My Top 5 Favorite Ted Talks

What are TED Talks? You've probably heard the term thrown around somewhere. Maybe from a friend, a relative or an educator. Ted Talks, in the shortest definition possible, are ideas worth spreading. There are tons of Ted Talks on Youtube I've watched, but there are only a small handful that have had a lasting impact on my life. There are ones that I've just generally found stand out to me. Today I am going to share a few with you. 

1. Why I live a zero waste life by Lauren Singer 
Two years ago, I watched my first Ted Talk video. The speaker was Lauren Singer, a former environmental studies student at NYU, now the founder of her own company called The Simply Co. She has accumulated enough trash over three years to fit into a mason jar. Now why was this my first talk you ask? At the time, I was very passionate about the environment and animals (I still am). I actively sought out videos on Youtube about how to save the planet or stop climate change and air pollution. I guess Youtube took that as a sign to slip this video into my recommended page. 
I was always fascinated by the concept of 'zero waste', which basically means you live a lifestyle that doesn't produce any waste or send anything to landfills. A lifestyle that is so environmentally friendly, if you ask me. I've rewatched this video too many times that I've lost count. Because of this video I've changed some of my daily habits, sought out places of research that respectively advocate for the environment, and even talk openly about my beliefs. I'm not going to go on forever because this is one of many videos, but this talk will definitely change your perspective on environmental activism. There IS something you can do. The effort is not hopeless. 

2. I'm 17 by Kate Simonds
I'm 17. Oh, you thought I was just emphasizing the title? I am actually 17. This video resonated with me in a way no other has. In her talk, Kate discusses the growing distrust that adults have with kids. In better words, how kids are told not to believe in what they believe in because of their age. The belittling of students everywhere who are told 'what do you know?' because of the fact that they're not an adult. I related to this video so hard. Last summer and this summer, I've been working in a lab at Columbia University that studies a large invasive dinoflagellate species in the Arabian Sea and its threat. The research is largely important to the future of fisheries and the food chain. It also tells us a lot about the current health of our environment because the things that are allowing this species to grow rapidly are the very things that harm us as well. Anyways my point is, anytime I've ever tried to tell an adult about my research when they ask, they usually just nod their head or question me. This video pinpoints the feelings I have as a discouraged teenager who is also told "what could you possibly know that I don't?" by adults. Like Kate, I think it's time for a change in the way ideas are reciprocated by adults from students. 

3. I am not your asian stereotype by Canwen Xu
How many times have you visited another state or country and have been asked "where are from"? For me, too many times to count. And it's funny because every time I say New York, they always give me a funny look. I've gone into stores in Manhattan and the sales people would come up to me and say "you're not from around here, are you?" My response? I was born here (so fuck off xD).
This video is also a special one that has resonated with me. I've never had my ethnicity's stereotypes laid out so plainly but it was honestly so refreshing and nice to hear how Canwen overcame her challenges, living in areas with little racial diversity. 

4. Looks aren't everything. Believe me, I'm a model by Cameron Russel
I think what made this talk so valid was the fact that the speaker was a model. Cameron was a model talking about our society's obsession with image and the privilege of white people. There is a sense of trust that I had because she was a model and was criticizing her own industry. I could only guess some people might be skeptical because, again, she's a model. I liked some of the terms she used like "genetic lottery" and "recipient of a legacy". She changed my outlook on the modeling industry, for sure. Definitely one of my all-time favorites. 

5. The cost of menstrual shame by Kayla-Leah Rich 
According to my blog statistics, majority of you reading are women. If you're a women, you know what it's like to get your period. *cringe* Because people cringe whenever we start bringing up menstruation, isn't that right? 
This was the first Ted Talk that I cried to after watching. There are consequences that come with our society's hesitance to talk about menstruation. When we don't talk about it, young girls who know nothing about that stuff don't get warnings. The rights for woman in other countries that don't have feminine supplies to get some are not pushed. Kayla unapologetically talks about the importance of speaking up about what happens once a month. Did you know that some women in some countries are forced to use cloths from mattresses and even rocks to stop their flow? I didn't. The only way we can bring attention to this issue is if we begin the conversations. 

If you've stayed for this long, thank you for reading. I do hope you'll check out some of these inspiring talks, as well as share some of your favorites with me in the comments below. 

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  1. I just took a gap year after high-school for some informal education and also discovered some wonderful TED talks. Great list and important topics. You go girl!
    Esty @ Boarding with Books

    1. Thanks Esty! Ted Talks have gotten me through a lot of things and have also inspired me to do a lot. I'm glad you watch them too!


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