Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Arriving at TED

Arrived at TED this year with a touch of nostalgia - this is to be the last TED in Monterey, breaking a 20-year tradition. Chris Anderson, the curator, believes that the facility in Long Beach will retain the intimate feeling of current TED location, yet accommodate more people in the Main Hall, so all attendees can have a Main Hall pass.

The program guide this year has been designed to meet C2C goals. C2C stands for Cradle to Cradle, a concept popularized by William McDonough's book of that name. C2C aims to create production methods that involve not reduced waste but are essentially waste-free: technical components are designed to be reused with no loss in quality and biological components to be composted or consumed. McDonough spoke at the first TED conference I attended, and his presentation still rings in my mind. Clearly he made a huge impression on other TEDsters, as more and more things at TED are adhering to C2C principles. The pencil tucked into the program guide is equally interesting - made from recycled Chinese newspaper rolled around the graphite and stuck with nontoxic soy-based glue. It lasts 2-3 times longer than wood ones.

The gift bag is also made of post-consumer recycled beverage bottles and there were 800 different colour combinations to choose from. The bag was not as full as last year's gluttonous collection. While my ecological and logistical (how can I ever get this stuff all back home?) head agrees with that, the child in me misses the Christmas morning feeling of past conferences when it could take literally hours to go through all the gifts.

Since I'm fighting a stomach flu, I skipped the party last night, although I did take my scheduled test drive in a Lexus hybrid (smooth!), grabbed a smoothie from the Google snack bar which is here again, and hit the bed by 7 pm. Keep your fingers crossed that I stay well - this conference takes stamina!

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