TEDx Talk – Taking Care

Weaving together global events and his personal story, Walter Hossli dispels the illusion of independence and the need to learn about interdependence asking all of us to take care of the global family.

This talk was one of my favourites because of the genuine care he took in preparing for the talk. He will be the first to admit that it was a stretch for him to stand on the stage. Nevertheless, the message was so important that he felt he had to share it.

A Man for All Students

If you are a high school student looking to post-secondary education, you should talk to this guy. He’s a gem of an individual in Calgary who is open and willing to help any youth who wants to pursue higher level schooling.

Rahim interviews Ameer in this exclusive TEDx video footage. If you’d like to contact him, drop me an email at chris@uventure.net.

Wilderness Survival for City Slickers

Last weekend a friend and I decided a few months ago to get some hands-on experience with wilderness survival in backcountry Alberta. No sleeping bag, no tent, no thermorest, or blanket. Just our clothes, knife, kit and wit.

Here were the parameters of our challenge to ourselves:

Are we motivated by some “Into the Wild” romantic notion of escaping civilization and living off the land? I am sure there is an ancient desire in us to play the game of life hunting, stalking food, but also to be hunted and stalked.

Unfortunately, while the desire is alive and well, the skills have long been forgotten in my generation of city dwellers. YouTube is where I have to go now to learn how to skin a squirrel. So here was a chance to practice and test out our skills. The results of our trip:

For me, I wanted to revisit the fundamentals of life, to appreciate what civilization gives me and also what civilization depends on. In the one wilderness survival course I took, I felt that it was a visceral and real experience.

Not that life in the city isn’t real, but it can be hard to tell the difference. Documents are signed, meetings are held, events planned… but its importance seems minuscule or so we think. In the wilderness, what you do matters. Your survival is a struggle between your understanding of reality and reality itself.

Out there, civilization seemed an insect to the elephant that is nature. The earth was an infinite sink of coldness where the sky rained down misfortune even as the mossy forests inspired a moment’s pause from everything in my life.

Isn’t it funny that this is what it takes to remind me that civilization is like that first band of human beings that fought for survival. Life is on the edge. Our survival is always on the edge. And it doesn’t matter if we stop paying attention or get caught up in the latest television show, nature still trumps civilization.

TEDxCalgary – An Ocean in Crisis

Here’s another important talk we shot at TEDxCalgary. Alanna Mitchell’s talk about dead zones in the ocean reminds me that the argument about whether climate change is human-made or not is a frustratingly trivial argument. We have an impact on our oceans, on the forests, on the air. One only needs to pay attention to the drastic change in the carrying capacity of the earth.

And even if one hasn’t read articles or knows anything about climate change, a simple math equation should suffice. Take anything we do or rely upon and multiply that by seven billion.

Just pointing out the obvious.

TEDxCalgary Judge John Reilly

This was one of the most moving talks we filmed at the TEDxCalgary event about a judge who came to understand more deeply what justice is all about. His talk illustrates the difference between institutional understanding and deep understanding. Where Judge John Reilly took the time to be curious about the problems at the Morley Reserve, the legal system relied on protocols and procedures rather than any real understanding of the issue. This is one of the underlying issues for all institutions.

Here is one quotable I want to highlight:

“They (the First Nations) saw wrong doing as ignorance, in need of teaching, and illness in need of healing.”

Compare this compassionate and thoughtful approach to the current government approach where justice is a matter of punishment and deterrence. Just about every other country including the US has figured out that this approach does not work.

But, our appetite for easy answers based on surface understanding knows no bounds.

Something worth thinking about.