TEDx OBU: Our Mark On Sustainability

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to go to Oxford to visit Josh as he has just started studying at Oxford Brookes University. I couldn’t have been more excited to see him and to visit Oxford for the first time. We also decided to try out Oxford Brookes University’s first ever TEDx event (a TEDx event is an independently organised TED event) so I thought I would share it with you.

You all know how much I love a TED talk, so going to a TEDx event was something I was very much looking forward to. When I found out the topic was sustainability I was even more excited. This was the first event of it’s kind at Oxford Brookes and, even though I’m not a student there, I hope they continue with many more!

There were 6 speakers at the event; Professor Janine Dermody, Professor Jeremy MacClancy, Dr. Fridolin Wild, Dr. Dalena Van Heughten, Professor Allan Hutchinson and Professor John Runions.

All 6 speakers spoke about their research and how it contributed to sustainability.

My favourite of the talks was Dr. Heughten’s, Prof. Hutchinson’s and Prof. Runions. All three of these talks were so engaging and, although they were on topics I had no knowledge of, I found them super interesting.

Dr. Heugten talked about Sustainability in Mental Health and how through encouraging different forms of therapy for mental health illnesses we can help reduce the insane carbon footprint of prescription drugs. In her opinion, too many people are being prescribed prescription drugs for mental health illnesses when in reality these drugs should go to only the people where other therapies have failed. She promotes mindfulness and ‘sleep hygiene’. Sleep hygiene, I learnt, is structuring your sleep more. For example, not having electronics before bed, caffeine in the afternoons, waking up and going to sleep at the same time each night. Improved sleep can massively contribute to lower rates of mental health issues.

Can we get from A to B without burning so many dinosaurs? was the title of Prof. Hutchinson’s talk. He talked about the need for encouraged use of public transport or electric vehicles. This is something we all know we should do, but not many of us actually do.

Prof. John Ruinions talk was the perhaps most intriguing, entitled Why would a scientist make a glowing green cat? we learnt all about the ground breaking science of taking luminescent jellyfish DNA and inputting it into other organisms and animals and how this can help contribute to solving the world food shortage crisis. Bizarre I know, but it was very interesting indeed! By learning how to input different DNA we can genetically modify crops to be resistant to certain diseases, or to enhance certain nutrients to make the crops more beneficial to those that eat it; meaning they have to eat less to get the nutrients they need.

All in all the talks were very interesting, as sustainability is something I have an interest in I was very pleased with these talks. Plus as I’ve said you know I love TED talks! It was also a chance for me to visit Oxford and Josh for the first time whilst he is at university so that made me very happy indeed!



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