Guest Blog – Finding Hope Closer To Home

TEDxExeter was my first time at a TEDx event and it was everything that I had expected: inspirational people sharing stories and ideas to make you rethink your point of view. Lots of these stories were from around the world, a chance to hear first hand from people who are affected by the refugee crisis, radicalism and more. However, for me the talk that stood out was one that was a little closer to home – Toby and Jo Gorniak, a couple from Plymouth who, through Hip Hop dance, were changing the lives of young people.

The words of the poem that accompanied the performance really touched me because it used the real words of young people they’d worked with. They talked about feeling invisible, confused and the need to just to be loved.

I grew up with children just like those they talked about: some of my friends were children whose home lives were far from perfect. They were moved from home to home and were surrounded by alcohol, drugs, anger and self harm, with parents so stretched mentally and financially that there wasn’t much room left.

I was lucky, that despite a tough situation, my parents gave me hope and permission to dream. The message in my family was always: if you worked hard you could make it. But for some they were not so lucky. They accepted that this was how it was and I saw close friends’ lives take a more destructive journey.

So beyond the dancing and their background, seeing how Toby and Jo Gorniak had found a way of giving children a purpose and a chance for their voice to be heard, truly does fill me with hope.

TEDxExeter is all about being inspired, sharing new ideas and discussing how we can make a positive impact on our local communities. At Stephens Scown we like to keep our eyes, ears and minds open to new ideas and we have gained so much from our involvement in TEDxExeter. We are proud to be sponsors for the 3rd year.

Blog written by Kerry England, Marketing Executive, Stephens Scown

Guest Blog: Kester Brewin on HOPE

Kester Brewin will be speaking at our forthcoming TEDxExeter event in April. He is an alumnus of TEDxExeter 2013, where he spoke brilliantly about “Mutiny!”.

 

A couple of weeks ago I was having dinner with an aunt, who happens also to be one of the wisest people I know. We were chewing over some thing I’d raised, and she placed her wine glass on the table, and pondered for a moment and said, “you know, it gave me great solace when I was finally able to admit to myself that I don’t live in my first-choice world.” Things don’t always work out. Life is not always what we have wanted it to be. There are disappointments and wounds.

With TEDx looming I have been thinking a lot about our theme, hope, and wondering if it is simply this: that even though we do not live in our first-choice world, we hold on to the idea that our world can still be changed. We can still be changed. Our politics can still be changed. Our community, our nation, our climate. Hope is, by definition, about the future. It is a belief that the world that is yet to come is not yet decided, and can still yet be moulded.

To put it mathematically (a professional habit – apologies) hope is a vector: it has to have direction. When we hope, we look ahead along a particular line. The question that this prompts is what engine is driving that hope. What force is making that change we want to see in the world?

For many years my hope was located in my religious beliefs. In any given situation, my hope was that God would sort it out, and it took me a long time to realise that this was because I was afraid of taking action myself. By pushing hope into the ineffable, I was able to abdicate responsibility for the world that I lived in. If it was imperfect it wasn’t my fault; if it wasn’t made better it wasn’t God’s will. In any case, my final hope was in heaven, a cast-iron ‘first-choice’ world that I would topple into once I’d fallen into my grave. Job done.

Amusing as this religious hope might seem, it’s far more common than we might think. Putting your hope in a ‘big other’ – in some big system above us that we trust is in control and will sort everything out in the end – is how many people live out their politics. We don’t need to act in our communities, because the government will do it for us. Others have a similarly religious view of technology: their hope located in the divine intelligence of Google or Bill Gates to deal with disease and poverty and unemployment. Climate crisis? Haven’t we got an app for that?

The maxim attributed to Gandhi – “be the change you want to see in the world” – is really about the adjusting the vectors of your hope. Once we see that the ‘big other’ largely has other ideas about what the world should look like, we have to redirect our hope away from the vertical – God, the political class, ‘high’ technology’ – and to the horizontal. Still confident that our world can be transformed, we get off our knees and backsides and commit to working with others to do something about it.

Carrie Clarke – Confessions

The TEDxExeter launch party 2017 welcomed previous TED speakers Carrie Clarke and Abbie McGregor to share their experience of preparing for and speaking at TEDxExeter, and the impact that it has had. Here we share their talks, including the anxiety, optimism and transformational power that is TEDxExeter.

Carrie Clarke is a pioneer in creating environments that heal. Her work combining art, health and dementia care promotes finding new ways to create more sustainable, respectful, meaningful and engaging ways of being with people with dementia. Her TEDxExeter talk – Sparking Connections, can be viewed by clicking the image below:

Sparking Connections – Ways to Find Beauty, Joy and Meaning in Dementia
Sparking Connections – Ways to Find Beauty, Joy and Meaning in Dementia

Carrie Clarke

I’d like to start with two confessions…

Back in the Autumn of 2012, when Claire first came to see me to discuss the possibility of speaking at a TED event in Exeter, I had never heard of TED talks. In my naivety, I thought that she was simply asking me to give a talk about dementia, and that I could roll out an existing power point for the occasion! When the realisation dawned on me, I tried suggesting to Claire that I had colleagues who would be much better at this sort of thing…but she was having none of it!

Confession number two – public speaking has always been one of my biggest fears. How was I to reconcile this with the enormity of the task of preparing, let alone delivering a TED talk?

Looking back, I think there were several key ingredients: Firstly, Claire and the TED team took a massive leap of faith in inviting me to be a speaker. Secondly, they provided support and encouragement with unfailing optimism through the months of preparation. And thirdly, they believed that the passion I have for exploring creative and compassionate ways of working with people with dementia would give me the belief in myself to share this more widely.

The day itself passed in a blur, fuelled by the incredible energy and buzz of everyone present. I still find it hard to believe that I actually gave a TED talk, but 4 years later, I am so grateful and proud to have been given that opportunity. Now, whenever I’m asked to speak on the subject of dementia, I always tell myself that if I could speak in front of 500 people, whilst being filmed on the red circle under the spotlight, then I can do anything!

Speaking at TEDxExeter was rather like throwing a pebble into water; the ripples continue to spread and reach new and unexpected shores. Connections made at TEDxExeter have resulted in professionally-led photography workshops for patients at the hospital, public exhibitions, print-making sessions which have filled the hospital with witty and colourful images, and a strong collaborative relationship with our hosts tonight – RAMM.

RAMM has taken its fantastic, award-winning ‘Living Each Season’ programme beyond its traditional boundaries to the hospital, creating in effect a museum without walls. This collaborative project was a recent runner-up in the national Alzheimer’s Society Awards. Within my NHS Trust, I regularly teach a module on person-centred dementia-care to healthcare assistants, whatever area of practice they may be going into. And so the ripples continue to spread…

My interest in and passion for exploring creative ways of accompanying people on their difficult journeys with dementia has been given credibility by association with TEDxExeter. Because most people, unlike me back in 2012, know about TED talks, and they remain a go to place for inspiration and motivation.

Building on this, in 2015 I began a clinical academic Masters programme in Psycho-Social Studies at UWE in Bristol, which I hope to complete this summer. This has been a wonderful opportunity to deepen my understanding of the complexity of dementia, and contribute to the evidence-base for effective non-pharmacological interventions. Only this morning I was here at the museum, using an innovative participatory research method to gather the views of people living with dementia, whose voices are so hard to capture using traditional research methods.

Research completed last year has been accepted for publication, and I’ll also be presenting this at the First International Conference on Arts & Dementia Research at the Institute of Public Health in London in March. I’m now seeking funding to begin a PhD later this year, which will continue to explore ways towards a more compassionate, creative and cultural model of care for people living with dementia.

Although it may be a cliché, I would like to thank Claire and the team for believing in me. And to all those of you working hard to prepare for your 2017 TEDxExeter talks, I’d like to wish you well; be brave, be passionate and help create hope for a more compassionate and connected world.

Carrie Clarke 19th January 2017

Remember to DREAM

Abbie McGregor: Remember to DREAMAbbie McGregor is an inspiration for students at Exeter College. In 2016 she won the Exeter College TEDxExeter competition to give a talk at TEDxExeter 2016. In her talk ‘Remember to DREAM’, Abbie spoke passionately about inspiring hope and vision in young people, and doing away with dispassionate and limited SMART targets!

Now she has written a guest blog post about how her experience has given her HOPE.

 

Once upon a time, a little girl was shown a TED talk. It set her on a path not known to many. It sounds like a fairy tale because cheesily enough, my experience of TEDxExeter really was, magical.

When I was about 12, and just starting secondary school, I had an inspiring teacher whose favourite thing was a TED talk. As a class, we would watch them for everything we studied. The TED speakers taught us to be motivated, confident and to care about everything. So, when the opportunity came along for someone from Exeter college to give one, I knew there was only one way I could do that teacher justice.

It’s something that everyone wants to talk about. I meet people at college and they know that I’m the girl who gave a TEDx talk. I receive a barrage of questions about how it went, what I said, what happened after. And those are the three things I want to speak to you about today.

As to how it went, I’m standing here now because I won that internal competition to give a TEDx talk and now, a year on I’m starting to give advice to many others having that same shot, and nothing is more inspiring than hearing the buzz about the opportunity to really be taken seriously.

The recognition of a 17-year old’s voice is something many people my age feel they do not and cannot have, and therefore this opportunity is astounding. So I couldn’t be more thankful to Martin and Exeter College for it.

Following this, I was given so much help by Claire and Cathy. My speech went from strength to strength which I simply couldn’t have done without them. Their experience is evident the first time you speak to them, but even more so in the outcome of each of the speeches and the quality of TEDxExeter talks.

And then I stood up on that stage, and spoke for five whole minutes and I said it all. I repeated the messages that my teacher had taught me of how to make a better future. A future of children who are full of dreams, hope, passion, motivation, ambition, dedication, energy and a want to make something happen – much like I really wanted to take away SMART targets from the system.  

For many people that’s where they think the journey ends. It gets uploaded a few months later and people watch it online, 1,700 have watched mine to be exact. But that really isn’t it. This is what happened after.

A week later, I had an email from a primary school, another from my own college and another from the city council, all asking for me to come and give my talk again in another context. And so I did. I gave my speech at the city council applying it to their devolution programme and how Exeter really is becoming a city of the future.

And then, I took the talk down to primary level and spoke to children about how they really are the future. Finally, the talk I gave that impacted me most was at my own college. In September, I gave my talk to the entire A-level cohort, alongside two other distinguished speakers. At the end I was stormed by students. They told me how good it was to hear ‘one of own’ telling them to go out and make things happen. In another girl’s words, ‘I was my own example of taking an opportunity’.

We are often called the troublesome teens, slightly rowdy, lazy, always tired, often late, but all my peers wanted was something to believe in, a dream or in the words of this launch –  they just needed a bit of hope.

Abbie McGregor, 19th January 2017

On HOPE…

Thank you to Martin Thompson for this guest blog, which is adapted from a post he wrote for Advent on his own blog. Martin teaches RE at Uffculme School. He is a big supporter of TEDxExeter in his work, bringing pupils to the events and using videos in the classroom. In the early years, when the event was in the school holidays, he was a volunteer with a view from the wings of the Northcott.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller

 

Hope.

I wonder what comes to mind when you hear that word?

Dreams?

Aspirations?

A desire for something to change?

Expectation?

There’s been enough going on in our world recently to make even the most optimistic progressive want to give up. We’ve even taken to criticising those of us who have suggested that things may not be as bad as we at first think, that this may be a time of challenge, but also of great opportunity.

Hope appears diminished, besmirched somehow…an unattainable wisp of a thing. Our world is a mess, with little to suggest that there’s any way out. To say we ‘hope’ sounds like an unattainable expression of an idea, not any concrete reality.

We are crushed. Hope is gone.

Sometimes the English language simplifies concepts that deserve much more interesting definitions. A great example of this is the word ‘love’ – which could be used to describe desire for our partner, our interest in an author or a football team…but in Greek there are at least four different words for love – agape, philos, eros, storge… each reflecting a slightly different dimension of the same thing.

It could be helpful to explore whether there might be a better way to think about hope – perhaps looking at other understandings, other dimensions that help us glimpse something different.

For example, the Greek word that we translate as ‘hope’ – elpis – might better be translated as ‘expectant’. A sense that something is coming, something is happening. Not an empty, dreamy thing, but a visceral, tangible expression of denial that the way things are is the way things have to be.

Another helpful example might be the Latin version of the word spero, which is etymologically related to the word spiro, ‘to breathe’. It’s almost as if they’re saying to hope is to breathe, or vice versa, to breathe is to hope.

If we breathe, we have hope. If we have hope, we keep breathing.

A Latin phrase based on the works of Theocritus and Cicero echoing this idea says simply this:

Dum spiro spero…

‘While I breathe, I hope…’

Just take that in for a moment.

We breathe, we hope.

We are hope.

Our world is a mess, but we are bearers of that which has the potential to transform all that appears dark into light – hope.

We must never give up our expectation, our breath. To do so would be to stop breathing, to expire.

To die.

Dum spiro spero…

Our world is changing for ever. Something is coming, something real. But what that ‘something’ is depends on us and how it impacts us is our choice.

Our choice is to shape that change, to engage with it and bring ‘hope’ to those who feel they have nothing to live for other than hate of the ‘other’ – or to give up and to allow the darkness to overwhelm us.

Our choice is to be expectant that our efforts can and will counter those of forces who want to see us divided and in conflict – or to stand by and allow event greater horrors to emerge.

Our choice is love over fear.

We live or die by our choices. They cost us and those around us dearly every single day.

Choosing not to act, not to hope isn’t a neutral place to be. Too much is at stake here. Too many lives. We choose acceptance over resistance.

If we stop believing we stop hoping. If we stop hoping, we stop breathing.

I choose to believe.

I choose hope.

I choose to breathe.

#alwayshope

Reasons to be Cheerful

I subscribe to GRIN. That is to say… Every Monday to Friday, I get a bulletin from the Grants Resources Information News, which focuses on one grant scheme or related resource. Every alternate Friday it features a blog by TED fan and philanthropy advisor Emma Beeston. I thought today’s tied in nicely with the theme of TEDxExeter 2017, which we have just announced: HOPE. Emma was happy for us to feature it as a guest blog.

Clare Bryden, TEDxExeter Storyteller

 

Depending how you get your news, it can easily feel that we are living in gloomy and uncertain times. So, as the evenings get darker, it is important to keep looking for the positives that are all around us.

Not to delude ourselves (as my teenage son puts it when I endeavour to be cheerful, “life is not all rainbows and butterflies”) but to give us hope that positive change is possible. These are the reasons to be cheerful that I have gathered over the past few weeks and that give me cause for optimism: 

  • I attended a training session for small charities supporting refugees across the SW, which was co-hosted by Unbound and Lloyds Bank Foundation. I was very impressed by the fact that, despite the considerable difficulties they face to deliver vital front line services, all the charity leaders were also working to achieve systemic change. And one of the advocacy trainers reminded us all that the campaign to abolish the slave trade was started by just 12 people coming together.
  • The Funding Network held a live crowdfunding event in Bristol. The pitches were excellent – getting your case for support across in six minutes is no mean feat – and over £25k was raised for the five good causes. These were all small organisations where this level of funding, and the recognition, will make a big difference. But what struck me was the positive energy in the room created by people coming together and wanting to help.
  • I got to visit Exeter CoLab as they hosted the latest meeting of the Funding SW funders forum. This is such a good example of bringing services together to tackle social issues. I liked the focus on relationships, with those in difficulty telling their story just once and then being introduced to the individuals who can help them, rather than being constantly referred from one organisation after the next.
  • I have started using 360Giving website. After so many years of talking about data sharing and transparency, it is fantastic to have this open resource where you can see who has given grants to who. Do take a look, and if you are a grant-maker, add your data.

The millennials are coming and they are going to change things. I have been reading lots of research showing how millennials want to combine working with doing good. And this includes their activity in philanthropy and investment (e.g. a World Economic Forum study surveyed 5,000 millennials in 18 different countries and found that their overall top priority for any business should be “to improve society.”). Here is one article with some examples of what the next generation are up to.

And these are just some examples.  I have also visited and read about lots of other excellent charities who are working really hard to bring about positive social change. Thanks to all of them for giving me hope for our collective future.

Out and about with Frosty

Some of the speakers at TEDxExeter 2016 very kindly gave more of their time during their visits to Exeter. Anna Frost called in at a number of schools, the City Council, and went for a short (for her) outing with some local runners. Her whistle-stop tour was arranged by Tobit Emmens, member of the TEDxExeter production team, and speaker at TEDxExeter 2013. He has written a guest blog for us.

 

The children, all 400 of them, as well as the teachers, drew a collective breath when Anna Frost told them how long it took to run the Hardrock100, one of the hardest ultra marathons in the world. 27 hours, two sun rises and lots and lots of food. Anna, who many in the sport know as Frosty, was at St Michael’s Primary Academy, Heavitree, to talk to the children about being curious (what was over the next mountain?), adventurous and brave.

The children were enthralled, amazed and inspired. One pupil said to me: “it was so inspiring to meet a real life superhero”. After assembly, Frosty led an activity session for members of the school running club, with relay races, wheelbarrow races and a lesson on how to cure a stitch. Iain Randall, deputy head of St Michael’s, was delighted that Frosty was able to visit: “we often talk to the children about people who do amazing things and how they can act as role models, but to have one visit and work with the children was brilliant”.

After St Michael’s, Frosty visited St Luke’s Science and Sports College. There she met more primary school children from across the city on a sports Gifted and Talented programme. The children had been learning about pacing, and endurance. They were delighted to meet and listen to Frosty, who gave a short talk on how she started running, the ups and downs and the adventures she has had. This was followed by a Q&A session, and then it was outside for an activity session: a warm up and ‘long run’ around the field to put some learning into action.

Matt Upston, the College Sports Coordinator said: “having athlete role models come in and talk to the Gifted and Talented students can really inspire students to greatness. Frosty was fantastic working with the students and gave them a real insight on what it was like to be a professional athlete and the highlights and lowlights of a career on the road. Anna’s talk was engaging and inspirational to both the students and staff!”

In the afternoon, it was the turn of grown ups! A small group of local runners met at the Four Firs carpark, for a 15 mile run on Woodbury Common. For the local runners who took part, it was fantastic opportunity to run and quiz Frosty on everything from what she eats, how she trains, how she prepares for an ultra marathon, what it’s like to be a professional athlete, why she doesn’t use GPS activity tracking, the role social media has in professional sport, and what she plans on doing next.

Anna also met with representatives of Exeter City Council’s rugby world cup legacy team. Frosty gave some valuable insights on some of the challenges of bringing professional athletes into mentoring programmes.

Guest blog: 11 things I wish I knew before attending my first ever TEDx

This guest blog was very kindly contributed by Juanita Wheeler, the Licensee of TEDxSouthBank in Brisbane, Australia. You can find out more on TEDxSouthBank’s website and Facebook page.

 

Over the last four years I have been involved with TEDxSouthBank in a variety of capacities. In my first year I was a participant in the audience. The second year I was an advocate (a volunteer dedicated to supporting new participants immerse themselves in the TEDx community). In 2014 I was a speaker, and most recently I have become the Licensee (organiser).

Being involved at different levels, in different capacities has taught me many things. These are the top 11 things I wish I knew before attending my first ever TEDx event.

1. Ditch any preconceived notions

There is a world of difference between watching the (inspiring, funny, heart-wrenching, empowering) TED talks online and attending a TEDx in person. Speakers who bring their A-game are absolutely captivating. They take you on a journey into the world as they experience it, providing you come prepared to travel. You will laugh when they laugh, cry when they cry. You will feel the high of their highs and the low of their lows. If you have notions of coming to passively watch a series of talks being delivered, throw that out the window. Come prepared to be taken on a journey, but free of preconceptions about what that journey might entail.

2. Don’t expect instant gratification

Attending a TEDx event can change your life. It changed mine. But it wasn’t instantaneous. It didn’t happen that day. Don’t come expecting that by 5pm your new life plan will be in place (don’t laugh, I’ve heard people say it). It is far more likely you will leave exhausted with a complicated mixture of emotions, and experiencing what I call ‘TEDx brain whiplash’. Over the course of a TEDx line-up you will likely be confronted by talks highlighting the best and worst of human attitudes and behaviours, the greatest good and the worst evil. You will see the heights to which human dedication and perseverance can climb, and the massive challenges that are still confronting humanity, waiting to be tackled. For some the experience is overwhelming and it can take a few days, weeks or even months to process it all and decide on a course of action. 

3. Leave isolating modern social norms at home

Even the most extroverted of us has become conditioned to refrain from striking up a conversation with a total stranger in a coffee queue. We would certainly never walk up and ask someone (pragmatically or existentially) why they are here and how they are looking to change the world. Leave this societal conditioning at home before you set out, because these are completely appropriate (even expected) behaviours at a TEDx event.

When you see someone alone, perhaps checking their phone (in earnest or because they are trying to hide their awkward aloneness), smile, walk over and strike up a conversation or else beckon them over with a welcoming wave. Time at TEDx is precious. The connections you make invaluable. Don’t waste a minute of it being the wallflower or digitally isolated modern human.

4. Have a quick contact handover tool

And speaking of connections, whether you’re attending a boutique, 300 participant TEDx event or one with a crowd of over 1000, there will rarely be enough time to connect with everyone you want to. Chances are you will be 30 seconds into meeting someone who you suddenly discover might be a perfect partner in your plans to change the world, when you are called back into formal talk sessions. Before they disappear into a sea of people you need to be able to give them your contact details quickly. Whether it is a business card or an electronic contact app you need something in place to handover your details quickly that doesn’t require you both to be on the same social media platform.

5. Embrace TEDx as a community not an event

When I left home to attend my first ever TEDx event I thought I was going to a single day event. I could not have been more wrong. Beyond the in-person event, an amazing online presence makes each independent TEDx a potential 365-day community. It allows connections made on the day to flourish and continue, and it provides a chance to connect with people you missed on the day, as well as alumni from previous years.

Members of a specific TEDx community can follow each other’s progress and support each other’s endeavours. Like any community you get back what you put in, but given the passionate, motivated and dedicated collection of people who form independent TEDx communities throughout the world, this is potentially the most supportive and well-connected community you will ever be a part of. So join the community, and engage online in the lead up to and beyond the in-person event. 

6. Be confident

If you are a passionate consumer of TED and TEDx Talks, if you are someone who is inspired by the ideas contained within them and are looking for, or currently developing your own idea to challenge the status quo and make the world better in your own small or large way, then you are precisely the type of person who should be attending a TEDx event.

So when you are in that room, engage with other participants and speakers with confidence. Your ideas, the contributions you have made to your chosen community to date, or the potential contributions you are poised to make are what TEDx events are all about. You are in that room for a purpose.

7. Earn it

We all know TED’s famous tagline: Ideas worth spreading. I have come to learn that the people who gain the most from the TEDx experience are those who appreciate the opportunity they have been given, and pay it forward by literally spreading the ideas they experience on the day throughout their own communities: through conversations, through social media, through actions.

Many TEDx events could sell out their tickets many times over, and as one attendee put it to me so eloquently: “I need to spread each of these ideas further and stronger than the other four people who could have been in my seat. That is how I earn it.”

8. Speakers are happy to discuss their ideas

Obviously every speaker is a unique individual, but it has been my experience that TEDx speakers are very happy to discuss their talks, which they have likely been working on for months, and which reflect an idea they are truly passionate about. So don’t be shy about approaching them in-between sessions, just be respectful and polite. (Please note speakers may not be keen to chat in the 30 minutes leading up to the delivery of their potentially-once-in-a-lifetime-TEDx talk, or to talk about something they did 10 years ago which has no relevance to the topic of their TED Talk.)

9. Don’t monopolise the speaker’s time

When you’ve been inspired by a speaker, and have summoned the (unnecessary) courage to go and speak to them, it is all too easy to fall into an in depth conversation to the extent you cross an invisible line and become that person monopolising their time. I know because I have been that person. If you are lucky you look around just in time to realise there are 20+ people circling you and the speaker, waiting for you to stop speaking long enough so they can jump into the conversation. If you aren’t lucky you remain completely oblivious and will probably head home never knowing you were that person (but everyone else will).

So, engage in conversations with speakers passionately, but be mindful of others wanting some of the speaker’s time as well. (NB: I would like to apologise to the 20+ people waiting to speak to Paul Verhoeven at TEDxSouthBankWomen 2013. I hope I pulled out in time for you to soak up some of his genius for yourselves.)

A great tip if you are looking to break into a group conversation with a speaker is to politely interject and ask the speaker if they would like a drink.  A young man did this very thing with me in 2014, returned promptly with a soft drink (for which I was incredibly grateful), and seamlessly became part of the group conversation. Well played.

10. The talks aren’t the best bit

People often look at me sceptically when I tell them that the talks aren’t the best bit about attending a TEDx event. Don’t get me wrong, the talks are outstanding, and nothing quite compares to the electricity in the room as you experience compelling oratory first hand. Like the moment when you and the person sitting next to you are both holding your breath, or wiping aside a tear at the same time.

But it is not just the talks. It is a day filled with the forging of meaningful connections with people who share a passion and dedication to making the world good. Not the sofa sitters of the world, but the people who make things happen.

11. Do not waste it

This last tip is probably the most important. And though I am loathe to come across all Dead Poets Society, carpe diem, seize the day evangelical, it must be said that if you have managed to secure a ticket to attend a TEDx event you have been given a chance to take a moment and rethink the world and your role in it. Do not waste it.

Guest blog: TEDx and Resurgence

Soil, Soul and Society

Satish Kumar was our very first speaker at our very first TEDxExeter in 2012. He has kindly written a guest blog for us at the start of Resurgence magazine‘s 50th anniversary year.

 

It was my honour to give one of the first TEDxExeter lectures on Soil, Soul & Society. I have been editing Resurgence magazine for the past 42 years, although Resurgence has been in publication for the past 50 years. It is heartening that Resurgence has been exploring new ideas about sustainability, holistic science, spirituality and creativity and, similar to TEDTalks, Resurgence is also a forum for ideas and actions.

In the wake of the Paris Climate Change Conference the world needs actions. Climate change is only a symptom of our current human predicament, we have to look deep to find the causes of climate change. Of course it is easy to say that fossil fuel is the cause and therefore shifting to renewable energy will solve the problem. However, in my view we have to look deeper into the cause of climate change. We have to ask why we have become so dependent on fossil fuel and why we have an ever increasing demand for it?

It is because we have come to believe that economic growth is the ultimate goal of human life. This belief needs to be questioned. Of course, economy has a place but it needs to be kept in its place. All human beings have a right to a good quality of life which includes sufficient supply of food, clothes, housing, medicine and transportation but these needs have to be met within the limits of planet Earth which is finite. The finite planet cannot afford an infinite economic growth and therefore we have to shift our focus from the economic growth to growth in wellbeing and this shift is the focus of Resurgence.

Together with Resurgence, The Ecologist magazine was also a champion of environmental sustainability and in 2012 Resurgence and The Ecologist came together to be published as one magazine as Resurgence & Ecologist.

This year we will be celebrating the 50th anniversary of Resurgence with an event at Worcester College, Oxford from 22-25 September. Heads of Friends of the Earth, Green Peace, WWF, Green Party, Soil Association, Oxfam, Wildlife Trusts and Forum of the Future along with many movers and shakers, poets, artists, activists and entrepreneurs will be joining us in the celebration.

Resurgence & Ecologist is published six times a year, if you would like to receive a complimentary pdf version (please click here). Although the magazine is available on line it is also available in print – it is so nice to hold an actual copy in your hand and flick through the pages and glance over the beautiful images. You can request a free sample of print version by writing to Jeanette Gill, Rocksea Farmhouse, St Maybyn, Bodmin, Cornwall PL30 3BR.

Satish Kumar
Editor-in-Chief, Resurgence & Ecologist magazine
and author of No Destination