TEDxMidAtlantic Day 1 Session 2

Session 2: Walking a Wire

Erica Saben (@CharmCityMove) told how, despite the odds, she realized her dream of being a professional dancer, then went on to find a niche as a wire walker. When you believe you can be anything you want to be, you have the power to make your dreams real. Her talk was followed by a wire-walking performance.

Jonathan Haidt (@JonHaidt) described about how partisanship has increased its stranglehold on American democracy. But the real threats are those which we all have in common, regardless of our divided politics. The metaphorical “asteroids” about to hit us all include global warming and the national debt.

Barbara Van Dahlen (@bvandahlen) recounted the losses she has experienced in her own life, and how she has channeled these experiences into Give An Hour. The organization links US military veterans with mental health professionals who donate their time to aid those who have sacrificed for our country.

Paula Kahumbu (@paulakahumbu) spoke about her work to preserve wildlife habitats in Kenya, fragile as they are, threatened by expanding urban areas, farmers who poison the wild animals that threaten their crops, and the indigenous warrior culture. One highlight was Lion Lights, a bright young farm boy’s solar-powered, motion-activated lion repellant invention.

Adrian Bejan (who previously presented at TEDx Bucharest) delivered a fascinating argument that design is a fundamental feature of nature rather than a conscious act. For example, the principles of aerial locomotion including the relationship between velocity and mass, are the same whether applied to an insect, a bird, or a jet airplane.

Theo Colborn recited a letter she had written to President Barack Obama on the topic of industrial chemicals and their effect on developing human embryos. While there are many laws regulating chemicals based upon their cancer-causing effect, there are fewer regulations limiting the use of chemical compounds that influence the endocrine system.

Charity Sunshine Tillemann­-Dick (@CharityTD), soprano, accompanied by piano, violin, and cello, first delivered an amazing operatic performance from Bizet’s Carmen. Then she told her story of survival, near-death, and comatose hallucinations she experienced recovering from life-saving double lung transplant surgery. Along the way her talk was a meditation on mortality, the power of love to overcome death, and a call to action for organ donation.

Next: Session 3 – Engage

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