Sunday, November 13, 2011

Ideas Worth Spreading

I just got home from TEDxPSU, an independent TED conference held today at Penn State University.  I went, because the CEO and Founder of Thread, the social-venture start-up I work for was one of the speakers.

It's been a long day, and I'm exhausted, but my brain is swirling, and I need to spend some time on my couch in my flannel pajama pants before I can attempt sleep.  It was a good day. Full of learning, and discussion, and hearing about new ideas, or experiencing a new perspective on a universal truth.  There are a lot of good people doing wonderful things in our world.  Unfortunately, there are so many problems.

It can get kind of overwhelming when you're hearing these talks all day to think about climate change, our current political state of affairs, the rise of women suicide bombers, and how the worlds next wars will be fought over water, and all the other horrible things happening, and mistakes we've made as people, and things we're doing to contribute to the destruction of our world and our societies.  There were times today things seemed quite overwhelmingly bleak.

But there's action that can be taken, and people hopeful and passionate enough about that action to climb on stage and talk about it in front of thousands of people. And there are thousands of people listening, wanting to educate themselves, and wanting to know what they can do to make a difference, and that is hopeful. And inspiring.

And so, when my boss got up on stage to talk about the work we will do being in Haiti, and described the events that lead to the creation of our company, and explained how we exist by seeing resources and opportunity amidst abject poverty and trash, I was so proud to be sitting in the audience knowing that I am a part of that.

Our world is a mess. But the good news is there are actions we can take. The problems are huge, but we're not powerless.  There are people that still want to do good. That is heartening.

If you need inspiration to start making a difference, I sincerely suggest you check out TED talks. There are hundreds of amazing speakers, and concepts, and the content is available for free. We have access to more information then we ever have before, it's a gift we should use.

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