These TED talks will help you understand climate change (and why it's such an important issue)

Written by The Climate Reality Project

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With an issue as big as climate change, there's a lot to know and a lot of information out there. Actually, make that a staggering amount of information out there. And we're going to be honest: it can seem a little overwhelming at first.

So if you're trying to get a handle on everything from the latest climate science to breakthroughs in solutions to the universe of acronyms from EVs to the EPA, where do you start? We take the radical position that it never hurts to ask the smartest people you can find on a subject – and there are a lot of really smart people working on climate change. Of course, finding them was one thing, but between the realities of competing time zones and the costs of transatlantic travel, asking them all in person was another.

So we did the next best thing. Below are some TED Talks to give you an overview of what's happening to our planet and what we can do to solve it. Enjoy.


Let's start with the facts. The former director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, James Hansen, lays out the basic science of global warming and why we need to act to address it. Immediately.

From what's happening to our planet to what we can do to adapt. Lawyer Vicki Arroyo challenges us to start preparing for a world where extreme weather is the new normal: "There are no quick fixes. There are no one-size-fits-all solutions. We're all learning by doing. But the operative word is 'doing.'"


"You can't make a peace treaty with a planet. You can't negotiate with the laws of physics . . . This is an enormous opportunity. It's an opportunity which we can use, or it's an opportunity which we can lose."

The father of climate economics, Lord Nicholas Stern, describes the combination of smart planning, structural transformations, and political pressure that mean, "We can make the next hundred years the best of centuries."

"I'm going to tell you how to get the United States completely off oil and coal, 5 trillion dollars cheaper, with no act of Congress, led by business for profit."Innovator and Rocky Mountain Institute Co-Founder Amory Lovins gives a road map for an energy revolution.


First, there's a role for business. If we're going to stop climate change, we need to start investing in the companies that can make a difference. Big time. Legendary Silicon Valley investor John Doerr describes the practical steps to avoiding eco-apocalypse.

Then there's the technology.

"If we can have a grown-up conversation, make a plan that adds up, and get building, maybe this low-carbon revolution will actually be fun." Information theorist David Mackay outlines what it will take to power the planet with clean energy – and why we need to get moving.

Most important, there's hope.

"How many generations in all of human history have had the opportunity to rise to a challenge that is worthy of our best efforts . . . I think we ought to approach this challenge with a sense of profound joy and gratitude." Our chairman, former Vice President Al Gore, brings a global challenge back down to the level of you and I – and dares us to be optimistic.

(And we'll confess that this was one speaker where we had trouble picking just one from numerous TED Talks. To see more, visit Vice President Gore's TED speaker page.)


Where do we go from here? Well, the most important step is securing a strong agreement to cut greenhouse gas emissions at the UN climate negotiations in Paris this December. You can help by speaking up with countless others around the world, all calling on world leaders to take action in Paris.

Follow @ClimateReality on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram for more information on the Climate Reality Project.

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1 Million Women's campaign for Paris is 'You're The Voice'

With a vibe of hope building that the nations of the world will agree on a breakthrough climate change treaty in Paris this December at the UN Climate Conference (COP21), we have an opportunity to influence world leaders in making decisions that will safeguard the world for future generations.

To do this, we've recorded a cover and music video of a much-loved Australian song, turning 'You're the Voice' into a powerful anthem from women for climate action and hope.

Using the power of music, we want to inspire every woman, man or child to ADD THEIR VOICE - #IMTHEVOICE - to our anthem and form a united call to world leaders for strong action on climate change. No matter who you are, you can add your voice!

Will you support our anthem launch? It's as easy as clicking a button.

With your help, it will capture the attention of governments and stand as a clear call for climate action and hope.

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