Bird were honoured to be a TEDxExeter partner once again. We loved sharing our products and story in the breaks, but the best parts were hearing from each of the speakers, sharing ideas that might just change the world.
In this post, we round up some of the key messages we took from the day.
No one is too young to change the world
The day’s speakers represented a range of demographics, including three courageous teenagers.
Izzy Clarkson and Jess Pepperell shared their experience of National Citizen Service. Their project started out labelling items in local supermarkets to help the Exeter food bank get more of the items they were in need of. Their system is now being rolled out nationally by some of the UK’s largest chains!
As Jess quite rightly said, “Young people aren’t waiting to make a difference. We’re making a difference, now.”
Jess Leigh not only gave a live, open Q&A during the afternoon break – helping other young women in the audience with their queries – but also gave an incredibly articulate talk about a very difficult subject.
On street harassment, Jess had these words: “It is never just a comment. It implies a depth of violence, a threat of escalation. It is a power move and it is not okay.”
How we see and treat others can have a huge impact
NHS doctor Chris Turner of Civility Saves Lives completely astounded us with statistics backing up the idea that being nice to people can actually save lives.
“The evidence is that, on average, people exposed to rudeness have a reduction in working memory of approximately 20%.”
“If you prime nurses with rudeness before they check a page of drug calculations they miss 50% more errors.”
Viewpoints can also be influential. “I never thought of disability as a ‘weakness’, or as something that stopped a person from doing anything; because disabled people are people like my mum”, shared Dr Hannah Popsy, whose own disability has led her to become a “roll model” for kids who, like her, use a wheelchair.
Talking and language is so important
“Maybe you ate your friends biscuits or maybe you can’t face getting out of bed in the morning. Whatever it is, share your truth. You just might save a life.”
Those were just some of SK Shlomo’s moving words, set to beatboxing and music. The musician shared his perspective on the importance of airing thoughts and sharing experiences.
Doctor Kat McHale spoke about death, which is perhaps the most difficult subject of all. As someone working in medicine, dying had been part of her professional life but, having been diagnosed with cancer late 2018, is now facing it herself.
Kat reminded us to consider the language we use. For example – “All the talk of fighting, battling, beating cancer – it implies that if you don’t make it you haven’t tried hard enough. As a doctor, and now as a patient, I know that isn’t fair.”
Every little action makes a difference
It’s easy to become disheartened when there’s so much about the world to improve. Do any of these actions actually make any kind of difference?
Naimah Hassan, Programme Director at the Global Media Campaign, spoke about ending FGM (female genital mutilation). Her closing remarks reminded us all of the responsibility we hold in using our voices, every day:
“It’s simply a matter of maths. A numbers game. And in that fight every single one of you can help.”
Kate Salmon, Met Office scientist who rowed the Atlantic with three other women, also put this idea eloquently:
“Just like rowing an ocean, it will take all of us many millions of small strokes to end plastic pollution – but together we can do it, one stroke at a time.”
Not only do we have to think about how far there is to go – it’s important to remember the change already created! Harry Baker and Chris Read, who sang their often humorous messages, gave us respite with the lines:
“…for every step today there is less that’s left to go… they say it’s just a drop in the ocean, as if that’s a reason to stop. Maybe they’ve forgotten the ocean is entirely dependent of drops.”
The whole Bird team had a fabulous time showing our wooden frame sunglasses and customisable prescription frames to the TEDxExeter audiences in the breaks. The message of ethical eyewear matched many people’s aim for the day – to do things that make the world a bit of a better place.
We would love to hear which of the talks on the day particularly resonated with you!