Day 2 at TED ofcourse did not disappoint – how could I even think it would. What did surprise I think all of us (probably with the exception of Chris and the TED team) was the stark contrast between two brilliant talks. These two discussions presented a very different view of our collective future. This was the “how full is the glass session”
First up was Paul Gilding – former CEO of Greenpeace. Paul’s basic premise was that we are already beyond the point where the planet can sustain us and that in order to support the economy over the next few decades we will need 1.5x the earths resources to do so. Essentially his talk was a call to arms stating that a “crises is a terrible thing to waste” (reminded me of Rahm Emanuel comments about the economic downturn).
Paul knows what he is talking about, is a great speaker and his talk had some good facts – in summary it was depressing !
But here comes the ying to Paul’s yang. Next up was Peter Diamandis – founder of the X Prize and self titled space activist. I had known of Peter ofcourse but had never heard him speak – he is a powerful and passionate speaker. Peter view of the future was not only a full glass, but I would say an overflowing glass. He talked of abundance, he talked of all the incredible positive changes that have occurred over the years, mortality, technology, standard of living etc. His basic view was that we tend to focus on the negative because the media focuses on the negative but we have an incredible abundant future that we can shape. To be fair, he did not ignore the problems of the current like global warming, population growth etc. but be just said we will not only survive but thrive in the future.
So by this time I was feeling much better about the world and the future.
These are two very different view of the world and our collective future – I don’t think one is right, or one is wrong, though I personally gravitate towards Peter’s world view – maybe because I have more hope in humanity or maybe because it is easier to feel good about the positive scenario.
Make up your own mind.
As usual I would welcome your comments or input.