Thoughts from TEDxSydney 2016

Ted Talks are marked by the notion “ideas worth spreading." The 7th annual TEDxSydney convention was no exception to this rule, inviting the audience to digest challenging stories and innovative ideas. The theme of this year’s event was ‘togetherness.’ “Ideas, says Edwina Throsby, head of curation, “are a product of conversations and collaborations.” With that in mind, here are some takeaway thoughts from the day.

We need to think about smarter ways to give… with Tara Winkler

Managing director of the Cambodian Children’s Trust (CCT), Tara Winkler was imperative in opening our eyes to a smarter way of giving.

Having donated to and volunteered at a particularly underprivileged orphanage in Cambodia, Winkler was horrified to find that her donations were being embezzled by the corrupt orphanage owner. A deeper investigation found that many of the ‘orphans’ did, in fact, have families. This is symptomatic of a wider issue regarding the institutionalisation of children, with the amount of orphanages in Cambodia increasing by 75% since 2005. Not surprisingly, the majority of these have opened in touristy areas, taking advantage of waves of ‘voluntourism.’

Winkler’s story shows us that creating effective and lasting social impact goes beyond simply giving- it requires an offensive rather than a defensive approach. Winkler has worked tiresley to break the cycle of poverty that results in the removal of many children from their families. By attacking the root of the problem, she has stemmed the symptoms.   [embedyt][/embedyt]  

Conservation requires us to think outside the square… with Ray Dearlove

Founder of the Australian Rhino Project, Ray Dearlove presented a compelling and moving argument as to why we need to seriously think abut new ways of approaching conservation.

The Australian Rhino Project aims to transport 80 rhinos from Africa to Australia with the intention of establishing a breeding herd. A logistical, legal and bureaucratic nightmare, this extreme project is testament to the dire nature of conservation in Africa.

With one rhino being killed every 6 hours in Africa, Dearlove asserts that we are part of a global war against poaching. Delving further into the issue, it was revealed that majority of poachers come from Mozambique, the seventh poorest country in the world. This demonstrates a need to tackle the problem at the very root, addressing one of the many causes of poaching i.e. poverty, along with the symptoms.   [embedyt][/embedyt]  

Sustainable fashion is about education…Clara Vuletich

Sustainable fashion goes beyond buying ethically produced products, it requires re-education on both production and consumption levels.

Clara Vuletich has worked in the sustainable fashion space for over a decade and has been instrumental redefining the way we produce and consume ethically produced fashion.

She believes in training designers to be 'lifecycle thinkers’ i.e. to design for recyclability. With one million tonnes of clothing going to landfill every year in the UK, this issue has never been more prevalent.

“You can’t force people to care,” asserts Vuletich. Using the example of workplace giving, Vuletich argues that our personal values play a huge role in creating social impact- “sustainability asks us as humans to consider really deep questions about our personal relationship to nature and the ethics of our actions,” she says. Therefore, designers and consumers alike need to be encouraged to bring their personal values to sustainable practices, allowing for a tailored and therefore effective sustainable strategy to be developed.   [embedyt][/embedyt]

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