From my experience, feeling fear means something is worth doing.
You all know about the TED Talks, right? The annual TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) conferences bring together leading thinkers and doers giving the talks of their lives. And these talks are accessible to the public via the TED web site, a fantastic repository of ideas and inspiration. (Check out talks by Captain Charles Moore and artist Chris Jordan on the TED stage.)
TEDx: Great Pacific Garbage Patch
In less than a month, I’ll be joining oceanographer Sylvia Earle, activist actor Ed Begley, Jr, environmentalist David de Rothschild, and many more experts and visionaries on stage at TEDx: The Great Pacific Garbage Patch in Santa Monica, CA.
My topic: Leading by example.
And yes, I’m nervous.
In keeping with the spirit of TED’s mission, “ideas worth spreading,” TEDx was created “to give communities, organizations and individuals the opportunity to stimulate dialogue through TED-like experiences at the local level.” Organized by the Plastic Pollution Coalition, TEDxGreatPacificGarbagePatch will launch a global effort to reduce plastic consumption by:
- challenging individuals and businesses to stop using disposable plastics, and to reconsider every plastic purchase;
- challenging the scientific community to create new, toxin-free plastic alternatives that do not threaten people’s food supply;
- challenging policymakers to support these efforts by promoting legislation that prevents the irresponsible use of materials for which there is no end of life.
The conference takes place all day on Saturday, November 6, and will be streamed live via satellite throughout the world. You can watch the real time webcast at TedxGreatPacificGarbagePatch. There are also satellite viewing events organizing now throughout the world.
Since I started my less plastic journey in June of 2007, I’ve been scared a lot:
- Scared that people would think I was crazy. But also scared that they would actually listen to me, and then I’d be responsible for what I said.
- I was nervous the weekend I dragged a folding table and some flyers to my local farmers market three years ago and started asking random strangers not to take plastic bags.
- And I felt like throwing up pretty much the whole time I was spearheading the Take Back The (Brita) Filter Campaign. Would we succeed? Or would I look like a fool?
- Writing my book has been and continues to be a terrifying experience. But like I said in the beginning of this post, that just means it’s worth doing, right?
I mentioned the TEDx event to my sister last night, and she texted, “Good thing you grew up LDS and giving talks is a wiz. :)” She’s right. Whatever disagreements I have with the Mormon faith of my childhood, I am eternally grateful for the excellent public speaking training I received. What I have to do now is 1. practice my talk ahead of time instead of just winging it like I tend to do, 2. get enough freakin’ sleep these next couple of weeks, and 3. breathe.
Will you help?
This experience will be less frightening if I know there is a community of people out there watching and supporting what we have to say, people who are committed to finding ways to eliminate disposable plastics from their lives, helping to spread the word about alternatives, and working to end the plague of plastic pollution. Will you invite your friends to watch on November 6? Will you let your organizations and networks know about the event? Will you host a viewing party?
Please mark November 6 on your calendar and plan to send us your good wishes and intentions.