Thanks to the amazing group of volunteers TEDx once again hit the Octogon Theatre at UWA for TEDx Perth 2013. The theme stringing together much of the content was connectivity and community.
Personal stories from the speakers offered a micro view of the great progress we are making in our homes and communities and provoked a personal review of what we do and what we can do. It prompted questions such as are you superstitious, most people say no but how often do you say ‘fingers crossed’? Innovative new wetsuits designed locally show promise in decreasing shark attack risk. A stripy surf suit mimicking the fish sharks don’t like to mess with and an ‘invisibility’ suit blending the diver with surrounding water have performed very well during trials and are now available to the public. (Coincidentally a surfer at Hillarys was under attack at this very moment but thankfully all he lost was the fin from his surfboard).
The day progressed with stark messages on food security, a video showing people performing the pollination tasks previously undertaken by bees brought home the fragility of life on this planet. Thankfully in Western Australia we host the healthiest bees on the planet (those tedious customs procedures are so very worthwhile).
By taking things to the personal level it makes matters very real. Carina Hoang’s harrowing account of being a ‘boat person’ moved many in the audience to tears. Our first world problems pale into insignificance as you hear of how close to death Carina and her siblings were on numerous occasions, knowing this, taking a boat really is the last resort. The beautiful stories of the contributions that these ‘boat people’ have gone to to make within their new home country are truly humbling and inspiring.
Bringing humanity back into healthcare was highlighted as Prof. David Joske explained through personal stories how modern medicine is excellent for curing people but performs poorly where it comes to healing people. Thankfully some local charitable organisations are helping to fill the gap in a variety of wonderful ways but we could be doing more.
Other concerning gaps were brought to our attention with the younger members of the community. The current lack of outdoor adventure time raised by Griffin Longley, we now live in a nation where prisoners in a maximum security prison have more time outdoors than our children! While Annie Fogarty drew our attention to the importance of a good start in education, she also recounted shocking stories of local children in our prosperous city that still go to school hungry! Thankfully the Fogarty Foundation are forging links in the community to support a better start for many but their work has a long way to go.
Interspersed through the day were musical interludes spanning a broad array of genres. The best was saved until last with the sensational Sam Perry performing a set that kept the applause coming and coming. Please don’t miss out on seeing this guy, even if his music isn’t your cup of tea he is still a breathtaking performer who can make music beyond your wildest imagination using just his voice/sounds and a loop station.
Towards the end of the day audience members were asked to present their 30 second idea, the first person spoke of the news and it’s lack of positivity, thankfully TEDx is the perfect antidote for this. Jam packed with an inspirational group of dream chasers determined to make the world a better place TEDx left me with with hope for the future of this isolated city and beyond.