Streaming TED talks is a dangerous habit. It’s so hard to watch just one. This morning, via the TED Blog, I discovered this great presentation by Ellen Gustafson, founder of something called The 30 Project that looks at how food systems have changed since 1980 and tries to undo some of the damage.
Maybe because it’s Ramadan—a time of year when many of us across the planet are extra attuned to issues of hunger and poverty—I found her talk to be extremely compelling. In particular, she makes great links between the underlying causes of hunger and obesity and pokes holes in oversimplified responses that aim to feed the hungry.
Anyway, with the exception of critiquing canned food and canned food drives, Gustafson doesn’t get much into issues of waste and recycling. So, of course, I had to go rooting through TED vaults where I came across this talk by legendary Ray “the green CEO” Anderson. I am always skeptical of businessmen hawking good causes. And Anderson, like any other CEO has an incentive to promote his company’s public image. But I am consistently absorbed when I see clips of this guy and his near-religious passion for treading lightly.
I’ll admit, I zoned out a bit when he got too into his own math equations, but tuned right back in when he defined affluence as a means to an end, rather than the goal in and of itself. Simple, but critical framing. We don’t amass stuff just to have stuff, we do it because we think it will make us happy. See what you think.