The blog formerly known as   Fake Plastic Fish

October 18, 2010

TEDx: Just One More Scary Thing

TEDx logoFrom 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.

Scary Things

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.

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Ms. Adventuress
12 years ago

Wow – congratulations!

Alyssa Lee
12 years ago

I’m thrilled to hear this and I know you have nothing to fear because you’ve got the best fan base in the world. :) I’ve got a football game on November 6 but I’m going to be looking forward to watching this all day. I will encourage those I know to watch it and I hope that you feel less nervous and more inspired for it as the day gets closer. We’re all rooting for you!

12 years ago

Congratulations and support from The Netherlands as well Beth! You can do it! And don’t forget: enjoy doing it! :-)

12 years ago

I don’t know where I read that if you’re sick with nerves but a little bit excited too, that’s the right path to take. You’ve inspired me to change–and your TED talk is going to inspire so many more people! Remember there’s a HUGE group of people cheering you on! We’re all rooting for you!

Britt Bravo
12 years ago

Congratulations, Beth! Yay!

12 years ago

This is so great, Beth! I signed up for a viewing party and will try to get at least one or more people to crowd around my laptop on Nov. 6, with plastic free snax. Any idea of what time you’ll be speaking?


PS- anyone in NYC want to join me? I’ll have snacks…

12 years ago

Beth, I’m speechless. WOW!!!

12 years ago

Congratulations! I’ll be watching.


Michelle Cassar
12 years ago

oh I think I can manage to stay up till 10. Will make a nice change! :-) Thanks for letting me know. x

12 years ago

CONGRATULATIONS!! This is so exciting. :D I’ll be suggesting to my local sustainability collective that we host a viewing. Awesome! Can’t wait to see you :]

12 years ago


So proud to know a TED Talks person!

Will organize a viewing party ASAP.

Thanks for working through the fear for us.

Love & RRRevolution, Tracey

Nubby Tongue
12 years ago

Alas, I don’t think my TV-less studio apartment is suitable for hosting a viewing party. =[
I can attend one, though!

12 years ago

How awesome is that! How awesome are you!! I will do my best to be watching, I am just in awe at how much you have done and achieved. You are truly inspiring.

12 years ago

Very exciting. I’m sure you’ll do well.

Jay Sinha
12 years ago

This is stupendous, Beth! What an amazing opportunity. I totally agree that if it’s scary, yup, it’s probably worth doing, and I know I need to heed that too. We are TOTALLY behind you and cheering you on and supporting you and all the others at the Plastic Pollution Coalition – what a great line up of speakers. You will be amazing! Others have said it and I’ll say it again, just be your genuine, lovable self. Just tell people about your life. Your example is leading and inspiring us all. We’re in the process of organizing a viewing party in our community. We’ll be sending as much positive energy as we can muster out your way. And if you forget what to say, just smile like you always do and take a deep breath – the universe will smile back at you.


12 years ago

Sorry – sent that too early. Also wanted to share this on bioplastics:

12 years ago

Ummm, good luck with that!

Michelle Cassar
12 years ago

Woo! You can have the confidence, knowing you are actually DOING it rather than just TALKING it.

Do you know what time you will be speaking? I’m in Europe so will need the time so I know it’s not gunna be in the middle of the night before I arrange a viewing!

Love Michelle x

12 years ago

This is such an awesome news!
What a great opportunity to a well deserved activist! You WILL ROCK that stage and the audience will listen and LOVE you as we all do. You have nothing to worry about and everything you’ll say will not be in vain.

And YES, we will definitely hold a HUGE viewing party!

You go woman!! I am so thrilled to know you and have met you!

Now, go break a leg on that stage! {sort of}

12 years ago

YOU GO GIRL! That is just fantastic! We saw you speak at the Earth Resources Conference in Orange County a couple of years ago and you were great. Very informative and inspirational. We will definitely spread the word with family and friends as well as our members of San Clemente Green. Keep up the good work! You have a huge following that is supporting you and your efforts all the way!

Anna@Green Talk
12 years ago

Way to go Beth! Give us Green Moms a Shout out!!! Let the whole world know about how nasty plastic is. Just be your lovable self.

And If you get nervous, just think the audience is in their underwear. Okay, nude. That should make you chuckle…

12 years ago

Way to go Beth~
Awesome and I will be joyful to spread the word~
I am thrilled for you and everyone who will hear your message and spread the word~
You are so good for this world~
Thank you~


12 years ago

Woo-hoo! You GO ON with your bad self!

12 years ago

Way to go, Beth!

And I have to say, it’s oddly reassuring to know that we all feel scared by these things. It makes me feel less alone, as I quake in my own boots.

12 years ago

wow!!! way to go :)..looking forward to seeing you on TED!!!!!

Graham Meriwether
12 years ago


Very exciting, very exciting :)

12 years ago

WOW! This is FABULOUS Beth! I am very excited for you and cannot wait to hear you on TED! I’ve put the word out and will have a little party here.

Thank you for continuing to go above and beyond your comfort level to get the critical issue of plastic waste in our environment ~ you are truly a champion . . .

12 years ago

Hi Beth!
Wow, so excited to hear that you’ll be doing a TEDx talk, and in my area too! Is this event open to the public? I can’t find any information about ticketing on the website.

Congratulations! Work through that fear and you’ll find your courage!

12 years ago

OMG ::: Beth, it’s official: you’re my personal HERO!! What an amazing amazing thing and no-one deserves it more than you for everything you’ve done and sacrificed over the past three years. YOU ROCK! xxx

Chantal Plamondon
12 years ago


That is wonderful news! We will definitely host a viewing party. We wish you all the best for that evening. You are such an inspiration. Everything will go well. Just speak from you heart like you always do. I look forward to it!

– Chantal @