Posts Tagged ‘ted’

“Collaboration is the stuff of growth.” ~ Sir Ken Robinson

Anyone concerned about the future of the world should spend time considering how we educate our children. I have friends who have children in different educational programs – public schools, private schools, Montessori programs, home schools, international schools. religious schools and so on and I know that they would all agree on at least one thing: education is important.

I came across this presentation by Sir Ken Robinson, a remarkable presenter I wrote about months ago in my post called “Bring on the Learning Revolution.” This lecture is well worth the next eleven minutes of your day:

I’ve long felt that education should be more about drawing out the inherent value, talents, radiance, etc. from children than it should be about stuffing them full of facts and figures that will hopefully be useful at some later date. Individuality creative expression suffers in our current system, and this unnatural homogenization is resulting in a pressure that our youth are increasingly incapable of bearing and navigating.

It appears that the presentation stops before you hear Sir Robinson’s suggestions as to how we might best revitalize education in this new era, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the matter!


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The other day someone mentioned to me that America’s health crisis could be largely resolved if people would avoid everything in the middle of the grocery store and only buy items currently on the outer walls.

I had to think about the statement for a moment, but once the picture of the last grocery store I visited filled the screen in my mind it occurred to me that he was on to something. Perishables – vegetables, fruit, juices, milk, eggs, fresh meats, fresh breads and so on – line the perimeter of just about every big-box grocery store. The middle of the store, conversely, showcases heavily processed, sugared, salted, chemically-enhanced conveniently packaged whole and fresh food substitutes.

My brother-in-law and I were chatting the other day about how few people have a chance to see their food in its original, live state before it is butchered, harvested or processed. Chickens to most children nowadays are slabs of clean, skin-free meat enclosed in styrofoam and shrink-wrap. Cows, pigs, lamb and fish suffer the same misunderstanding. There is hardly any connection between the original plant or animal and its eventual consumer anymore.

In my mind this creates a situation where healthy food choices are more difficult to make. Everything in the grocery store is put on equal footing, the primary difference typically has little to do with the item’s provenance and everything to do with its price to the average consumer. Fair enough, but I have to wonder if we are missing something by accepting the “big-box” distribution system which is backed by industrial agriculture as the only possible solution.

I came across a courageous talk given by an 11 year old, Birke Baehr, at the recently held TEDxNextGenerationAsheville. Sometimes children put it best, despite their lack of life experience.

Wasn’t that wonderful? Don’t you love the fact that he wants to be an organic farmer when he grows up? I wish Birke well. What an inspiring story.

Is our present system sustainable? It’s hard to see how it could be. If we are to escape from the downward spiral we are presently on relative to the health of our nation, we need to take Birke’s advice and learn about ways to get back in touch with real, wholesome and nourishing food. Believe me, there’s more to it than getting sufficient macronutrients.

I’d love to hear what resources you use to help you make healthy food choices as well as any success stories you’ve come across…

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What exactly is the ocean? What is the sea? The answer isn’t something you’ll find in a book. ┬áTo really know what the ocean is, you’ll have to see it for yourself. You’ll have to hear it. And taste it. You’ll have to feel it’s power. I remember the first major storm I witnessed first hand, while living in Southern California. The sound, the smells, the feeling were electric and fostered in me a deep and lasting respect for the prowess of our great oceans.

It never ceases to amaze me that we spend so little time investigating our precious oceans. The oceans compose nearly 73% of the earths total surface area, yet we know more about planets that orbit millions of miles away from us than we do the oceans that surround us, here at home.

Ocean explorer Robert Ballard, the deep sea adventurer who discovered the Titanic and who turned many of the scientific community’s former assumptions on their head, opened my eyes to a pressing need in his recent TED presentation. When you have a moment, watch it here:

Our oceans are a valuable resource, worthy of respect and exploration. It is my great hope that future generations come to understand its wonders, its riches and its role in the maintenance of life on earth as we know it.

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I believe that supporting the entrepreneurial spirit is the key to a brighter future for the United States. If many of the most successful people in business these days – industry titans like Bill Gates, Michael Dell and Facebook whiz Mark Zuckerberg – dropped out of school to implement their dreams, wouldn’t we would be wise to ask ourselves how our schools could adapt to be more successful at identifying and fostering the development of the entrepreneurial spirit in our youth?

Many have argued that our educational system does not favor the entrepreneurially-inclined. Some are even convinced that entrepreneurship cannot be taught. I am inclined agree with the former and disagree with the latter. Entrepreneurship can be nurtured from a very young age and developed by parents armed with the necessary tools and through an intelligently-designed program of personalized scholastic training.

Entrepreneurs are people who recognize societal needs and who have the passion to provide innovative solutions. Entrepreneurs are people who inspire people to greatness, with the goal of making the world a better place. Entrepreneurs are generally speaking people who care deeply about people.

Rarely have I met a kid who did not have big dreams and great ideas. Perhaps you are or were one of them?

Cameron Herold was an entrepreneur from a very young age. Fortunately for Cameron, his parents found ways to encourage the entrepreneurial spirit in him, even as he was failing out of school. Cameron has a unique and common sense perspective on how to cultivate the entrepreneurial spirit in anyone of any age. If you are a parent looking for ways to give your children a leg up, an entrepreneur looking for inspiration or simply interested in hearing more about what makes entrepreneurs tick, I highly recommend that you take 20 minutes to listen to his talk, given at TEDxEdmonton this year:

The entrepreneurial spirit is in many ways the essence of the American dream. It is what allowed the United States to move so swiftly and so unstoppably from its beginning as a small and delicate, young nation to world hegemon. It is the creative spark that made our country so special and so attractive to others.

If you haven’t already, thank an entrepreneur today. They deserve your support and appreciation!

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One of the greatest challenges facing humanity in the decades to come is dealing with population growth. The statistics are astonishing. Every second 5 people are born and 2 die, a net gain of 3 people every second. At this rate, the world population will double every forty years and will be 12 billion in 40 years. Th U.N.estimates that world population will stabilize at 12 billion if we can manage to implement effective family planning and improve world access to education in time.

When the number of children per family decreases, the explosive growth rates drop precipitously. Hans Rosling, a Belgian doctor and researcher, provides an interesting perspective on population growth and the evolving role of the developed west in this TEDxCannes presentation:

Wasn’t that fascinating? If you enjoy seeing real-time estimates of the growth or decline of key indicators for our world, you will love the Worldometer site.

Whether you believe that evolution got us to the lofty heights we now occupy as human beings on top of the food chain or that God established our dominion over the earth, the fact of the matter is that it is in our own best interest – call it enlightened self-interest – to care deeply about this issue.

One of the wonderful advantages of having the relatively big brains we have versus animals is that we can and often do care about the future. We can and often do proactively take steps now to secure a better result for generations to come. It is the principle behind investment and while the yield is not always a sure-bet, the odds are in our favor if the matter is sufficiently researched and understood.

Keep an eye out for the latest discoveries relative to population growth and green technology. The future of our planet depends on it!

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Where there is prolonged imbalance there tends to be polarization. In the physical body an energetic and biochemical imbalances result in organ systems that are either overactive and hot (hyper) or under-active and cold. In airplanes overly weighted aft of the center of gravity, instability results making the airplane unsafe.

So it is with our world’s food system. There is a systemic imbalance that is rapidly polarizing the global population. Over 1 billion people are now obese while over 1 billion people are starving. Something is awry.

Ellen Gustafson, co-founder of the philanthropic FEED bags presented an interesting analysis of this potentially devastating imbalance at the recent TEDxEast:

Systemic problems require systemic solutions. Just working on one end of the spectrum rarely results in a sustainable, balanced solution to the underlying imbalances. I recently spent time with one of the most knowledgeable and talented doctors I have ever met and her approach exemplified the balanced perspective I am advocating here.

Balancing Chinese medicine with the Western model, this doctor is like a knife salesman at a Gordian knot convention. I truly believe she can cut through anything she comes across. Recognizing imbalances is one thing, but resolving them effectively and efficiently is entirely another. The world could use a few more doctors like her!

When you see imbalance in your world, you would be wise to look at the other end of the spectrum to see if there is anything there that might give you a clue as to where the center of the matter might lie. Sometimes it takes going from one extreme to another before you can gradually make your way back the the center or balance point.

Extremes are rarely useful or optimal. Fanaticism of any type, for instance, has proven time and time again to be terribly destructive. Conversely, too much of a laissez-faire approach never got anyone very far. In a previous post we looked at the valuable statement “in joy not overjoyed, in sorrow not dejected,” another excellent statement of balance worthy of deep and regular consideration.

Take care in your life not to become an extremist. That said, be deeply passionate about all that you do. You can be passionate and be flexible. You can be dynamic yet focused and clear about your direction. As you find balance the world you center can come to rest. Have you ever noticed that? A balanced nucleus provides a stable centering point for that which naturally orients to it.

You might find yourself oscillating at times from balance to imbalance, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Were it not for such a rhythm you couldn’t walk, now, could you? Every step involves movement from balance to imbalance and back to balance. When you take care to avoid the extremes, imbalance becomes an ally and you control it, which is much better than being controlled by it!

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National Geographic writer Dan Buettner and his team study “Blue Zones,” communities around the world that live longer and better than the average person. They found four geographic areas and studied them extensively to determine the underlying causes of their longevity.

In this TED presentation filmed September 2009 Buettner reveals 9 common diet and lifestyle habits that keep these communities active and strong past the age of 100:

Longevity has little value as an “end,” but it is useful as a means to an end. If part of your purpose is to be a blessing to the world you center it behooves you to take steps to enjoy vitality for as long as possible.

The day before yesterday I had the good pleasure of visiting a wellness clinic in Connecticut. Amongst the many activities that day they were filming the story of a remarkable family who had taken steps over the last year to improve their health.

Incorporating many of the suggestions outlined in Buettner’s presentation as well as specific recommendations to handle their particular needs, the family worked together, in strong agreement might I add, to be proactive relative to their health. Allergies disappeared, aches and pains went away and other patterns of ill health were clarified over time and boy are they excited to share their story!

Health is contagious. Health is inspiring. Informed choices, a radiant outlook and an active lifestyle can have a profound influence on your overall health, no matter what your starting point. As a doctor friend of mine once said, “Just because you got a bad pair of genes doesn’t mean you have to wear them.” I am inclined to agree.

I encourage you to incorporate any or all of these 9 healthy habits into your life! It is simply a matter of using your capacity of free will to form new and lasting habits.

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