Halfway-TED Global, Edinburgh

By Linda Woolston (BC2004)

Phew! This is a marathon for your mind and two days to go. 850 people from 70 countries in this great city. It’s relentless and amazing. Every 15 minutes or so a new speaker, from the moving, to the bizarre to the thought provoking. We’ve had philosophers, neuroscientists, architects, artists, activists. Here’s a taster….the fight to save Tasmanian Devils from a contagious cancer that is threatening them with extinction; one woman’s progress in eliminating torture in prisons throughout the world; an artist telling a story using sand; an economist highlighting the more unequal a society the “more” you get of everything from crime to disease; an artist concerned with the release of toxins from our bodies when we are buried or cremated so is creating a mushroom that will organically consume a body in an environmentally acceptable way; an incredible way of generating clean energy without any costs of generation-remarkable. And so much more. I’d thought before I came that I would select my top 5 talks, I’d still like to but it’s not going to be easy.

One of the things that has been unexpected that I’ve loved is the music. I hadn’t appreciated that the talks would be interspersed with music and it’s been a real highlight for me. Danielle De Niese singing opera (and yes I did tell her that I’d bought one of her CDs after I’d seen her in an opera a couple of years ago…….). There was an amazing Hungarian pianist (Balazs Havasi) who sat at the grand piano playing this sublime music when a drummer was wheeled on to the stage on a platform and they played the most high energy pulsating rock interspersed with gentle piano. It was also great to see Eddi Reader perform, bringing back Fairground Attraction memories, she looks like she lives and loves every note.

And then there’s the parties every night…..in great locations like Edinbugh Castle and the National Museum of Scotland.

This is a serious challenge even for an extrovert!

Finally (for now) there’s the goodies in the gift back, from gadgets to books. Yesterday Jawbone announced a new product “UP” and everyone at TED is to be given one, it’s a wristband and “app” designed to support you in healthy living. It monitors your sleep patterns, gives you advice on what to eat for breakfast given the quality of your sleep (it even wakes you up at an optimum time), guides you through healthy eating during the day and monitors how many steps you take in a day, and more-I don’t think it makes the coffee!

Two days and 30 sessions to go, including Thandie Newton, Malcolm Gladwell and Alain de Botton. The closing session of the conference is Jeremy Gilley, my client, founder of Peace One Day-I’m hoping that this will be a great platform for him to tell his story and make the call for a Global Truce on 21 September 2012.