Julian's blog: TED session 11: The Tiny Blue Dot

July 17th, 2010
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Good news – Caroline’s superb hurdy-gurdy music (from TED-U) is now linked on the TED blog here. Get some!

This session is about the planet.

 

Johan Rockström, Sustainability expert
There are nine ‘planetary boundaries’ and we have already transgressed three of them (climate change, nitrogen, species extinction). We are squeezing the planet in four dimensions at once: human growth, climate, ecosystems and the element of surprise. Slowing growth is not going to be enough: we are going to have to bend the curves downwards. A shocking stat: 25% of rivers now don’t reach the ocean because we are taking the water.

 

Jason Clay, Market transformer
Great quote: “You can’t wake a person who’e pretending to be asleep.” Population x consumption must = planetary resources, and it does not. The average American consumers 43x as much as the average African. the average European cat has a bigger environmental footprint than the average African. The key to cutting our footprint is trade. 100 companies control 25% of the trade so it’s realistic to change their behaviour to using sustainable resources. 40 have signed up to this already, 40 more are about to. This make sustainability a  pre-competitive issue – asking consumers to choose green will just not work.

 

Rachel Sussman, Artist and photographer
Rachel photographs the world’s oldest living things. A 7,000 year old tree in Japan; clone aspen that’s 80,000 years old; Siberian actinobacteria that are 600,000 years old. Fascinating.

 

Rachel Armstrong, Senior TED Fellow
We can produce technology that produces positive outputs instead of waste products – for example buildings that absorb CO2.

 

Ze Frank, Humourist and web artist
A brilliant and very funny talk as always – I loved the mashups/community created music he makes. 

 

Dimitar Sasselov, Astronomer (and hear my AudioBoo interview with him here)
The Kepler telescope has just gone into orbit and Dimitar gives us a sneak preview of the results. They have found more than 140 Earth-sized planets already, so the conclusion is that our galaxy is rich in them – probably 100 million in total. Within a year we’ll have identified Earth-type planets. The other end of the bridge is synthetic biology on Earth. 

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