The most important thing you can do to fight climate change: talk about it | Katharine Hayhoe

How do you talk to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we’ve been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”

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Where do your online returns go? | Aparna Mehta

Do you ever order clothes online in different sizes and colors, just to try them on and then send back what doesn’t work? Aparna Mehta used to do this all time, until she one day asked herself: Where do all these returned clothes go? In an eye-opening talk, she reveals the unseen world of “free” online returns — which, instead of ending up back on the shelf, are sent to landfills by the billions of pounds each year — and shares a plan to help put an end to this growing environmental catastrophe.

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How a fleet of wind-powered drones is changing our understanding of the ocean | Sebastien de Halleux

Our oceans are unexplored and undersampled — today, we still know more about other planets than our own. How can we get to a better understanding of this vast, important ecosystem? Explorer Sebastien de Halleux shares how a new fleet of wind- and solar-powered drones is collecting data at sea in unprecedented detail, revealing insights into things like global weather and the health of our fish stocks. Learn more about what a better grasp of the ocean could mean for us back on land.

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How will we survive when the population hits 10 billion? | Charles C. Mann

By 2050, an estimated 10 billion people will live on earth. How are we going to provide everybody with basic needs while also avoiding the worst impacts of climate change? In a talk packed with wit and wisdom, science journalist Charles C. Mann breaks down the proposed solutions and finds that the answers fall into two camps — wizards and prophets — while offering his own take on the best path to survival.

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5 transformational policies for a prosperous and sustainable world | Johan Rockström

In a talk about how we can build a robust future without wrecking the planet, sustainability expert Johan Rockström debuts the Earth3 model — a new methodology that combines the UN Sustainable Development Goals with the nine planetary boundaries, beyond which earth’s vital systems could become unstable. Learn more about five transformational policies that could help us achieve inclusive and prosperous world development while keeping the earth stable and resilient.

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How we can make energy more affordable for low-income families | DeAndrea Salvador

Every month, millions of Americans face an impossible choice: pay for energy to power their homes, or pay for basic needs like food and medicine. TED Fellow DeAndrea Salvador is working to reduce energy costs so that no one has to make this kind of decision. In this quick talk, she shares her plan to help low-income families reduce their bills while also building a cleaner, more sustainable and more affordable energy future for us all.

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Let’s launch a satellite to track a threatening greenhouse gas | Fred Krupp

When we talk about greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide gets the most attention — but methane, which often escapes unseen from pipes and wells, has a far greater immediate impact on global warming. Environmentalist Fred Krupp has an idea to fix the problem: launch a satellite that tracks global methane emissions, and openly share the data it collects with the public. Learn more about how simple fixes to cut down on this invisible pollutant can help us put the brakes on climate change. (This ambitious plan is one of the first ideas of The Audacious Project, TED’s new initiative to inspire global change.)

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How China is (and isn’t) fighting pollution and climate change | Angel Hsu

China is the world’s biggest polluter — and now one of its largest producers of clean energy. Which way will China go in the future, and how will it affect the global environment? Data scientist Angel Hsu describes how the most populous country on earth is creating a future based on alternative energy — and facing up to the environmental catastrophe it created as it rapidly industrialized.

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A new way to remove CO2 from the atmosphere | Jennifer Wilcox

Our planet has a carbon problem — if we don’t start removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere, we’ll grow hotter, faster. Chemical engineer Jennifer Wilcox previews some amazing technology to scrub carbon from the air, using chemical reactions that capture and reuse CO2 in much the same way trees do … but at a vast scale. This detailed talk reviews both the promise and the pitfalls.

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How we’re saving one of Earth’s last wild places | Steve Boyes

Navigating territorial hippos and active minefields, TED Fellow Steve Boyes and a team of scientists have been traveling through the Okavango Delta, Africa’s largest remaining wetland wilderness, to explore and protect this near-pristine habitat against the rising threat of development. In this awe-inspiring talk packed with images, he shares his work doing detailed scientific surveys in the hopes of protecting this enormous, fragile wilderness.

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