Inspiring Talks from Tedx Sydney

Compelling speakers & stories at Tedx Sydney

Took the trip to Sydney last weekend to Tedx, not quite sure what to expect, but hoping to learn, be inspired and come away brimming with new possibilities.

Over the years I’ve enjoyed being able to access different TedxSydney and Ted talks, is billed as: “Riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world” – gotta love that – but I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be in the actual audience. So there I was, at the crack of dawn, waiting for that sun to come up and shine its beautiful light on Sydney harbour.

The buzz started to build as queues formed around the big red X. And during the course of the day I got to chat to complete strangers ranging from community activists, venture capitalists, artists, start-up entrepreneurs, IT gurus, foodies, philanthropists, uni students and teachers…lots different to the normal farm day spent communing with plants, insects, kids and furry creatures!

At times during the day I felt perplexed, inspired, priviliged, anxious, bemused, bewitched, angry, amazed, underwhelmed and overwhelmed…lots of different emotions as all the different talks played out.

The talks aren’t online yet, but here are the who and the what, of what really stood out for me:

Paul Pholeros: Paul is an architect who has worked for years to improve the living environment and health of Indigenous Australians. More recently his group, Health Habitat, has been applying their knowledge, skills and enthusiasm to overseas projects such as their implementation of special toilets in Nepal that have really positive outcomes:

– making the village environment more hygienic

– recycling fertiliser to improve crop yield

– producing biogas for stoves, thus eliminating the smoke from cooking fires that cause such ill health.

Now that’s a solution! Imagine if we all had those toilets…wouldn’t need to keep fracking for gas! Wouldn’t need gas for fertiliser production! etc

In 2011 HealthHabitat was awarded the international UN Habitat’s World Habitat Award and also the Australian Institute of Architect’s national Leadership in Sustainability prize for sustaining the lives of people. Check out more at: /


Damien Mander: Damien is an ex-special Ops Aussie soldier who came across a bull elephant in Africa that had died of injuries inflicted by poachers. The question he asked himself: “How much does a human need this tusk, compared to how much does the elephant need its tusk?” He went on to discuss speciesism, and his own meat eating habits and why his questioning of them saw him found the International Anti-Poaching Foundation which uses military tactics to deter poachers.

This was such an interesting, inspiring and uncomfortable talk as just outside during the lunch break, a meat industry-funded group called Target 100 had been celebrating the carving up of a sustainably raised, but no longer sustainably living steer. Damien’s question for us: How much do we need to eat animals (sustainably raised or not), compared to their need to live in family groups, be free of suffering and pain, and be free of us ending their lives prematurely etc.


 Joost Bakker: Joost is an artist/designer and innovator of buildings covered with green roofs; cafes that have no carbon footprint; city rooftop farms; fireproof eco buildings and more.

I liked Joost because he’s tapped a “cool” solution to a variety of environmental issues and is out there using design to make a practical difference.


Danny Kennedy: Danny is an ex-Green Peace guy and founder at Sungevity who has moved into the solar industry. He came out on stage with just a little kerosene candle to illuminate him, and his mission is to get solar onto every rooftop. With his passion…he might just get there!


Ron McCallum, Omar Musa, Jennifer Robinson and Bill Pritchard also provided some great food for thought.

I think the best part of Tedx for me was seeing people who are actually DOING something to make the world a better place, or looking at the world in such an interesting way that it challenges you to think about what you really believe in.

The other great thing about Ted is that all the videos will be up soon so you can make up your own mind!

tedx sydney

joost bakker story image

This entry was posted in Community and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Comments are closed.