Innovative Speakers Featured at TEDxBerkeley

Adam Romero/Staff

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On February 19th, Zellerbach Hall held the even known as TEDxBerkeley. It showcased speakers and performers who are all leaders in fresh-thinking and new ideas.

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More than 1,200 people, about half of whom were students, poured into Zellerbach Auditorium Feb. 19 to hear speakers from around the country talk on this year's TEDxBerkeley theme: "Engaging the World."

The all-day event - the second of its kind on campus - was an independently-organized offshoot of Technology Entertainment and Design - a series of conferences that disseminate "ideas worth spreading."

In that vein, Walter Hoods, campus professor of landscape architecture and environmental planning and urban design, explained to the audience exactly why the wilderness - not a park, not a community garden - is so important for urban neighborhoods.

"The green is not scary," he said. "We don't have to control it all the time. Kids need a space to play with the ants, get dirty, hide from their mom and dad."

Other speakers included the director of animation for "The Simpsons," David Silverman, who bounced onto the stage playing a tuba, former president of Oberlin College Robert Fuller, who gave a speech on human dignity that received a standing ovation from a small group in the audience, and sustainability advocate Lopa Brunjes, who spoke about biochar - a type of charcoal that when buried, takes carbon with it, thereby sequestering it for at least a thousand years.

"I thoroughly enjoyed the biochar (talk) ... because it introduced me to new ideas concerning sustainability," said UC Berkeley sophomore Sofie Garden, an integrative biology major. "This, in fact, was the reason I attended TEDx in the first place. As a student, it was a chance for me to take a break from my studies to hear about current social, political and global issues from intelligent, credible sources."

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