Wednesday, November 25, 2020
TED COUNTDOWN Urges Biggest Transformation Humankind Has Seen
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In-person attendees were spaced out as they listened to speakers say how the world needs more ambitious targets and more ambitious actions than were decided on at the 2015 Paris Agreement.
   
Sunday, October 25, 2020
 

STORY AND PHOTOS BY KAREN BOSSICK

Prince William gave his first ever TED Talk under the towering oaks of Windsor Castle as he called on the world to fix our climate by 2030.

Pope Francis told viewers we cannot continue to squeeze Earth like an orange: “Science tells us, every day with more precision, that it is necessary to act with urgency…if we want to have the hope of avoiding radical changes in the climate and catastrophes.”

Even 22-year-old rapper and actor Jaden Smith recounted how he’s been fighting for Planet Earth since he was young: “My surfing teacher taught me that the ocean was alive and my environmental teacher taught me that the ocean was dying. I really feel the urgency to act now.”

 
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Nifty slogans greeted passersby.
 

Some big guns came out for Planet Earth last week during the six-hour TED COUTDOWN beamed to 65 million people in more than 500 organized gatherings around the world.

Locally, 171 people attended online and at an in-person outside gathering boasting five screens to promote distancing, said Aimee Christensen, co-founder of TEDxSunValley. The Ketchum event was the only one in Idaho.

COUNTDOWN—a collaboration between TED and other organizations--was billed as a global initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, in particular cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030.

Speakers painted a crisis of emergency proportions, claiming mankind has 10 years to stop a catastrophe that is being felt much quicker than scientists had predicted. The United Nations warned that the world would become an “uninhabitable hell” for millions if no action is taken.

 
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Mason Frederickson, along with Geoff, Jill and Lucy Wood and Yoni Putsan brought nearly all the luxuries of home as they watched the broadcast on a big screen set up by TEDxSunValley with the help of the Argyros.
 

“This is the decisive decade in the history of humankind,” said Christiana Figueres, a Costa Rican diplomat and the architect of the 2015 Paris Agreement. “We can do it,” she added, noting that countries negotiating the 2015 Paris Agreement moved from confrontation to collaboration.

One speaker told how low-income people living in Los Angeles were more susceptible to pollution and other problems because their living spaces had only 5 percent tree cover versus the average 70 percent tree cover those in suburbia enjoy.

“It gives new meaning to the Black Lives Matter slogan, ‘I can’t breathe,’” said British Parliament representative David Lammy, who called for an international law criminalizing severe actions against the environment.

U.S. Economist Rebecca Henderson noted that firms that make fortunes from fossil fuels don’t pay for the damage they cause but do funnel money to politicians to preserve the status quo. Another speaker called for more research that would provide higher energy batteries that take up less space and cost less, noting the world has only 70 percent of the technology needed for clean renewable energy.

 
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TED COUNTOWN came on the same day actor Robert Redford issued an op-ed piece noting the forests were burning near his California home. “What do we do now?” he asked, quoting his character Bill McKay from the movie “The Candidate.”
 

Solutions followed warnings.

Angel Hsu shared how China is creating new strains of rice that require far less water than traditional rice. She also told how Shanghai is now requiring all buses to be electric. China has 420,000 electric buses, she said, compared with America’s 600.

Thomas Crowther talked of the trillion tree campaign, designed to plant trees to capture carbon and trap it in the soil. But it’s only one of the solutions the world so desperately needs right now, he cautioned, noting the need to do more such as restoring wetlands and improving soil.

Yvonne Aki-Sawyerr, mayor of Freetown, Sierra Leone, told how her countrymen planted a million trees to counter massive deforestation that contributed to weather extremes and a landslide that killed a thousand people in five minutes.

“Loss of trees means loss of our ability to live,” she said.

Tom Schuler excited some of those at Ketchum’s outdoor gathering as he told of a ready-mix that turns concrete into a carbon sink. It uses less limestone and is fired at lower temperature, cutting CO2 normally resulting from mixing concrete by a third.

Lisa Jackson, environment and social vice president at Apple, shared how her company is running on 100 percent renewables. The challenge, she said, is to convert the supply chain.

 “We decided to challenge ourselves to go as fast as we could so other businesses wouldn’t have any  excuse,” she said. She added that you can’t replace the role of government with business efforts, “Only the government is consigned with protecting citizens.”

One speaker said numbness is destroying the world as people become desensitized, no longer caring. The climate change movement is not a political thing, said another. “It’s about caring for the people who live on the planet.”

A mother of two sons, who told of growing up fishing with her father near Vancouver, B.C., produced black and white footage of her talk to the United Nations as a young girl warning of the threat of climate change.

“Today, nearly 30 years later, it’s no longer a prediction. It’s here. We feel it,” said the woman, adding that governments have been focused on growing their economies and, “of course, winning elections. We have the science we have the solutions and we’re all experiencing climate change. Make your actions reflect your words.”

Lexie Praggastis of the Sun Valley Institute took part on a virtual panel discussion of local climate voices. She stirred a few ears when she said that 30 percent of local waste is food waste—unspoiled food waste.

“On the local level, I was so galvanized and inspired by everyone from Boise Mayor Lauren McLean, who has been a longtime clean energy leader, to local climate voices, such as the Sierra Club’s Idaho chapter…. “ said Christensen. “And others had a ton of great ideas--from those in the Netherlands who as a low-lying country are threatened and now walking the walk on energy to India, where they’re looking at developing clean energy that will improve the health for people who have put up with the effects of coal all these years.”

Christensen said she and others will reach out to the community and schools with TED circles where participants can discuss energy strategies they want to take to elected officials.

“We want to spur people to action,” she said. “For instance, the Idaho Public Utilities Commission just held a hearing about changing the rules for farmers who want to reduce power costs by going solar.  We need to raise our voices and let Idaho Power know that they should not be limiting our choices but growing our choices.”

 

~  Today's Topics ~


Hailey Tightens Restrictions on Outdoor Gatherings, Loosens Restriction on Businesses

Earthquakes the Focus of Avalanche Talk

Homeowners Asked to Practice Fire Burning Safety in Wake of Two Fires
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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