TED launched TEDx as a platform for people around the globe “to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.” With events from Kibera to Amsterdam, TEDx came to Brooklyn for the first time over the weekend. The event centered on the idea of “one moves many” or the making of a movement.
As the New Yorker magazine put it "naturally, Brooklyn, a hotbed of freethinkers, is having its own [TEDx] get-together.” So what is it about Brooklyn these days? It’s New York City’s most populous borough with roughly 2.5 million inhabitants. The affordability, amenities, community and beauty have attracted a strong creative class—from artists and designers to writers and inventors—to live and work in the borough. At ESI, nearly half of our staff lives in Brooklyn!
Here are some of the highlights of impressive Brooklynites from TEDxBrooklyn:
I’ve long admired the work of Callie Curry, aka Swoon. She started as a street artist pasting up surprise paper cut-outs throughout her neighborhood. Her work has evolved into bigger projects including a flotilla of floating sculptures and a prototype shelter for the homeless in Haiti. She spoke eloquently about the possibilities of creativity. “Through small acts of beauty and kindness we can make small fissures that eventually crack the sphere of impossibility.”
Barbara Bush and Global Health Corps
While not a Brooklynite, Barbara Bush is a New Yorker and the president of Global Health Corps, which matches recent college graduates in the US and abroad with partner organizations to improve global health. She shared inspiring stories of this past year’s fellows from guiding the development of new hospitals in Rwanda to re-engineering the medicine supply chain in Tanzania. GHC plans to double their number of fellows over the next several years in order to continue to foster leaders in global health. Encourage people under 30 to apply to be a fellow online.
Dr. Joachim Mitchell and Terreform ONE
The ecological design group Terreform ONE is envisioning the green and sustainable cities of our futures. Dr. Joachim Mitchell, TED fellow and Terreform ONE founder, shared an inspiring glimpse into a possible future where our homes are one with the earth and new ways to travel around the city, with blimps, jet packs and stackable cars. At the heart of their work is creating solutions that are not only sustainable but integrated into the environment. Future-thinking indeed!
Fabien Cousteau is continuing his family’s legacy of ocean exploration and protection. Locally he’s doing work with Brooklyn’s Urban Assembly New York Harbor School and his nonprofit Plant a Fish to reintroduce oysters to New York Harbor. He encouraged the audience to see people as the solution, rather than the problem, to our ocean’s future. Quoting his famous grandfather “people protect what they love.”
Sam Cochran and Sustainably Minded Interactive Technology (SMIT)
Sam Cochran and a group of his fellow Pratt graduates are re-imagining solar power through Solar Ivy. The leaf-like system of photovoltaic solar panels is visually appealing and optimizes solar potential with the ability to tilt each leaf to its ideal orientation. The leaves can also be shaped into patterns and even logos and signage.
All in all it was a good day at TEDxBrooklyn. I look forward to seeing what great Brooklynites get invited next year. I hope to see more women presenters, more music and locally produced food.
Also check out our video of talk@TED, our experience for GE at the 2010 TED conference.