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Live Blog From TEDxAtlanta, RE:SOLVE

Enough talk. What are the solutions?

Ten amazing speakers — each of whom is part of an active effort to solve a modern problem — will make this last TEDxAtlanta of 2010 a true call to action. We'll learn about the ingenuity, the boldness, the workarounds, the setbacks and the small-step-forward successes involved with tackling significant issues.

5:55p: The Modern Skirts 'Plugged'

4:10p: Anne Millings, Women of the Storm / Be The One Campaign

  • New Orleans was under water for weeks, not days.
  • Where was the leadership?
  • Less than 50 US senators and representatives visited New Orleans as of January 2006.
  • A group of women banded together and knocked on every door in DC inviting them to visit.
  • In 20 days, 140 women headed to DC.
  • Why women? Women are persistent, women are compassionate, women are caring.
  • If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman.
  • Took blue tarp umbrellas everywhere, and became media heros.
  • Got money for the levees, and had money allocated for rebuilding.
  • But nothing on coastal reconstruction.
  • Women returned to DC.
  • Government set aside a portion of offshore oil taxes to rebuild the coast, but the program doesn't begin until 2017.
  • Building levees on the Mississippi inadvertantly broke the annual cycle of wetlands and the Delta.
  • You can't have salt water in the marsh. The fresh water from the river serves this purpose – without the levee.
  • Louisiana loses a football field of wetlands every 50 minutes.
  • Wetlands are the "speed bump" for hurricanes.
  • Louisiana produces one third of the seafood.
  • One third of the domestic energy comes from Louisiana.
  • The Mississippi carries 40% of US commerce.
  • Everything at risk *before* the oil spill.
  • What would the Women of the Storm do?
  • We're going viral, and 'that's not a disease'.
  • Created a video (see below).
  • Gotten 130,000 signatures so far.
  • Goal is 250,000.
  • She wants to wrap the White House in the signatures, but that's probably an issue.

4:10p: Sam Williams, Metro Atlanta Chamber

  • Lots of stories of poor decision making by CEOs.
  • A 150-year history of Atlanta in one minute.
  • Key was business executives working with government leaders.
  • These execs are "Urban Statesmans".
  • Grady as a case study.
  • Many metro hospitals concerned about 'patient tsunami' impact of Grady closing.
  • Tom Bell, Pete Correll and Michael Russell stepped in.
  • Grady now runs in the black following over $300M in funding.
  • Water as a case study.
  • John Brock and Tom Lowe appointed to chair Water Contingency Task Force.
  • Penalty: $27B loss to businesses each year if nothing is done.
  • Still working on the problem, but the task force is making headway in the legislature.
  • Five Principles of Urban Statesman: 1) issue is at a tipping point; 2) Choose a strong leader; 3) find the facts; 4) communicate the consequences; and 5) create a simple, clear action plan.
  • Who among you will be an Urban Statesman?

4:10p: Jim Hartzfeld, InterfaceRAISE

  • Chemical engineering background, MBA, treehugger, enthusiatic capitalist.
  • Works for a carpet company, and ended up spinning our a sustainability consulting business.
  • Viewing sustainability through the lens of business.
  • All started with an obnoxious customer.
  • Book: The Ecology of Commerce by Paul Hawken.
  • When you see the world differently, you do things differently.
  • To affect a change in a system, challenge the paradigms behind the system.
  • You can't push people into sustainabilty, but once you enter you can never leave (Hotel California style).
  • Huge difference between curing sickness and creating health.
  • "Human history proves the cure for poverty is industry. The problem is we now need a cure for industry."

3:50p: Tad Leithead, Atlanta Regional Commission

  • Atlanta: 100 Years and We're Halfway There.
  • In 1960, Atlanta was the same size as Birmingham, ~700,000 people.
  • And then came the Eisenhower Interstate Act.
  • Martin Luther King decided Atlanta would be the center of the civil rights movement.
  • William Hartsfield built a world-class airport.
  • Billy Payne brought the 1996 Olympics.
  • All started by a single individual.
  • ARC's role is to create a 30-year transportation plan.
  • Laying out Fifty Forward, the vision for the next 50 years.
  • Priority One: Water
  • Priority Two: Aging Services (20% of our population will be over 65 in 20 years).
  • Priority Three: Transportation (We have the longest commute times in the nation. We have a $200B deficit for transpotation improvements in the next 20 years.)
  • Priority Four: Education (SAT scores down almost 30% over the last two years.)
  • Priority Five: Vision
  • We need people putting passion into action.
  • "I have decided to make a difference in Atlanta, Georgia. Where will you make a difference?"

3:15p: Ryan Gravel, Atlanta BeltLine

  • What kind of city do we want to be?
  • Went to GA Tech.
  • A shopping mall shouldn't be the expectation for what a city is.
  • The problem is cultural.
  • Was his graduate thesis in 1999.
  • BeltLine is 22 miles long.
  • Mostly 'forgotten' places is where the lines run.
  • Great response from Councilwoman Cathy Wollard.
  • She pulled Ryan's team in, and helped the project along.
  • Built huge groundswell with politicians and planning committees.
  • Three main components: transportation; economic development and green space.
  • Trust For Public Land doubled the green space.
  • All the players jumped in to improve the project.
  • It's changing the space, and the way we look at our city.

2:00p: Harrison Dillon

  • The way any technology is judged is by how effectively it solves our problems.
  • What's bad about oil? Lots.
  • 2/3 of our oil imported.
  • In 2003, they started a company to create biofuels - oil from micro-algae.
  • Pond based algae creates oil that cost $1000 a gallon.
  • Feed biomass to algae via fermentation to create oil
  • Creates fuel under $1 per gallon.
  • Navy has a huge project to remove bases off petroleum and onboard them to renewable energy sources.
  • Oil companies challenged them to scale.
  • If you can't scale in energy, you're going nowhere.
  • Been scaling for three years.
  • First company ever to deliver renewable fuels to the military.
  • It's takes 10 years to build an energy source.
  • During that time, there are 5 political cycles, which is why we have no comprehensive energy policy.
  • Consumers have to care about where raw materials come from.
  • And assert that we care about solutions beyond the next election cycle.

1:45p: Mills Snowden

  • Competing in the X Prize for the 100 mpg car.
  • Number one selling vehicle in the US: Ford F150
  • Number Two: Chevy Silverado pickup
  • Those vehicles will have to be at 30 mpg by 2020 based on new standards.
  • Technology allows them to double the mileage.
  • Kicked off a six-month research project.
  • Hydrogen is their key.
  • Ran a bunch of prototypes.
  • Entered the XPrize in December 08.
  • Had seven months to make it work.
  • Total volunteer crew, including engineers and scientists.
  • Had to jailbreak the Prius to make their technology work.
  • Out of 111 teams, only 29 made the 'knock-out' round.
  • Didn't make it out of the knock-out round based on technical difficulties.
  • If you have a beneficial idea, act on it.

1:40p: 111 Chair Giveaway

  • Mike Hang wins

1:30p: David Butler, Coca-Cola

  • Thinking big.
  • Grew up surfing in Florida, with a small expectation of a 'big wave'.
  • Coke has 14 billion-dollar brands.
  • In 206 countries.
  • 500 brands.
  • 900,000 employees
  • 50m customers
  • 1.6b servings daily.
  • What do you do when the waves get big in your business?
  • Wicked problems can only be solved by design.
  • Think they can double the size if their juice business by 2020.
  • Wealth is shifting from West to East.
  • By 2020, 1/3 of the earth's population will be teenagers.
  • Food is moving toward liquid.
  • Working with Brazilian growers to make sure here's enough pulp to create the juice to double the business.
  • Need to understand the business horizontally.
  • Shot images of 400 fruits.
  • Build systems, not solutions.
  • 'We all win when we think big about design'

1:05p: Daron 'Farmer D' Joffe

  • Designs gardens in urban spaces.
  • Teaches people how to grow food.
  • Soil is the key to good food.
  • Plants are like humans: Eat well, grow well.
  • Drip irrigation is a key element that's also green friendly.
  • But why should you grow a garden?
  • First asked the question after considering the origin of his turkey sandwich.
  • Could have easily traveled 3000 miles and left a trail of fossil fuel waste.
  • 1 of 3 bites of food you take depend directly on bee pollination.
  • Ammonium nitrate runoff poisons lakes and other waterways.
  • America's favorite fertilizer is Afghanistan's favorite explosive.
  • Most people don't when know they're consuming engineered food.
  • Enter biodynamic farming.
  • Kind of like the Farmers Almanac view, plant during specific moon cycles.
  • Chicken manure is great for fertilizing fruit plants.
  • Like we add vitamins to our food, biodynamic farmers add flowers to their compost.
  • Stopped farming and went 'Johnny Appleseed'.
  • Works with Whole Foods to recycle and compost their waste.
  • Creates gardens at schools, at prisons, with anyone.
  • Gardens teach about the heart and soul of food.

12:45p: Logan Smalley, Darius Goes West

  • Filmmakers can use the freemuim model and 'sideways' marketing.
  • Raising money to build awareness for MD.
  • Raise awareness via selling bracelets and DVDs.
  • They give away the DVD to every educator, and offer a Skype chat with Darius if they raise more than $100 for MD research.
  • 1 in 5 raises more than $100.

12:25p: The Modern Skirts

  • The Modern Skirts kick-off TEDxAtlanta with a great four-song unplugged set.
  • Drums on a old suitcase.
  • The Modern Skirts will return for an electric set later today.

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