Something a little different, but I just wanted to share my thoughts from the TEDx conference in Adelaide today. A lot of talks today, so hold onto your hats as this will be a whirlwind summary!
Associate Professor David Paton asks “Can we stop our birds disappearing?”. Current nature reserves around Adelaide by area are 10%. We need to increase this to 30% to maintain some of our at risk bird species. Such an increase would be an intergenerational commitment, but one we need and one that isn’t being talked about. Offsetting carbon emissions by planting trees is ok, but why not go one step further and ensure they are suitable habitats for endangered species? We can offset our ecological footprint for $1 per person per day.
Mel Greig, who you may remember as being involved in a radio prank with a very unfortunate ending, gave a presentation. I have to admit that I always had a very negative perception of her, and thought that her actions were ill-conceived at best. After the talk, and hearing her reaction to hearing about the tragic death, and the number of death threats she received, I realised such a response is simply not warranted. She was under police protection for several months, and the police station received bullets with her name on them. Eventually someone even threatened her mother’s life – a totally innocent bystander. A sound bite played made the good point that no one could have predicted the outcome. Thousands of similar pranks are performed each year around the world without incident. Mel is now focussing her energy on raising awareness about internet trolling/bullying and has started a social movement called Troll Free Day.
During the lunch break we were asked to create a Lego model about one of the talks we found most inspiring, and I did one about Mel Greig’s talk. I’ll let you interpret my artistic masterpiece. We’ll just call it abstract.
Dr Elizabeth Grant gave a talk titled ‘Build beautiful prisons’. She described a prison where prisoners are welcomed, treated like humans, given meaningful jobs within the prison, expected to perform their own housework and cook their own food, live in ‘share houses’ with several other inmates and spend at least part of each day learning something, whether it’s reading or doing a university course online. The desired outcome? Giving people the skills to fit in with and be contributing members of society after their sentence. Isn’t rehabilitation one of the key reasons for the criminal justice system? Elizabeth argues that prisoners get their punishment from being removed from society, and don’t need to get it from being mistreated in a prison. A prison like this has already opened in Western Australia with some success.
A good idea that I’ve never seen in a conference before was ‘mingle bingo’, pictured below. Simply ask people if they satisfy one of the categories throughout the day, and if they do, tick it off!
Many other great talks were given that I don’t have time to discuss, including Peter Drew on ‘curing’ racism with art, and Dr James Muecke on his work around curing blindness with Adelaide based charity Sight For All.
Until next time.