Bringing back the woolly mammoth -- TEDxChristchurch 2016
Bringing back the woolly mammoth -- TEDxChristchurch 2016: 360º is bringing the past to the present.
• Topics at TEDxChristchurch 2016 include de-extinction, the use of “waste” in architecture, and the restoration of New Zealand’s bird population
• Story about Cacophony Project timely in light of Predator-Free New Zealand initiative
• Youth memberships sold out
• Creative new TEDxChristchurch Village
You don’t need a ticket to Jurassic Park to experience a bygone time. This year TEDxChristchurch is transporting attendees to the past to make a difference for the future. From the resurrection of species to the revival of discarded wind turbines for playgrounds to the restoration of New Zealand’s bird population, TEDxChristchurch 2016 has it all, minus the dinosaurs.
Today, TEDxChristchurch announced the next four speakers in the 2016 lineup: Dr. Amy Fletcher, Jos de Krieger, Sophie Rea and Grant Ryan.
We’re taught that extinction is forever – but scientists today are proving otherwise. Dr Amy Fletcher, associate professor in political science at the University of Canterbury is looking into the big questions around “bringing back” extinct species. As just one example, we’ve nearly completed sequencing the woolly mammoth genome and it is only a matter of time before scientists have the ability to “revive” extinct species, including the giant sloth, the saber-toothed tiger and New Zealand’s own giant moa.
Dr Fletcher’s research and teaching, focused on life sciences and biotechnology, have helped shaped our understanding of wildlife, nature, animals, the role humankind has to play with de-extinction and whether we should be raising creatures of the Ice Age back from the dead. Are we overstepping the field of science? What will become of our conservation efforts if we know there’s a backhand solution? And how far will resurrection go before we’re in the realm of dark arts?
Aiming to intervene before de-extinction becomes necessary, the ‘addicted inventor’ Grant Ryan is putting his energy into helping make New Zealand predator-free with The Cacophony Project. The creator of Eurekster, YikeBike and PurePods is harnessing yet more Kiwi ingenuity, using artificial intelligence and big data to eliminate pests and restore New Zealand’s bird population to its former glory. As James Cook’s botanist Joseph Banks explained, the singing of the birds ashore was the “most melodious wild musick [he’d] ever heard… the most tuneable silver sound imaginable.” Ryan is inventing new ways to bring back that soundtrack.
Further improving the quality of our environment, Netherlands-based Jos de Krieger and the team from Superuse Studios cleverly manipulate the disused into the useful, leaving nothing to spare. One of the team’s most publicised projects turned recycled wind turbine blades into a children’s playground. Five discarded rotor blades were cut up and into parts to serve as tunnels, towers, bridges, hills, ramps and slides. de Krieger and his team have reused other locally sourced ‘waste’: PVC cable reels into multipurpose storage, airplane seatbelts into fashion accessories – even a whole house made entirely of “waste” materials. de Krieger and his partners are pushing the boundaries of design and building methods while promoting the idea that sustainability, functionality and creativity all go hand in hand.
Finally, slam poet Sophie Rea is an up-and-comer to listen to. Taking out first place in the Christchurch Poetry Slam competition and the Rising Voices National Slam, Sophie will win your heart over as she did ours at TEDxYouth@AvonRiver in 2015. One of TEDxChristchurch’s youngest performers, Sophie reminds us that everyone has a story, and she conveys her message with power and conviction. Her words are beautiful to listen to while holding deep meaning and important lessons for society.
Following the highly successful return to the CBD last year, TEDxChristchurch 2016: 360º will take place on 29 October at TEDxChristchurch Village, encompassing the iconic Isaac Theatre Royal and surrounding area. This year, the Village expands to include the new Centre for Music and Arts, The Piano, around the corner.
Youth memberships sold out within days but General Memberships are still available. The all-day event costs $189.00, which alongside the inspiring talks includes delicious food, the famous goodie bag, entertainment, free espresso all day, and more.
The non-profit event is choreographed by a dedicated team of more than 40 local volunteers.
Full speaker bios
Dr. Amy Fletcher
Amy Fletcher is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science and International Relations at the University of Canterbury, who specializes in science, technology and environmental politics. Prior to moving to New Zealand to take up a Lecturer's post in 2000, she worked as a Legislative Assistant in the United States House of Representatives on telecommunications and technology issues. Born in Huntsville, Alabama, because her Dad worked on the Moon test rockets in the 1960s, she has a lifelong interest in the public dimensions of technology. She recently published Mendel's Ark: Biotechnology and the Future of Extinction (2014) and is currently working on a project that analyzes the implications of artificial intelligence and robotics for the future of employment in the United States. She is the Associate Editor of Politics and Life Sciences Journal (Cambridge University Press) and an expert panel member for TechCast Global, based in Washington, D.C.
Superuse Studios – Turning available flows and resources into urban ecosystems.
At Superuse Studios we believe we can make a difference. We think ingenious, beautiful and functional architectural and social design solutions can be created using existing resources, materials and systems. Everything is already there, we just have to see and utilise it. In this way we can transform to a sustainable society and limit the environmental impact of architecture and design. To make optimal use of locally sourced ‘waste’ in new design solutions is what we call SUPERUSE. Functionality, sustainability and aesthetics are our guiding principles.
Since 2006 Jos de Krieger has been working in the field of architecture, especially innovative architecture and design made from leftover and waste materials. After his graduation at TU Delft he joined Superuse Studios (former 2012Architecten) to push the boundaries of architecture beyond traditional building methods into cyclical processes.
Sophie Rea is a youth worker, performer, writer, and top procrastinator from Ōtautahi, Aotearoa. Sophie is one of the co-ordinators of Faultline Poetry Collective – an initiative started to promote the poetry and creative writing of young people in our city. Sophie is a big fan of adventures, purple jellybeans, storytelling and a nice cup of tea. Sophie was the Christchurch poetry Slam Champion in 2014, and winner of the Rising Voices National Slam, as well as a speaker at TEDxYouth@Avon River, both in 2015.
Grant is a hopelessly addicted inventor. He has founded a number of companies including GlobalBrain.net (sold to NBCi), Real Contacts (sold to Intel), SLI Systems (listed NZX) and Eurekster, YikeBike and Pure Pods. He is now having fun trying to help make NZ predator free with The Cacophony Project. He has also served on the board of the New Zealand Government's $140 million Venture Investment Fund, $430 million Foundation for Research Science and Technology. Grant has a degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Ecological Economics from the University of Canterbury.
About TEDx, x= independently organised
In the spirit of ideas worth spreading, TEDx is a program of local, self-organised events that bring people together to share a TED-like experience. At a TEDxevent, TED Talks video and live speakers combine to spark deep discussion and connection. These local, self-organised events are branded TEDx, where x = independently organised TED event. The TED Conference provides general guidance for the TEDx program, but individual TEDx events are self-organised. (Subject to certain rules and regulations).
TED is a nonprofit organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading, usually in the form of short, powerful talks (18 minutes or less) delivered by today’s leading thinkers and doers. Many of these talks are given at TED’s annual conference in Vancouver, British Columbia, and made available, free, on TED.com. TED speakers have included Bill Gates, Jane Goodall, Elizabeth Gilbert, Sir Richard Branson, Nandan Nilekani, Philippe Starck, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Sal Khan and Daniel Kahneman.
TED’s open and free initiatives for spreading ideas include TED.com, where new TED Talk videos are posted daily; the Open Translation Project, which provides subtitles and interactive transcripts as well as translations from thousands of volunteers worldwide; the educational initiative TED-Ed; the annual million-dollar TED Prize, which funds exceptional individuals with a “wish”, or idea, to create change in the world; TEDx, which provides licenses to thousands of individuals and groups who host local, self-organised TED-style events around the world; and the TED Fellows program, which selects innovators from around the globe to aplify the impact of their remarkable projects and activities.
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