TEDxMeritAcademy features fresh ideas from our student body, faculty, and local community. Every Merit student creates a ProjectMERIT and selected students debut their projects at our TEDxMeritAcademy events. By sharing ideas and developing programs to improve and sustain life on earth, we hope to intrigue, inspire, and innovate one another and our audience!
What is TEDx?
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TED has created a program called TEDx. TEDx is a program of local, self-organized events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. Our event is called TEDx[name], where x = independently organized TED event. At our TEDx[name] event, TEDTalks video and live speakers will combine to spark deep discussion and connection in a small group. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events, including ours, are self-organized.
This independent TEDx event is operated under the license from TED.
“Can individual people reduce CO2 enough to ward off climate change?” by Logan Conover
When natural disasters start to happen is the real question behind climate change, not if they will happen. People have already started to see the consequences of rising CO2 levels, with the 2-degree temperature rise and global CO2 levels passing 404 parts per million (ppm). Let’s discuss an easy and practical solution that we can all embrace.
About Logan Conover:
Logan Conover founded When, Not If…, a non-profit organization that educates people about their carbon emissions, the positive feedback loop, and easy solutions to reducing CO2 in the atmosphere. He stumbled across climate change when he learned that many congressmen/women were denying its existence. This frustrated Logan because he couldn’t understand why people wouldn’t believe 99% of the scientists who state that climate change is real with proof that it is real. Logan realized that he needed to something fast and he needed to make it easy, so he created When, Not If… to share facts with people and get the world to take action against climate change.
“How to stop overpopulation before we reach 10 billion people on Earth” by Pascal Costa
Overpopulation is a huge problem. We have too many people, and because of our immense growth experienced in the last century, we are experiencing new problems. Because of overpopulation, we have recklessly produced dirty energy and destroyed fertile land to meet the needs of our ever-expanding population. Forests have been decimated in order to make room for farmland and to produce lumber. We have exploited natural resources such as soil, water minerals, oil, and coal because we have grown dependent on them. As a result of our growing numbers and exploitation of natural resources, we have caused the extinction of 130 mammal species, and have endangered 250 species. Today, about 1000 species are now threatened. Through overpopulation, we have increased pollution, consumption, and the deterioration of land. There’s a simple way to reduce the world’s population and I’ll share my idea with you.
About Pascal Costa:
Pascal Costa founded Preventing OverPopulation, a non-profit organization that educates child-bearing people about how their decisions to have children directly affect the world. She has presented her project at the Earth Day Santa Cruz festival and she was interviewed on Earth Watch Radio. Pascal recently graduated from high school and plans to continue to advocate for population control in college.
“Creating a grassroots movement to inspire change” by Hannah Faris
Hannah will be presenting with David Vasquez an exciting advance in environmentally protective technology that can help alleviate and reverse the effects of global warming. She will be focusing on the grassroots movement that will help launch the technology in communities throughout the United States by developing Kids4Hydrogen chapters in each state.
About Hannah Faris:
Hannah Faris is a young environmentalist who became president of Kids 4 Hydrogen when she was a junior in high school. She created the white board video that describes how converting internal combustion engines to use a liquid hydrogen fuel can stop climate change.
“What if there actually IS an energy ‘magic bullet’?” by David Vasquez
David Vasquez is going to challenge the cliched notion in the energy world that “there no ‘magic bullets’. There’s a breakthrough energy technology from an engineer-scientist-inventor in Arizona named Roy McAlister. He’s developed a new liquid fuel for both motor vehicles and power plants called METROL that is typically made from garbage and sewage and is not only clean, safe, affordable, unlimited in supply, and 100% clean, but actually cleans the air around it. The implications for both climate change, environment, and world economic prosperity in general are profound.
About David Vasquez:
David Vasquez is a college instructor, book author, computer-graphic specialist, and filmmaker who is focused on renewable energy and sustainable urban design. He has a doctorate degree mixing cognitive science with science education and he wrote a book about next-generation solar-hydrogen railway-systiems. His professional role has been as VISUALIZER of outside-the-box environmental solutions. He uses this craft both (a) as an independent consultant to public planning agencies in the SF Bay Area, and (b) to educate graduate students in a Landscape Design Dept. (Academy of Art University, SF) about how to create emotionally-engaging promotional images of proposed public projects.
“The Sky’s the Limit: Pathways to SOLUTIONS” by Joe Jordan
The gigantic numbers making up humanity, face huge problems like never before. Solving our way out of this mess will require revolutions in both technical prowess and in morality, fairness and compassion with which we treat one another. It is time for the “sleeping giant” of the MANY, to wake up, take heart, and lead. Here we highlight promising actions that we all can DO to save some semblance of a caring civilization and a hospitable natural environment. “Magic communications”, re-inventing the media from the ground up, can enhance awareness & intelligence as our species grows some wisdom.
About Joe Jordan:
Joe Jordan did atmospheric and space research at NASA/Ames and the SETI Institute (Mountain View) for decades, studying the two largely unrelated problems of stratospheric ozone depletion and tropospheric climate change. Since then he’s been working on solutions, involving education and training (for a new “green workforce”, etc.), and media outreach. He has long been on the Board of Directors of Ecology Action of Santa Cruz, and was the main driver steering that organization toward its present multi-million-dollar enterprise of promoting and implementing energy and water efficiency throughout California. He initiated the large installations of solar-electric (“PV”) systems on several of the Santa
Cruz City Schools, as well as the very first PV systems ever to be located on public buildings in that town. Joe is currently co-hosting a new radio-show/podcast-series/social-media-enterprise called “Planet Watch” on KSCO.
“Japanese Incarceration vs Muslim Racism” by Mas Hashimoto
Remember when the American government unjustly incarcerated 120,000 persons of Japanese ancestry, most of whom were American citizens, during WWII? Mas Hashimoto will compare how Japanese American incarceration during WWII and the massive discrimination of Muslims post 9-11 are both founded in hate and racism. Learn how “Make America Great Again” really translates to “Make America White Again.” Learn about what you can do to stop this form of racism and take active steps to protect everyone’s civil and human rights.
About Mas Hashimoto:
Mas Hashimoto was a child when his family was taken from their Watsonville home in 1942. He was sent to a federal prisoner of war camp during WWII because of racism, war hysteria, and political leadership failure. Mas taught US History in the Pajaro Valley Unified School District until his retirement. He speaks to groups of students about the wartime experience of Japanese Americans during WWII to ensure that this injustice never repeats itself again. Mas also headed the Re-enactment of the Incarceration of Japanese Americans during WWII: “Liberty Lost; Lessons in Loyalty” in 2002, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Watsonville-Santa Cruz chapter Japanese American Citizens League.
“What if you built a river in a classroom?” by Gregory Gavin
Artist Gregory Gavin set out to use the engaging properties of water to invigorate public life and ended up creating a new kind of classroom. Only in a world with consequences, he argues, can children truly be engaged, take on responsibility and become creative agents.
About Gregory Gavin:
Gregory Gavin is an artist, inventor and educator. He founded Riveropolis in 2004 to design, build, install and facilitate innovative water play environments and to bring design experiences to schools, museums and neighborhoods. Since the 1991 his projects — ranging from woodworking to filmmaking, to interactive waterworks — have engaged a diversity of participants to both create and exhibit work in public places. His work has been particularly successful in overcoming the obsessive segregation of children, teen and adult activities into separate realms in a way that he feels damages the transfer of inter-generational knowledge and discovery. Gavin has been commissioned by National Endowment for the Arts, the de Young Museum, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, the Seattle Public Art Program and the Bay Area Discovery Museum. He has taught at the California College of the Arts and is a California Arts Council Fellow.
“Supermassive black holes: the most powerful objects in the universe” by Martin Gaskell
Have you ever wondered whether black holes exist? And if so, how do astronomers study them? What would it be like to be close to a black hole? UCSC astrophysicist Dr. Martin Gaskell has spent his career studying what happens around supermassive black holes in the centers of distant galaxies. He explains in simple, everyday language recent progress in understanding what is going on around these extraordinary objects as they eat up matter around them.
About Martin Gaskell:
Martin Gaskell is a researcher in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at UCSC. He has over four decades of experience working on issues related to supermassive black holes (including a Ph.D.), a couple of hundred publications, and many research grants. He was a finalist for five years in a row for top teaching award at the University of Nebraska. Martin also engages in many popular talks to the public.
“How we can stop the flow of plastic pollution into our oceans?” by Tim Niemier
We need healthy oceans, but we can’t give up our plastic. Maybe there’s a way that we can have healthy oceans and still use plastic. If we create value for recycled plastic as a new resource, we can prevent it from harming our life-sustaining oceans. Tim will discuss a clever way of combining great worldwide designs with an inexpensive local recycling process that can stop the flow of plastics into our oceans.
About Tim Niemier:
Tim’s goal in life is to put “A billion butts in boats in healthy water.” He is the founder and designer/entrepreneur who introduced the sit-on- top Ocean Kayak to the world. These kayaks revolutionized all paddle sports because it made kayaking water-friendly. Bringing millions of people into the water makes them appreciate the delicate balance of our eco systems. Tim was 100% responsible for all post-consumer waste and pioneered product stewardship in the water-sport industry and other endeavors. He also continues to lead many environmental organizations with creative and sustainable innovations. Tim enjoys finding solutions to cleaning the ocean using resource management and recycling.
“Redreaming Democracy – From Plato’s Cave to Folktopian Visions” by Allen Green
Applying brain science, explore how IDEAS about SELF, TIME, LIBERTY, and the GOOD LIFE inform everything we do in society – by shaping our expectations, interactions, institutions, professions and politics. Detecting an emerging ethos, see how new memes are transforming social norms by freeing creativity at ascending scales, from classrooms to communities, companies, and cities. Imagining what’s coming next…envision future schools, homes, banks, farms, jails, jobs, transport, energy, waste, recreation, religion and more!
About Allen Green:
Futurist Allen Dale Green, like his namesake in Robin Hood’s band, is a musical messenger of fresh facts, timeless truths, and promising potentials for a more just society. Banned from high school as leader of The Drones rock band, Allen went on to earn multiple graduate degrees and teach creative college courses ranging from Green Cities to Creative Collaboration and Visionary Multicultural Leadership. His professional projects serve as action research on how to open participation in every phase of community design and development to enrich civic life. Merging learning theory with game design and green planning, he shares a wealth of ways to upgrade self-governance in accord with multi-disciplinary research as well as cross-cultural wisdom traditions. Allen invites us to extend our empathy, heed intuition, and tend ethical imagination to envision brighter futures together.