Brace For Impact

We’re reaching the end of a decade, and collectively closing a chapter. Together, it feels like everyone is moving toward a more powerful future—and here are three precedents from the TEDx universe who are leading the way.

Whether you’re nurturing a long-forgotten dream, tinkering with a technical solution to a real-world problem, or fighting for something at the core of who you are, take it from the TEDx speakers: your voice is never too faint to resonate across the world. 

How will you shake things up?

Greta Thunberg: School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules

Last year, she was an ordinary teenager—traipsing around her hometown under a sheath of anonymity. Today, she has catapulted into worldwide distinction, leading a crusade of young people on a mission to save the world.  

Greta Thunberg burned a hole on the TEDxStockholm stage in November 2018 as she delivered her talk, “School strike for climate – save the world by changing the rules.” With searing, reticent power, she detailed her journey into climate activism—from disordered eating and health struggles to finally taking a stand.

Thunberg, small in stature and delivering each word with a controlled dominance, seemed to cast a spell not only over those in the audience, but across the globe.

Since her talk has gone live, Thunberg has become an icon—speaking at political and economic events, leading climate marches around the world, and pioneering a new era of youth activism on a global scale.

Through Thunberg’s unconventional efforts to spark change (coupled with her disregard for public opinion), she has launched a worldwide movement. Because of her moxie, stamina, and nerve, we’re given a taste of just how much of a game-changer one voice can be—even if it comes from a lone schoolgirl with a hand-painted sign.

Christoph Lüthi: Why shit matters

If you’ve got a supercomputer in your pocket, we’re going to go out on a limb and say that you’ve got access to proper plumbing. And if you’ve grown up in a home with a toilet (and a community with a functional waste management system), daring to think about what happens to waste once it exits the body can be, well…crappy.
In his 2018 TEDxTUM talk, “Why shit matters,” Christoph Lüthi lets us all in on a secret:

“Waste is actually a resource, and not something to dispose of.”

Instead of viewing the contents of Western toilets and pit latrines in developing countries as biohazards, Christoph implores us to think differently about what we’re all producing. Rather than thinking of “human waste” as waste, Christoph’s talk offers an alternative definition: locally-produced renewable energy on a growing scale.

To illustrate just how useful this “waste” can be, Christoph outlined four specific uses for the byproducts our bodies naturally create, and how these can impact the planet in a positive way. Christoph’s talk shows us that sometimes, making a difference in the world requires thinking outside the box and trying something new…even if it stinks at first.

Steffie Limère: How to create passioneers

Think about all the dreams you had as a kid, when the drudgery of adulthood seemed like a foggy, faraway fantasy. Think of all the wacky products you wanted to invent. Think of all the wild sculptures you wanted to create. Think of all the smoky science experiments you wanted to test out.

Now…imagine that place for adults.

An event manager by profession and an idea factory by nature, Steffie Limère and her mentor made this dream a reality. In her 2016 TEDxTUM talk, “How to create passioneers,” Steffie explains that creating a community is what gets her out of bed in the morning—so she converted an abandoned warehouse into the most prolific, exhilarating, and innovative community of events in the world. 

 Using her drive to create monumental events in her aptly named Factory of Imagination, Steffie matches passion with aptitude to create passioneers. In the Factory of Imagination, Steffie emboldens volunteers to chase after the dreams that have always made their hearts skip a beat. Through passion, initiative, and mentorship on a large scale, Steffie is molding the creators of tomorrow.