i have spent my morning cleaning, doing laundry, ironing, and listening to ted talks, which is such a wonderful website about 'ideas worth sharing' and if you have not already taken a perusal through their wonderful videoed lectures (there is an iphone application too for when i am at work!), here are a few talks that struck a nerve or a chord with me this morning, take a look if you have some free time.
i have never been a fan of wwf, but its vp who deals with corporate social responsibility and sustainability makes a number of good connections and conclusions about third party verifications, the challenges of putting the decision on sustainable consumption on the consumer, and highlights some success stories of how changes have been made in industries without our even knowing.
i recently went to a lecture by alan knight of the virgin group (of richard branson fame) around third party verification in the forestry industry and what the oilsands of alberta can learn from that experience. and this was a really nice compliment to that information and is something, to a very brief degree, contend with in my day job.
jason clay: how big brands can help save biodiversity
steve jobs gave a commencement address at stanford in 2005 and i absolutely love his message and the story of how he got his start and then kept moving. i did not realise that he was an adopted child and that he had been publicly fired from apple years ago. moving and inspiring and a great reminder not to dwell on negative even if it is difficult to suspend judgement in the moment. (and something i direly need to be reminded of in 2010.)
steve jobs: how to live before you die
new york senator diane j savino makes the case for the legalisation of same sex marriage and while i don't necessarily agree with her perspective that even same sex couples should have the right to be as miserable as everyone else as i believe that it doesn't matter what the result of a marriage, all consenting adults should have access to the institution (although i do understand that this line of argumentation might be a line that resonates the best with those whose opinions in the senate she was attempting to influence), i completely agree with her take on the role of government in marriage in a democratic state.
diane j savino: the case for same sex marriage
two people speak about choice and they both have really valuable insight into how western developed countries can be improved and deteriorated by the powers associated with choice.
malcolm gladwell speaks to an audience about how to ask the question of what people want in different ways to get more accurate information with the intent of keeping people happy by offering them more choice.
malcolm gladwell: spaghetti sauce
alternatively, and more to my line of thinking on this concept, is barry schwartz who wrote a book entitled the paradox of choice, which i have been meaning to read for years. he speaks to the idea that the more choices we have, the less satisfied we are with the selection with ultimately make. i know that this is true for me - when i go to a restaurant with a huge menu i get overwhelmed and am never happy with my final choice because what could it have been like if i picked something else. for this reason alone, i like eating at fancier restaurants who dictate the menu and refuse to allow substitutions.
schwartz connects the reduction in satisfaction with higher levels of depression and anxiety and i certainly know this is the case for me. i feel as though there is so much i could do, but where do i start and how to pick what to do? he uses the example of young people getting married and the selection of a mate, which also resonated with me for the same reasons as the lengthy menus as how we cherish and respect freedom not for what it gives us or what it can allow us to do for ourselves, but simply because freedom in and of itself is valuable. and i am not always so sure this is the case. watch it and see what he says about shifting the blame in the medical community and why we might not always be the best person to make decisions for ourselves.
barry schwartz: the paradox of choice