Quite often, when I’m doing something in the kitchen, or editing images for the blog, or anything else when I can focus on two things at the same time, then I listen to TED talks while I work. It’s a good way to listen, learn and be inspired when it feels like there aren’t enough hours in the day!
There’s this one TED talk that I keep coming back to again and again, by Adam Baker. In it Adam shares his powerful and inspiring personal account of how him and his wife found “freedom” by defying the ‘status quo’ of how people often perceive success. Adam and his wife sold most of their possessions, paying off their $18,000 consumer credit and student debts in the process. They also restructured their lives to minimise debt and get the most out of life by focusing on experiences and living in the moment instead of relying on possessions to make them happy.
Adam’s key point of the whole twenty minute talk is so succinct it hurts: “sell your crap, pay your debt, do what you love“.
One of the parts of the talk where I find myself nodding furiously to is when Adam quotes Nigel Marsh (speaker of another great TED talk), when he says “There are thousands and thousands of people out there leading lives of quiet, screaming desperation, where they work long, hard hours at jobs they hate to enable them to buy things they don’t need to impress people they don’t like.”
Another great moment is when Adam says “if you don’t answer this question [what does freedom mean to me] then there is a corporation, company or product that is happy to answer it for you”
While the main focus of the talk is debt reduction, I think there are some very very strong parallels with sustainable living, such as being happy living with less, and I’m sure you’ll enjoy it – it’s incredibly engaging:
I don’t generally care for celebrity endorsements but yesterday I watched Leonardo DiCaprio’s UN Climate Change Summit Speech and I was blown away. To take such a complex matter such as climate change, and distill it down to an easily understandable and decisive speech that in no uncertain terms outlined the immediate urgency with which we need to act to help mitigate climate change takes some skill.
If you’ve not seen it, please watch it for yourself, and feel inspired to act:
If you can’t see the video you can find it here on YouTube.
As I say, I’m not normally one for celebrity endorsements and it’s true that you could say Leonardo DiCaprio is being hypocritical as he doesn’t exactly live a particularly low carbon lifestyle. However to give such a commanding voice in such an accessible manner to a subject that perhaps not everyone shares the same understanding or interest in as you and I is definitely no bad thing.
Here’s a transcript of Leonardo DiCaprio’s climate change speech in case you’re looking to quote it:
“Thank you, Mr Secretary General, your excellencies, ladies and gentleman, and distinguished guests. I’m honored to be here today, I stand before you not as an expert but as a concerned citizen, one of the 400,000 people who marched in the streets of New York on Sunday, and the billions of others around the world who want to solve our climate crisis.
As an actor I pretend for a living. I play fictitious characters often solving fictitious problems.
I believe humankind has looked at climate change in that same way: as if it were a fiction, happening to someone else’s planet, as if pretending that climate change wasn’t real would somehow make it go away.
But I think we know better than that. Every week, we’re seeing new and undeniable climate events, evidence that accelerated climate change is here now. We know that droughts are intensifying, our oceans are warming and acidifying, with methane plumes rising up from beneath the ocean floor. We are seeing extreme weather events, increased temperatures, and the West Antarctic and Greenland ice-sheets melting at unprecedented rates, decades ahead of scientific projections.
None of this is rhetoric, and none of it is hysteria. It is fact. The scientific community knows it, Industry and governments know it, even the United States military knows it. The chief of the US navy’s Pacific command, admiral Samuel Locklear, recently said that climate change is our single greatest security threat.
My Friends, this body – perhaps more than any other gathering in human history – now faces that difficult task. You can make history … or be vilified by it.
To be clear, this is not about just telling people to change their light bulbs or to buy a hybrid car. This disaster has grown BEYOND the choices that individuals make. This is now about our industries, and governments around the world taking decisive, large-scale action.
I am not a scientist, but I don’t need to be. Because the world’s scientific community has spoken, and they have given us our prognosis, if we do not act together, we will surely perish.
Now is our moment for action.
We need to put a pricetag on carbon emissions, and eliminate government subsidies for coal, gas, and oil companies. We need to end the free ride that industrial polluters have been given in the name of a free-market economy, they don’t deserve our tax dollars, they deserve our scrutiny. For the economy itself will die if our ecosystems collapse.
The good news is that renewable energy is not only achievable but good economic policy. New research shows that by 2050 clean, renewable energy could supply 100% of the world’s energy needs using existing technologies, and it would create millions of jobs.
This is not a partisan debate; it is a human one. Clean air and water, and a livable climate are inalienable human rights. And solving this crisis is not a question of politics. It is our moral obligation – if, admittedly, a daunting one.
We only get one planet. Humankind must become accountable on a massive scale for the wanton destruction of our collective home. Protecting our future on this planet depends on the conscious evolution of our species.
This is the most urgent of times, and the most urgent of messages.
Honoured delegates, leaders of the world, I pretend for a living. But you do not. The people made their voices heard on Sunday around the world and the momentum will not stop. And now it’s YOUR turn, the time to answer the greatest challenge of our existence on this planet … is now.
I beg you to face it with courage. And honesty. Thank you”.
I'm Wendy and welcome to Moral Fibres, a green lifestyle blog. I believe that sustainable living should be hip, not hippie. Here you'll find all sorts of easy hints and tips here for living a greener life that won't compromise your sense of style. As well as the blog I've also written a book on natural cleaning - Fresh Clean Home is out now! Want to know more? Check out the about page for more information or explore the archives using the category tabs above. Moral Fibres is always free to read. If you want to support the site's running costs you can buy me a coffee. Say hello at email@example.com
Moral Fibres uses affiliate links, whereby if you purchase an item using a link from this site, I earn a small percentage. Any such links are denoted by *
For more information on affiliate links and advertising please see my disclosure policy.