What's the antidote to rising nationalism, polarization and hate? In this inspiring, poetic talk, Valarie Kaur asks us to reclaim love as a revolutionary act. As she journeys from the birthing room to tragic sites of bloodshed, Kaur shows us how the choice to love can be a force for justice.
The democratic process is messy, complicated and often inefficient -- but across Africa, activists are redefining democracy by putting protest at its center. In an illuminating talk, political scientist Zachariah Mampilly gives us a primer on the current wave of protests reshaping countries like Tunisia, Malawi and Zimbabwe -- and explains how this form of political dissension expands our political imaginations beyond what we're told is possible.
If architect and writer John Cary has his way, women will never need to stand in pointlessly long bathroom lines again. Lines like these are representative of a more serious issue, Cary says: the lack of diversity in design that leads to thoughtless, compassionless spaces. Design has a unique ability to dignify and make people feel valued, respected, honored and seen -- but the flip side is also true. Cary calls for architects and designers to expand their ranks and commit to serving the public good, not just the privileged few. "Well-designed spaces are not just a matter of taste or a questions of aesthetics," he says. "They literally shape our ideas about who we are in the world and what we deserve." And we all deserve better.
"It is the artist's job to unearth stories that people try to bury with shovels of complacency and time," says poet and freedom fighter Mwende "FreeQuency" Katwiwa. Performing her poem "The Joys of Motherhood," Katwiwa explores the experience of Black mothers in America and discusses the impact of the Movement for Black Lives -- because, she says, it's impossible to separate the two.
Danielle Wood leads the Space Enabled research group at the MIT Media Lab, where she works to tear down the barriers that limit the benefits of space exploration to only the few, the rich or the elite. She identifies six technologies developed for space exploration that can contribute to sustainable development across the world -- from observation satellites that provide information to aid organizations to medical research on microgravity that can be used to improve health care on Earth. "Space truly is useful for sustainable development for the benefit of all peoples," Wood says.
There's an energy revolution happening in villages and towns across Africa -- off-grid solar energy is becoming a viable alternative to traditional electricity systems. In a bold talk about a true leapfrog moment, Amar Inamdar introduces us to proud owners of off-grid solar kits -- and explains how this technology has the opportunity to meet two extraordinary goals: energy access for all and a low-carbon future. "Every household a proud producer as well as consumer of energy," Inamdar says. "That's the democracy of energy." (Followed by a brief Q&A with TED Curator Chris Anderson)
Psychologist Susan David shares how the way we deal with our emotions shapes everything that matters: our actions, careers, relationships, health and happiness. In this deeply moving, humorous and potentially life-changing talk, she challenges a culture that prizes positivity over emotional truth and discusses the powerful strategies of emotional agility. A talk to share.
Su Kahumbu raises badass cows -- healthy, well-fed animals whose protein is key to solving a growing crisis in Africa: childhood nutritional stunting. With iCow, a simple SMS service she developed to support small-scale livestock farmers, the TED Fellow is helping farmers across the continent by texting them tips on caring for and raising animals. Learn more about how this cheap innovation is helping feed hungry kids, one text at a time.
How deep into the Earth can we go and still find life? Marine microbiologist Karen Lloyd introduces us to deep-subsurface microbes: tiny organisms that live buried meters deep in ocean mud and have been on Earth since way before animals. Learn more about these mysterious microbes, which refuse to grow in the lab and seem to have a fundamentally different relationship with time and energy than we do.
Do you know what you want when you die? Do you know how you want to be remembered? In a candid, heartfelt talk about a subject most of us would rather not discuss, Michelle Knox asks each of us to reflect on our core values around death and share them with our loved ones, so they can make informed decisions without fear of having failed to honor our legacies. "Life would be a lot easier to live if we talked about death now," Knox says. "We need to discuss these issues when we are fit and healthy so we can take the emotion out of it -- and then we can learn not just what is important, but why it's important."
The internet can be an ugly place, but you won't find bullies or trolls on Stuart Duncan's Minecraft server, AutCraft. Designed for children with autism and their families, AutCraft creates a safe online environment for play and self-expression for kids who sometimes behave a bit differently than their peers (and who might be singled out elsewhere). Learn more about one of the best places on the internet with this heartwarming talk.
The hymen is still the most misunderstood part of the female body. Nina Dølvik Brochmann and Ellen Støkken Dahl share their mission to empower young people through better sex education, debunking the popular (and harmful) myths we're told about female virginity and the hymen.
Anjali Kumar went looking for God and ended up finding something else entirely. In an uplifting, funny talk about our shared humanity, she takes us on a spiritual pilgrimage to meet witches in New York, a shaman in Peru, an infamous "healer" in Brazil and others, sharing an important lesson: what binds us together is far stronger than what separates us, and our differences are not insurmountable.
In 1988, Matt Goldman co-founded Blue Man Group, an off-Broadway production that became a sensation known for its humor, blue body paint and wild stunts. The show works on the premise that certain conditions can create "aha moments" -- moments of surprise, learning and exuberance -- frequent and intentional rather than random and occasional. Now Goldman is working to apply the lessons learned from Blue Man Group to education, creating Blue School, a school that balances academic mastery, creative thinking and self and social intelligence. "We need to cultivate safe and conducive conditions for new and innovative ideas to evolve and thrive," Goldman says.
Mike Gil spies on fish: using novel multi-camera systems and computer vision technology, the TED Fellow and his colleagues explore how coral reef fish behave, socialize and affect their ecosystems. Learn more about how fish of different species communicate via social networks -- and what disrupting these networks might mean to the delicate ecology of reefs, which help feed millions of us and support the global economy.
Artist and poet Cleo Wade recites a moving poem about being an advocate for love and acceptance in a time when both seem in short supply. Woven between stories of people at the beginning and end of their lives, she shares some truths about growing up (and speaking up) and reflects on the wisdom of a life well-lived, leaving us with a simple yet enduring takeaway: be good to yourself, be good to others, be good to the earth. "The world will say to you, 'Be a better person,'" Wade says. "Do not be afraid to say, 'Yes.'"
"The only way we're going to make substantial progress on the challenging problems of our time is for business to drive the solutions," says social impact strategist Wendy Woods. In a data-packed talk, Woods shares a fresh way to assess the impact all parts of business can have on all parts of society, and then adjust them to not only do less harm but actually improve things. Learn more about how executives can move beyond corporate social responsibility to "total societal impact" -- for the benefit of both a company's bottom line and society at large.
Former Republican member of the U.S. Congress Bob Inglis shares an optimistic message about how conservatives can lead on climate change and other pressing problems -- and how free enterprise (and working together across ideologies) hold the solutions. "The United States was not built by those who waited and wished to look behind them," Inglis says. "Lead now ... Tell the American people that we still have moon shots in us."
Can we solve the problem of ocean plastic pollution and end extreme poverty at the same time? That's the ambitious goal of The Plastic Bank: a worldwide chain of stores where everything from school tuition to cooking fuel and more is available for purchase in exchange for plastic garbage -- which is then sorted, shredded and sold to brands who reuse "social plastic" in their products. Join David Katz to learn more about this step towards closing the loop in the circular economy. "Preventing ocean plastic could be humanity's richest opportunity," Katz says.
George Steinmetz's spectacular photos show Africa from the air, taken from the world's slowest, lightest aircraft. Join Steinmetz to discover the surprising historical, ecological and sociopolitical patterns that emerge when you go low and slow in a flying lawn chair.
Think we're winning the battle against HIV? Maybe not, as the next wave of drug-resistant viruses arrives. In an eye-opening talk, TED Fellow Edsel Salvana describes the aggressive HIV subtype AE that's currently plaguing his home of the Philippines -- and warns us about what might become a global epidemic.
We already live among robots: tools and machines like dishwashers and thermostats so integrated into our lives that we'd never think to call them that. What will a future with even more robots look like? Social scientist Leila Takayama shares some unique challenges of designing for human-robot interactions -- and how experimenting with robotic futures actually leads us to a better understanding of ourselves.
On one awful night in 1995, Ples Felix's 14-year-old grandson murdered Azim Khamisa's son in a gang initiation fueled by drugs, alcohol and a false sense of belonging. The deadly encounter sent Khamisa and Felix down paths of deep meditation, to forgive and to be forgiven -- and in an act of bravery and reconciliation, the two men met and forged a lasting bond. Together, they've used their story as an outline for a better, more merciful society, where victims of tragedy can grow and heal. Prepare to be moved by their unimaginable story. "Peace is possible," Khamisa says. "How do I know that? Because I am at peace."
What does it look like when someone in Sweden brushes their teeth or when someone in Rwanda makes their bed? Anna Rosling Rönnlund wants all of us to find out, so she sent photographers to 264 homes in 50 countries (and counting!) to document the stoves, bed, toilets, toys and more in households from every income bracket around the world. See how families live in Latvia or Burkina Faso or Peru as Rosling Rönnlund explains the power of data visualization to help us better understand the world.
Once a cared-for patient and now a caregiver himself, Scott Williams highlights the invaluable role of informal caregivers -- those friends and relatives who, out of love, go the extra mile for patients in need. From personal care to advocacy to emotional support, unpaid caregivers form the invisible backbone of health and social systems all over the world, Williams says -- and without them, these systems would crumble. "How can we make sure that their value to patients and society is recognized?" he asks.
Jacob Collier is a one-man band and force of nature. In a dynamic, colorful performance, he recreates the magical room at his home in London where he produces music, performing three songs in which he sings every part and plays every instrument -- accompanied by kaleidoscopic visuals that take cues from the music and grow in real time.
When trying to come up with a new idea, we all have times when we get stuck. But according to research by behavioral and learning scientist Marily Oppezzo, getting up and going for a walk might be all it takes to get your creative juices flowing. In this fun, fast talk, she explains how walking could help you get the most out of your next brainstorm.
For generations, record collectors have played a vital role in the preservation of musical and cultural heritage by "digging" for obscure music created by overlooked artists. Alexis Charpentier shares his love of records -- and stories of how collectors have given forgotten music a second chance at being heard. Learn more about the culture of record digging (and, maybe, pick up a new hobby) with this fun, refreshing talk.
What can you do when the wheels of justice don't turn fast enough? Or when they don't turn at all? Vivek Maru is working to transform the relationship between people and law, turning law from an abstraction or threat into something that everyone can understand, use and shape. Instead of relying solely on lawyers, Maru started a global network of community paralegals, or barefoot lawyers, who serve in their own communities and break the law down into simple terms to help people find solutions. Learn more about how this innovative approach to using the law is helping socially excluded people claim their rights. "A little bit of legal empowerment can go a long way," Maru says.
Stewart Brand is a futurist, counterculturist and visionary with a very wide-ranging mind. In conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Brand discusses ... just about everything: human nature, bringing back the wooly mammoth, geoengineering, rewilding and science as organized skepticism -- plus the story of an acid trip on a San Francisco rooftop in the '60s that sparked a perspective-shifting idea. "The story we're told is that we're the next meteor," Brand says, but "things are capable of getting better."