie clarke and dementia, kester brewin tedx Exeter, peter owen jones priest exeter, tedxexeter2013, blogging the questions, “blogging the questions”, martha, wallis, peter owen jones on Ted, peter owen jones ted talk, ted talk aphasia

2013-04-12

TEDx exeter, tedxexeter 2013, tedexeter, tedxexeter, ted exeter 2013, tedxexeter.com jo-royle-biography, tedx exeter, ted exeter, hazel stuteley, tedex, kath hadden, kath, tedex Exeter, tedxexeter 2014, Ted Exeter, tedvexeter, tedX Exeter 2013, thomas crompton values, TED Exeter northcott, tedex exeter, martha wilkinson, aphasic, ted talks exeter, hokey cokey what if, jhenna exeter, satish kumar ted talk, http://www.tedxexeter.com, martin thompson, tobit, tedx exeter 2013, ted talks exeter 2013, tedx, video, polly higgins bio, TEDxExeter, matt harvey, tedx exeter today, poet, matt harvey tedx exeter, ted founder chris anderson biography, love poem to a potato by matt harvey, tedx caroline harlow, tr14ers, ted,exeter

2013-04-11

ted exeter, Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall Biography, tedexeter, paul gauguin where do we come from what are we where are we going, ted exter, mike dickson bio, tedxexeter 2013, Tickets, tedx exeter, changing attendee, william kamkwamba ted, http://www.tedxexeter.com/, tedxexeter, ted exeter 2013, tedx exeter 2013, tedex, ted exeter programme, tedx exeter sponsors, ted ex 2013 exeter, where can i buy x-tex in exeter devon, why is the sky blue questions, tedx Exeter 2013, ted talks exeter, tedxexeter 2013 speakers, tedxexeter speakers, tedx, ted talk sustainability exeter, ted lectures northcott theatre 2013, tedxexeter 2012, ted exeter flickr borley

2013-04-10

william kamkwamba ted, tedxexeter 2013, rebecca mayes blog, ted ex Exeter, ted ex Exeter 2013, ted talks exeter, tedx exeter, tedxexeter, ted x exeter, ted exeter, tedxexeter.com, ted exeter 2013, tedxeter, program, end time, ted x extere, tedexexeter 11 april 2013

2013-04-09

who am i type questions, ted exeter 2013, lucy, tedxexeter, ted exeter, tedxexeter 2013, patrick holden tedxexetet, tedx exeter, emmens, tedxexeter.com, ted talks nic marks, ted talks nic marks happy planet index, kirsty schneeberger, tedxexeter.com declan-bates-biography

2013-04-08

ted x exeter, tedxexeter, tedexeter, tedxexeter.com, ted exeter tickets, http://tedxexeter.com/, living the questions tedxexeter, tedx exeter, tedxexeter 2013, TEDxExeter, what if the hokey pokey is what it’s all about, ted exeter 2013, sophie hill, ted-x exeter, tedxexeter.com tr14ers-about, ted exeter

Laying down the questions

Kath Hadden was on the Colourburn stall at TEDxExeter creating a LIVE painting of Dartmoor. She told us:

I am inspired to paint by two things; my love of colour and the landscape around me in the south west of England. Having spent many wonderful family holidays (growing up and now with my own children) in the South West, the landscape for me is intrinsically linked with these fond memories, which are still being created as family life continues to grow and change.

Life brings many ups and downs and subsequently questions and doubts about all sorts of things. For me being outside, looking at creation, turning my phone off, listening undistracted to my children, husband, friends, looking into their faces, holding onto that moment in time and treasuring it  can stop me in my tracks, ground me, and helps me live with those questions, which may never be answered, because in that moment I am just thankful for the present. So I guess what I am trying to say in painting these special places I am holding onto those moments for a little bit longer. I am not forgetting the questions, I am laying them down.

Delegates could submit their names for the chance of winning the painting, and the winner was Clare Br…….. (so nearly me!) …….eckin.

Here’s a photo of the painting with Clare Breckin and Damo Cross from Colourburn.

And Clare’s response on Twitter? “Oooh thats’s me :-)I look a bit shell shocked!” Congratulations!!

#TEDxExeter community

Thanks everyone for tweeting before, during and after the event. Last year, I collated some Tweflections on the day. There’s even more this year, and counting.

A gallimaufrey of responses

@rupsds : Dragons, poetry potatoes, courageous people @JoBerry9 & powerful pirates @kesterbrewin what a thought provoking day #TEDxExeter

@Exeterlearning : My thoughts from @TEDxExeter are that we need to use this format in how we engage and stimulate learning of our children.

@suereadart : @HolisticBude @WidemouthTaskFo Environmental awareness. #EarthDay 2013 . Advice from #TedxExeter See ourselves as #stewards NOT consumers

@saratraynor : Brain and heart are bursting from #TEDxExeter , thanks to all the speakers, musicians, poets, dancers. Need sea air & waves to digest.

@kasiaturajczyk : Thank you for a wonderful day at #TEDxExeter, yesterday! Amazing speakers with brilliant #ideas, #solutions and #visions. A big #smile 4 all

@MacJoney : Thoughts I took away from #TEDxExeter yesterday – we’re not completely doomed, put down iPad put on iPatch and love the whole potato :)

@ben_emmens : Superb speaker & performer line up today at #TEDxExeter – great work by an inspiring team. Conversation continues at http://tedxexeter.com

@cllrdawson : Elected representatives taking some flak at #tedxexeter 😛 Most of us do want to support, enable and connect ideas! Let’s talk :-)

@finchunit : #TedxExeter was rather good.

Praise indeed!

Homing in…

@SteveALee : Inspirational talk by Carrie Clarke, http://ow.ly/k23LC , at #TEDxExeter on supporting those with #Dementia. @AliveActivites next year?

@ben_emmens : From outrage to activism: thanks @rebeccamaze for singing out about the horror of rape at #TEDxExeter today; your words need to be heard.

@eddowding : “Possibly the best line award” from #TEDxExeter goes to @kesterbrewin: “Put down your iPads and put on your eyepatches!” (though all superb)

@SaksExeter : Alberto Arribas – incredible talk on climate change and prediction – will be watching this talk again online #TEDxExeter

@CiaraEastell : Astonishingly moving / A very personal story of how @JoBerry9 lost her father to an IRA bomb at the Grand Hotel in Brighton #TEDxExeter

@suereadart : Stewart Wallis talk http://j.mp/ZgQitl  This is a #mustread from TED Exeter yesterday. We can all make small actions to facilitate change

@hdrever : Great to hear all about #RAMM transformation at #TEDxExeter. RAMM is one of my #HappyPlaces :-)

@MichSoh : @MattHarvey4 is hilarious! New appreciation for poetry, need to hunt down his work. #shutupandtakemymoney #TEDxExeter

@tobite : Patrick Holden at #TEDxExeter with a call to “true cost accounting” hear hear. And not just for food, but for everything.

Our speakers and performers liked it too!

@Monamission : @TEDxExeter thanks so much for everyone’s great company and inspiration yesterday and for playing @devoncf philanthropoly results out soon!

@JoBerry9 : @TEDxExeter thanks for all your amazing tweets yesterday and in the months before,much appreciated, Yesterday was awesome and very inspiring

@kesterbrewin : Brilliant bringing some #Mutiny to @TEDxExeter, but more brilliant hearing of the great mutinies going on already – great videos coming! #fb

@kesterbrewin : Main takeaway from #TEDxExeter: don’t wait for powers that be to sort things. Real power to change is in hands of real people. #GetOnWithIt

@KirstySchneeb : @TEDxExeter thank you for such an inspirational and thought-provoking day. V looking forward to next year!

@Tr14ersOfficial : @TEDxExeter wowwwwww amazing experience and oppertunity standing ovation a overwhelming buzz #adrenaline #whatsnext

@EmilyJeanDingle : I have met so many incredible, inspirational people at @tedxexeter these past two days. It was an honour to perform for them!

@DanzaShanna : @TEDxExeter thank you soo much for an amazing oppertunity !! Wat a brilliant day it was !! X

@mattharvey4 : @Exeterlearning @emilyjeandingle @tedxexeter, thanks :-) I LOVED the dancers, spontaneous standing ovation says I wasn’t the only one!

So did last year’s!

@CarbonVisuals : A great day at #TedxExeter. Fantastic speakers, singers, poets & dance. A five star feast of inspiration, hope & laughter.

@BandiMbubi : @TEDxExeter BIG THANK 4 inviting me back & 4 opportunity to spread message 4 #conflictfree #Congo @CongoCalling

The team seem to want to do it again next year

@Clive_Chilvers : Another brilliant, inspiring & thought provoking #TEDxExeter yesterday. Such a privilege to be part of the amazing team! #tedxeterfamily

@ClareBryden : Wonderful wonderful day at #TEDxExeter yesterday. Inspiration, laughter, tears, connection, teamwork. What brings me joy? Answered! #to2014

@FionnConnolly : @TEDxExeter was amazing today… had a lot of fun performing and listening. I’m already looking forward to next year 😀 #TEDxExeter

@hdrever : What a wonderful day want to do it all again! #TEDxExeter

And finally, blowing my own trumpet…

@Exeterlearning : @ClareBryden have now caugh up on your live blogging, how do you do that? Amazing http://tedxexeter.com/category/2013+liveblog/

Thanks Jackie :-)

One unlooked-for outcome for me was being followed for a few days by the film Ted. Thankfully it’s gone away now.

Thanks…

… to everyone for coming

… to our speakers and performers

… to our sponsors

… to Simon, the artist behind the paintings on stage

… to our musicians

… to the staff at the Northcott

… to Ben, our fantastic photographer

… to Damo and the film crew

… to Kath, painting live in the Great Hall

… to the team

… and all the volunteers

… and of course to the incredible organisers, Claire and Caroline

their flowers are local and seasonal, supplied by The Real Food Store

We hope you enjoyed the day as much as we did. The videos and photos will be published in the next few weeks. Please send us your feedback to help us celebrate the day and learn how we can make it even better next year! Now that we have T-shirts, we’ll have to keep going. So see you in 2014!

Matt Harvey performance

Matt Harvey portrait

Matt Harvey portraitMatt is back on the stage to close the day, offering a story and a poem.

“Say it with flowers”, a time-lapse love story. He planted a batch of bulbs to say “Your [sic] beautiful”. They came up “Yo- b–if–“. He wondered whether she got the message…

A final poem in the 1st person about bringing all of oneself to one’s life journey. “The hole in the sum of my parts”… “most of me, and you, and them, and we, is dreams”.

Thank you Benjamin J Borley for taking photos of all the speakers and performers yesterday, and turning them round so quickly that I can include them in the live posts.

More Information

Here’s Matt Harvey’s website, and a very pertinent poem on slugs.

Stewart Wallis talk

Stewart Wallis portrait

Stewart Wallis portraitOur final speaker (oh no!)

We’ve come up against environmental limits, and sailed straight through them. Will we generate our own big bang, or will we survive, or even thrive?

The impossible hamster. It doubles its size each week until puberty. If it doesn’t stop doubling in size, it will become a 9 billion tonne hamster at the end of the first year. Nature has limits, so why do governments think the economy can grow for ever?

Every year, we are using 1.5 planet’s worth of resources, and are on course for 3 planets by 2050. Of course we only have 1 planet, and in 1980 we were still managing to live on that 1 planet.

Arctic sea ice has decreased by 50% in area and 75% in volume. 15 of 25 of the major life-support systems are in decline, e.g. soil and pollination. Humans and other species are going to pay dearly for that. Previous mass extinctions weren’t caused by a single species, and took place over a minimum of 100,000. The current mass extinction is caused by humankind, and is happening over one lifetime.

Stewart doesn’t think we’ll have a big bang. Because he thinks there are no limits to human creativity. Technological changes will be necessary but not nearly sufficient. Population, consumption and inequality are major factors too. It’s not possible to raise consumption to the richest levels. But if we put the brake on our current economic model, we will cause all sorts of unemployment.

So we need a new economic model, where the goal is maximising well-being and justice within fair ecological limits. Well-being is about the quality of relationships, how much one feels valued and one’s work feels valued. Giving is the most important element of well-being, but is not valued by the current economic model. We need banks which are fair, stable and socially useful. We have a massive transformation to do there.

We need a revolution in our values, to the intrinsic values that Tom spoke of, seeing ourselves as stewards not consumers. We need to practise the same values at work and home, often very difficult.

We need to change what we measure, and therefore treasure. What gets measured gets done. GDP is like a speedometer, and is useless without oil gauges and other instruments, but even more importantly we need something to tell us whether we are going in the right direction. He proposes the Happy Planet Index, which measures happy life years (not just life expectancy) and ecological footprint, and we need to move to high happiness and low ecological footprint. Like Costa Rica, with higher well-being on quarter the GDP and quarter the resource intensity than the US.

We need to change and manage markets. They are human creations, and humans can control them. Markets make a good servant, a poor master and a disastrous religion. Markets are currently our religions. They don’t tell ecological truths. Purchaser power and consumer power are very unequal, and getting more unequal. So we need to change a lot of things, but we can do it.

Finally, we need to change the engine of the system. We should maximise returns not to £££ investment but to scarce natural resources. We need to have job creation as a goal, to see employees as assets and equity holders instead of as costs.

Here’s what everyone can do – evalute our work, our  lives and communities, what we buy, what we demand. The last is the most crucial. That’s why nef is working very hard with other organisations to create a movement for change, to bust myths, and to train collaborative leaders.

One personal story from Stewart’s years at Oxfam. During the Rwandan genocide, 170,000 refugees were moved to Uganda and Tanzania. Oxfam had exhausted its resources on providing clean water. But 1 million had also crossed into DR Congo, and had 50 miles to the nearest good water supply. Cholera set in, and it became clear that the UN forces weren’t going to manage. So Oxfam decided to risk going £5m into debt, and put out a massive appeal. They raised £25m in a very short time, and saved an estimated 70,000 lives.

Sometimes the impossible is possible if it’s a right cause and all sorts of people can come together.

More Information

The Impossible Hamster

new economics foundation (nef) website, and on Twitter

nef’s Paint a Fish campaign

Jo Royle talk

Jo Royle portrait

Jo Royle portraitIt’s July 2010, and Jo is sat in the Pacific on Plastiki, a boat built out of plastic bottles. As skipper she is responsible for the lives of 5 boys, and wondering whether they’d bitten off too much.

She is showing a video of the sea state – “big wave!” – and I’m feeling queasy just watching… and in awe of the seas, and of Jo and the crew for risking them.

Her dad left her in a dinghy at aged 7, and started a life-long love affair with the seas. Her journey towards Plastiki started on South Georgia. She took a moment by herself on the beach – it was stunningly beautiful, but then she saw the bright oranges, blues and greens of plastic.

Ever since she’s been questioning how the materials we produce and use daily impact the life of the sea. Plastic is the first man-made material that can’t be found in nature. And now we have pumped 8 billion tonnes into the sea, and nearly all of it is still there today – our geological legacy.

There are 11 gyres in the oceans, caused by currents and winds. And vast quantities of plastic can be found in the middle of these gyres. Sea birds choke on it, turtles are trapped in it. Tiny pieces of plastic sop up toxins, which get into the food chain.

We should stop thinking of plastic as throw-away, as it is almost, like diamonds, forever. We should consider the whole lifecycle of a material or product before we manufacture it.

Jo and the others in the Plastiki team thought that if they could build an up-cycled boat and sail it across the Pacific, then they could demonstrate other possibilities. The team collected 12,000 bottles from recycling centres to form the buoyancy. They also found SRPT, which could be used to bond the bottles together. It retains its properties in the reycling process, so could be used again to build another boat or a plane. It hadn’t been used before, so it was a big risk to sail out under the Golden Gate Bridge heading for Sydney.

The crew learnt a lot about the material: saw it expand and contract in the sun, and twist and reform in the waves. Plastiki was the first boat to be made of closed-loop plastic, and the project led to other inventions.

Jo has learnt to appreciate plastic’s material qualities. It’s our misunderstanding of the material that has led to the problems. Someone needs to take ownership. Big companies and curious minds need to get together to work out how to build closed-loop everyday products too.

More Information

The Plastiki – website, Facebook, Twitter

History of plastic and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch on Wikipedia

Jo on Twitter

Patrick Holden talk

Patrick Holden portrait

Patrick Holden portraitOur final session is about looking to the future, and feeding the future is a key issue.

Patrick wants to discuss food, so as has already been said, we’re all in. Farming has become more and more intensive, industrial and unsustainable… and unfit for purpose. His credentials for speaking draws on his decision, with 5 other possibly naive young people 40 years ago, to go back to the land in west Wales. And they put their organic principles into action.

Although the commune didn’t last, the farm did. They have had a herd of Ayrshire cows, and grew carrots for Cranks Restaurant and latterly for supermarkets and wheat milled on the farm. Now his son is turning the Ayrshire milk into cheese on the farm. So Patrick has been able to watch the land over a long period of time.

He has come up with a set of unifying principles which can be applied across scale, continents and climate: soil, health, diversity, resilience, culture and economics.

  • Over time it is possible not only to maintain but to build soil fertility.
  • Re health: pests, parasites and diseases reveal to us our management deficiencies. Instead of treating the symptoms of disease, we should be investigating the causes of health.
  • Diversity: if we farm with the grain of nature, it should be possible for biodiversity to work in harmony with respectable yields. The modern conservation movement mistakenly tries to protect nature against agriculture, and will always lose because big agriculture is the stronger force.
  • Resilience is about being able to weather sudden shocks. One way is to minimise exposure to fossil fuels.
  • The social, spiritual and cultural dimension is really important, otherwise we won’t be able to persuade young people back to farming.
  • The rest of the talk is about economics…

Forty years ago, the Common Agricultural Policy subsidised all sorts of unsustainable practices. So Patrick got involved in writing up organic and sustainable principles. Very valuable, but organic still only makes up 5% of the total market, not enough to break through into the mainstream. Why? Because the polluter isn’t paying, and the right practice isn’t getting rewarded.

True cost accounting is what’s needed. He talked with his mum a few weeks ago about Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s failure to persuade people to buy better-reared but more expensive chickens. If all the hidden costs were factored into the equation, the cheap bird wouldn’t be cheap at all. His mum asked Patrick what was the real price of the cheap chicken… He didn’t know, but he is on the case, and is meeting soon with a group of experts to understand what all the externalities are, put a price on them, and work towards policy making the polluter pay.

What are we going to do in the meantime to tackle big agriculture not in the public interest? We should change our buying criteria for staple foods. Go into your supermarket (not too often!) and only buy your staple foods which are local, regional or at least national, and whose story of production is known and certified sustainable. It will be difficult, but don’t give up. Go to the customer services desk, and ask them to change their offering. And if they don’t, take your custom elsewhere. If everyone here changes their actions, then they will encourage others, become scaled up, and we will have taken a final step in creating a much more sustainable food system. Thank you.

More Information

Sustainable Food Trust

The Prince of Wales’ International Sustainability Unit

Foresight report into “The Future of Food and Farming”

Patrick’s Do Lecture on “Why local is the answer”

Kester Brewin talk

Kester Brewin portrait

Kester Brewin portraitHis son kept getting invited to pirate parties, but what to wear? Stereotypical eye patch, or should it be an AK47 and inflatable boat, or a basket of dodgy DVDs?

Pirates are everywhere, on merchandise from baby bottles to ties. But why are they so popular? Because his son never got invited to any ‘aggravated robbery’ parties.

In the golden age of piracy, England, France and the other colonial powers were trying to enclose lands and sea. This involved ships, and the engines of the ships were the sailors. But the sailors were brutally treated. To be a sailor in the Navy was to be close to death, and a sailor’s death was marked in the ship’s log as a skull and crossbones. Sailors turned to piracy because they were fed up with brutal treatment. And the life of pirates was much better, equal and empowered.

Pirates were thieves, but then so was everyone else. So pirates were not hated because they stole, but for refusing to pass on the stolen goods to the King and for refusing to be treated as scum. Moving to piracy is towards emancipation and freedom.

Whenever the resources of the many are enclosed for the benefits of the few, pirates rise up. The BBC had a monopoly on radio, but broadcast only 1 hour of pop a week… leading to  Radio Caroline, which gave music back to the people.

By ignoring British copyright law, Benjamin Franklin boasted that the common person had better access to books and was better educated than the rich of other countries. Under copyright law, the creator is provided with a period of private benefits. But this should be followed by a period of opening up, whereby the public can also get the benefits. Modern society is being more and more skewed to private gain.

We are becoming more and more privatised, but are not getting happier. In the tradition of beating the bounds, the people walked round the common land and beat down any fences that prevented access. This became explosively political during Enclosure Acts. Societies that share more nowadays are better places to live.

The question Kester wants to leave with us is: What can you do to turn the agenda away from purely private gain back towards public benefit? We need a new community of pirates committed to defending the commons.

One thing you can’t do is pirate a TED or TEDx talk, because they are ideas worth sharing, under a Creative Commons Licence. So put down your iPads and put on your eye patches!

More Information

The Commons on Wikipedia, and Creative Commons licences

Kester’s website, and on Twitter