Apr 222012
Authors: Jason Pohl

A dozen leaders and thinkers from across the sustainability spectrum will take part in the first-ever TEDxCSU discussion at 2 p.m. today at the Fort Collins Lincoln Center.

The event is expected to sell out, with any remaining tickets available online at www.fcgov.com/lctix. The cost for regular admission is $12.

Though technically independent of the wildly-popular TED talks, the intent of “Growing Greener Generations” hinges on the same idea –– to spark dialogue and move a conversation forward. Speakers include scientists specializing in energy production, renowned authors, a 15-year-old who plans to change the world, CSU’s own Temple Grandin and former Colorado Gov. Bill Ritter.

“In the political dialogue, too often what we see is people who adopt the party line,” said Ritter, director of the Center for the New Energy Economy at CSU. “There’s little room for real debate, real thought and a real discussion. I think TED is this opportunity to do that in this vast array of sectors.”

Ritter will kick off the afternoon by leading a bike parade from the CSU Oval to the Lincoln Center, located at 417 W. Magnolia St.

The Center for the New Energy Economy aims to bridge a “political chasm” that often forms when leaders discuss the future of energy and the role of science, policy and political gain.

“If we just made this about the issues … I think we’d be in a lot better spot,” Ritter said, emphasizing the pivotal role CSU and these discussions play in moving the conversation forward. He added the history as an agricultural school really contributes to the movement. He said the areas of water, food and energy are dependent on each other, throwing CSU to the forefront of the issues with some of the country’s leaders in each area.

“We wind up being in this sweet spot,” he said. “This is meaningful work, and we have this ability to influence the national debate.”

Though a lot of the afternoon will be spent listening to 18-minute-long presentations – the standard for TED talks –– the crux comes from when the mics turn off and people can share reactions.

More than 50 applications were received by leaders and visionaries, but only 12 spots were available, according the event organizer Hannah Toole, a journalism major at CSU.

Toole said the idea to put together the event came after attending a similar conference in Denver last April. She said at first, the idea was to bring some community leadership and thinkers together to a small crowd.

Now nearly 1,200 tickets have been sold.

“During the entire event your head is just rushing with ideas. You feel inspired –– empowered. You leave wanting to create change and take action in your community,” Toole said.

What makes this event unique is that most TED talks are organized by full-time event planners – not busy college students. This makes the presentation, which has seen runaway anticipation, extra special to Toole.

“(It) gives us a unique opportunity to develop our event around our generation’s values and vision for the future,” Toole said.

She added that, pending a successful inaugural event, work and volunteers are already being called on for a similar event next year. A complete line-up of events and more information about the year-long project is available online at tedxcsu.wordpress.com.

Senior Reporter Jason Pohl can be reached at news@collegian.com.

“Growing Greener Generations” event highlights
Where: Lincoln Center
When: 2 p.m.
More information and a complete speaker lineup available at tedxcsu.wordpress.com

Temple Grandin: Animal expert, autism awareness advocate
Bill Ritter: Former Governor, director of Center for New Energy Economy
Hunter Lovins: Sustainability and businesses icon, Time magazine’s “Hero of the Planet” in 2000
Sanjukta Santra: 15-year-old student hoping to end world hunger
Shermin de Silva: Elephant expert and CSU post-doc student
Amy Prieto: CSU professor changing future of battery power
Stephanie Barr: Sustainability and building design expert
David Firth: Author discussing the use of language in a “green” world

 Posted by at 3:24 pm

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