Malcolm St. John
On Sept. 13, thousands of people congregated in the Newman Center for Performing Arts at Denver University for TEDxMileHigh. TEDx, as opposed to its more globally focused cousin TED, is an event that concentrates on the local community and voices that emerge from therein.
TEDx promises to be free from corporate, religious, and political agendas, which created an interesting amalgamation of political views, economic preferences, and career pursuits.
Waleed Abdalati, a former chief scientist at NASA, did research focusing on the receding polar ice cover using NASA satellites, which left him eager to communicate the dangers of global warming to the public and government.
“People don’t remember what you say”, said Abdalati, “as much as how you make them feel”.
Kai Kloepfer, a 17-year-old high school entrepreneur, endeavored to make our world a safer place by designing firearms with a fingerprint reader on the handle so that only those registered to use the firearm could actually fire it.
As a Denver native, he became interested in gun control after the Aurora shooting in 2012. “The number of people under 18 killed with firearms is 2.5 times [the number of] U.S. military casualties,” said Kloepfer.
Heidi Heisenbuttle emphasized the importance of promoting uniqueness in schooling rather than shunning, separating, or labeling a student with a learning difference.
Not only is this important to the kids, children with disabilities are two times more likely to get suspended, and suspension in high school drastically increase the chances of jail time later in life, explained Heisenbuttle.
She continued to say that this was important for society because the conservative and narrow-minded schooling methods discourage children from learning unique profiles and alternative solutions to certain problems.
Heisenbuttle imagines an environment in which schools “recruit children with special behaviors.”
Finally, Ian Cook, a cellist based out of Denver, put a progressive, pop-infused spin on his cello-based compositions. He played three songs using an electronic looper that allowed him to layer his music with pre-recorded percussion, vocals, and cello. His performance received standing ovation.
TEDxMileHigh’s speakers engaged in poignant, area-relevant discussion that helped raise awareness of important local actors in the Denver area. Colorado Springs is hosting its first series of TEDx talks on Oct. 11, which will include speakers and topics relevant to Colorado Springs and the Colorado College community.