championing and accelerating solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action

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TEDxFremontEastDistrict 2022, Downtown Las Vegas

The Talks.

The Desert has a Memory
-Ashley Hemmers

Ashley Hemmers, a member of the Fort Mojave Indian Tribe, illuminates not just an indigenous voice, but a Mojave voice, and emphasizes the importance of public lands and wilderness in Southern Nevada. Ashley’s Tribe’s original name, Pipa Aha Macav, means people of the river. Her reservation spans the southern tip of Clark County, Nevada; Mohave County, AZ, and San Bernardino County, California.

The Overlooked Beauty
-Vanessa Latrice Williams

Born and raised in California, Vanessa never saw Las Vegas as a place she’d ever call home. She always thought Las Vegas is only about partying, drinking, food, and entertainment. Yet, what she discovered is that the real beauty is beyond the neon lights and is missed by so many people.

Is mindfullness out of fashion?
-Jennifer Inaba

Behind the glitz and glamor of runways and red carpets, are troubling truths about production, manufacturing and labor practices within the fashion industry. In order to support a vicious cycle of overproduction and overconsumption, the environment and garment workers around the globe suffer. Government regulation, in the form of legislation such as the FABRIC Act, and increased transparency throughout the supply chain, are two frequently cited tactics to drive the fashion industry toward a more sustainable future. But what about what we can control within ourselves? With a specific focus on the fashion industry, this talk centers on the environmental and social impacts of consumerism and how the practice of mindfulness can help break this cycle of overconsumption — all while providing the additional value of reconnecting with nature.

Let Your Stories Flow Like a River - Dr. Melissa Giovanni

Time in nature reminds us to slow down, breathe deeply, and reconnect with an older sense of what it means to be human. Wild spaces are not to be conquered but respected. Nature will always serve up a dish of humility when we most need it. Our modern lives have drawn us away from that primal connection. How can we get it back?

Where compassion, climate change, and green energy meet -Mauricia Baca​

How do we position humans to thrive alongside nature? Where do we find the compassion to ensure that the green energy buildout does not sacrifice what the biodiversity that creates wonder and beauty in places such as Nevada? At the same time, how do we ensure that we do not lose sight of the people who are most vulnerable and often most affected? Mauricia Baca, State Director for the Nevada Chapter of the Nature Conservancy, shares her vision of a future where compassion and empathy for nature and humans is interwoven.

Living Car-Free in Vegas & Other Questionable Life Choices
-Ray Delahanty

Ray Delahanty focuses on cities and transportation with an eye toward sustainable, low-impact living and travel. He shares how his background as a transportation planner and project manager brought him to live a car-free life in Las Vegas. He covers why someone from one of the US’ most famously forward-thinking cities in terms of transportation and land use (Portland Oregon) would move to Vegas and how the “sunk cost” of car ownership leads to unnecessary travel, fuel consumption, and emissions. He shares the challenges, successes, and abject failures of his car-free experience so far and why we must reduce internal combustion engine vehicle travel.

How localizing our food systems can help save the world
-Cheyenne Kyle

If we are to give future generations a fighting chance and change the trajectory of human life on this planet, a good starting place is localizing our food systems. In this talk, Cheyenne Kyle explains how a localized food system can increase access and affordability in food-insecure neighborhoods, reduce harmful emissions by limiting food travel time, and turn the overabundance of carbon in our atmosphere into usable products for the plants that sustain us. While this can take many forms, Cheyenne shares that the most practical and regenerative method in her opinion is through community farming. Traditional farming in urban areas allows people to reconnect with nature and develop a deeper sense of why we must do everything we can to protect it. As it stands industrial agriculture has become one of the most destructive human activities on the planet but what if we could change that legacy? What if production and restoration could walk hand in hand and we could heal our world with a handful of seeds?

Our Urban Oasis
-Alex Harper

Alex Harper, an ecologist, shares his depth of knowledge and weaves several large concepts and community actions into this educational and inspiring talk. He details water shortages, drought’s effects on the Mojave Desert, and how wildlife such as migratory birds are becoming more dependent on metro areas for habitat and water. He explains what a heat island is, and how there is a connection between heat and a lack of tree or plant density. This talk argues that planting drought-tolerant and native plants best suited for the longer term is a key solution to curtail the effects of heat islands. By planting trees that mitigate the heat island effect that are drought-tolerant, we are also creating habitat for birds and pollinators. This holistic conservation strategy addresses several problems that people often think are independent of each other. He also shares how mindful attention in nature is critical, to our mental health. Time in nature lowers stress levels, and communities with access to nature demonstrate lower levels of anxiety and depression, drops in crime and abuse decrease, and school performance increases. Who wouldn’t want that?

How to mobilize youth to combat climate change
-Sarah Park

Sarah Park, a senior in high school, addresses the need for a comprehensive public transportation and freight system to combat climate change. Young voters and youth have shown that climate change is an important issue to them — and one that matters in the polls. So, how can we physically transport (mobilize) youth in an eco-friendly manner and make climate change a large enough issue to mobilize them to take action? This speech will address just that.

What the future holds
-Tanna Marie

What will be left in the future if we choose to ignore what is currently happening? Singer Tanna Marie performs a thought-evoking song. Tanna Marie is a literary artist born and raised in Las Vegas, NV.

Better together: En Comunidad We Are Stronger
-Alexa Aispuro-Loaiza

We must come together to achieve justice for our people. In this talk, Alexa, a Digital Organizer for Chispa Nevada identifies environmental justice issues in the community and shares how making a plan, taking action together, and holding elected officials and people of power accountable leads us to win the fight.

Nature: Growth Beyond our People
-Jesus Solis-Leon

This performance encompasses three poems touching on the themes of water scarcity, the heat island effect, and climate justice, from the perspective of a Las Vegas-raised individual with an educational background in Environmental Science.

The Dark Truth: What if the Whole World Drove EVs?
Anand Nandakumar

Join Anand Nandakumar on a walk through history and into the future. Learn the startling facts about car usage and what we must do to create a more sustainable path. Driven by his dedication to solving climate change, Anand Nandakumar has become a noteworthy figure in the electric vehicle space. In 2019, Nandakumar launched Halo.car with one goal: to help reduce the carbon emissions caused by gas vehicles, the most significant contributor to global warming. In the next three years, the driverless electric carsharing program is projected to keep over 20 million tons of emissions out of the air and remove over 4 million gas cars from the road. Prior to becoming the founder and CEO of Halo.car, Nandakumar led trailblazing technology divisions at some of the best-known companies in the world, including Uber, Disney, and Sony. Nandakumar grew up in Chennai, India, and holds degrees from the University of Madras and the University of Sheffield. He currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Rainwater Harvesting: Indigenous Wisdom for Climate
Carmen Gonzales

Rainwater harvesting is key for creating resilient communities in the face of climate change. Indigenous people have been practicing rainwater harvesting techniques that replenish aquifers, bring back springs, build soil, reduce flooding & pollution, and create abundance for all beings. Navajo Water Specialist and Permaculture Designer Carmen Gonzales will weave an inspiring story of water abundance and possibility for Las Vegas and beyond. Carmen Gonzales is an environmental specialist, water maiden, permaculture designer, poet, and musician who has been dedicated to helping communities develop resilience by remembering our sacred relationship with water. Carmen has worked in the Environmental Science field for over 20 years serving Tribes and rural communities and is inspired by the hope of watershed restoration through the lens of indigenous wisdom. Always an “edge walker,” Carmen has been working to find the balance between good science, traditional ecological knowledge, personal healing, and cultural evolution. Carmen is driven by the vision of supporting the work of revitalizing watersheds and communities through strengthening relationships that nourish land and life to serve as a model for change that can ripple out and benefit all beings everywhere.

How School Gardens & Hydroponics Can Change the Food System
Ciara Byrne

As more and more children and their families face food injustices ranging from food deserts in Las Vegas to $9 heads of lettuce in rural Alaska, it is clear that our present food system needs to change. In this talk, Ciara Byrne, CEO of Green Our Planet, shares how the solution might be more local than you’d expect! School gardens and indoor school hydroponic gardens can impact the health of students and their families for the better and change the landscape of local food systems. Furthermore, by using hydroponic gardens, communities can decrease their use of vital natural resources such as water while reclaiming their food sovereignty. In March, 2013 Ciara Byrne and Kim MacQuarrie co-founded Green Our Planet, a nonprofit based in Las Vegas that runs the largest and most comprehensive STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) school garden and hydroponics programs in the United States. The mission is to increase student academic performance in STEM through project-based education, which includes nutrition, financial literacy, and conservation education in PreK-12 schools. Green Our Planet has built more than 200 outdoor gardens and over 400 hydroponics laboratories in 31 states impacting more than 250,000 students across the United States. Green Our Planet has trained more than 7,000 teachers, helped organize over 800 student-run farmers markets and more than 600 chef demos. Ciara was selected along with 19 other nonprofit leaders from around the world, from 5,000 applications to be a 2019 Obama Fellow.

Re-Wilding Ourselves & Our Cities
Dana Kay

Rewilding ourselves and our cities: How returning to our wild nature can open a new path forward. Rewilding speaks to a return to the deeply rooted wisdom held in nature, our bodies, and our deep human history. It speaks to a return to joy within community and thriving upon the earth through weaving together ancient and modern wisdom in a way that gives all stakeholders a voice. To address issues as daunting and complex as the ones we are currently faced with, it’s not enough to simply create more plans and strategies. Those plans and strategies must be held within a framework that is inclusive and fosters deep connection and co-creation. We will examine how restoring the sacredness of and connection to place can shift our relationship with Nature from an abstract concept to something that we are deeply intertwined with and responsible for. We will discuss how awakening a felt sense of sensory aliveness and connection to ourselves, each other, and the land we inhabit can activate the dormant collective power within our communities. We will discuss how culture and nature can feed off of and support each other, cultivating a sense of community and shared responsibility and sparking new ideas and ways of co-creating. And finally we will discuss ways we are already activating these potentials within our community as well as presenting some ideas for the future. Dana is a woman of passion, poetry, plants, and people. She has traveled extensively, immersing herself in many cultures, studying various ancient and indigenous wisdom practices, and working deeply with plant and earth medicines. This education has inspired Dana’s work in many fields as she weaves together storytelling, movement, music, art, and ritual to harness our collective human potential and reestablish a connection to ourselves, each other, and our planet. As the founder of Rooted Lounge & the ReWyld Collective, Dana is dedicated to creating spaces of education, connection and co-creation that ignite the power within local communities. She believes that by integrating ancient and modern wisdom and returning to our roots in community, we can activate the best potentials of both nature and culture and usher in a new way of thriving together on this earth.