6 Inspiring TED Talks to Spark Climate Change Solutions

Photo: TED
Photo: TED

Want to start developing your own climate change solutions, but short of inspiration? Look no further, the Daily Planet brings you six inspiring TED Talks.

Get inspired by these entrepreneurs, scientists and officials and you could develop a business model for your own start-up!

1. Communicating Creatively to Stop Climate Change

In this TED Talk British entrepreneur Andy Hobsbawm discusses the battle between creativity and climate change. He points out that people think they have to give up good and interesting things to live sustainable lives.

Hobsbawm wants to change this way of thinking by using creative advertising to inspire people to be greener. He talks about the unbelievable amount of creativity in the world that – due to the industrial revolution and the way our economy has grown up – is being used to push people to leading unsustainable lives.

He says that if creative communications has been used to persuade people to consume in a way that negatively impacts our planet, it can also be used to inspire people to try things that have a positive impact on the environment.

Do The Green Thing is a public service that distributes posters, films, podcasts and other inspiring products that encourage people to think greener. Hobsbawm shows an example of an advertisement that uses road signs to tell an amusing story of a man who decides to walk one day and ends up meeting a woman and falling in love.

2. How to Use Your Phone to Stop Climate Change

Ian Monroe, a scientist at Stanford University, says the fossil fuel industry must die and stop unsustainable manufacturing and food production. We have the right clean technologies – solar, wind, hyrdo – but lack the amount of public engagement that can put these solutions into action fast enough to avoid the effects of climate change.

Monroe says that although people like to blame corporations and governments on climate inaction, he believes their decisions can be traced back to the public’s votes, lifestyle choices and investments.

Monroe points out that bridging the gap between how much we say we care about climate change, and what we actually do on an every day basis is a major challenge.

Monroe’s solution goes by the name of Oroeco, an iPhone app that makes it easy and fun to take climate action on a daily basis. The app includes a carbon calculator, tips on how to cut carbon and save money, and a points system that gives real-world rewards.

3. How to Use a Mobile Phone to Save the Rainforest

Topher White, CEO of Rainforest Connection, brings another way that phones can help tackle climate change with a device that helps stop illegal logging.

Deforestation accounts for more greenhouse gas than all of the world’s planes, trains, cars, trucks and ships combined. White points out it is the second highest contributor to climate change.

He also says that, according to Interpol, as much as 90 per cent of logging that takes place in the rainforest is illegal.

White’s solution is to use a device that uses recycled mobile phones hidden in trees in rainforests that will listen and detect the signals of illegal logging. The phone then sends an alert to a local team of partners who are ready to track down the loggers and stop them.

Another bonus of this that mobile phones are thrown out in their millions every year causing huge e-waste problems. Using discarded mobile phones for this purpose would both help the deforestation and e-waste problem.

4. Turning Climate Change Into a Business Opportunity

Former US vice president Al Gore is one of the world’s most prominent campaigners for climate action, and usually paints a grim picture. However, in this TED Talk he makes the case for optimism and highlights how a explosion in investment is helping to boost clean technologies.

Gore calls clean-tech the “biggest new business opportunity in the history of the world.” He explains the phrase ‘The Solar Singularity’ as the point when renewable energy becomes so cheap in comparison to fossil fuels that it becomes the default choice.

Germany, as Gore points out, got 81 per cent of all its energy from renewable resources on a day in December last year. A record they recently smashed, along with Portugal.

5. A Smart And Simple Way to Fix Climate Change – And Earn Money!

In this TED Talk Dan Miller, Managing Director of The Roda Group – a venture capital group focused on clean technology – discusses how people react and respond to threats. He says people respond to threats that have direct personal impacts, like being faced with a lion. But climate change has unpredictable and indirect impacts.

Miller also points out that people respond to threats that are caused by enemies but not ones that are caused by our own actions – like climate change. He goes on to describes the problem of people ignoring climate change by waiting for “someone else to act” – the bystander effect.

Miller suggest that there is a way to tackle climate change that almost everybody will like and be able to get involved with and that will create millions of jobs, grow the economy and cut emissions.

The solution? Fee and dividend. Miller explains that by putting a price on the carbon that starts off small but rises year on year the money then can be distributed back to the public. People can then use this money to invest in cleaner technologies like LED lights or fuel efficient cars and lower their own emissions in the process.

6. You’ll be Surprised What You Can Achieve With Relentless Optimism

We conclude with Christiana Figueres, the UN’s climate chief, who gives you a very personal inside story of the historic Paris Agreement on climate change which she helped forge. “There is no way you can deliver victory, without optimism,” she says during her TED Talk as she speaks about the relentless optimism she injected into the process to get almost 200 countries to sign the agreement.

Figueres recently also said she partly contributes the success of the Paris Agreement on climate change to an increase in female leadership in general.

Have these solutions inspired an idea of your own that could help fight climate change? Enter ClimateLaunchpad – Europe’s biggest clean-tech business idea competition and turn your idea into a fast growing company.

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