Anyone who has been to a TEDx event knows the feeling—the rush of inspiration after a TEDx talk, followed by the crushing understanding that you don’t know what to do next. By the time you begin brainstorming mentally, “I’m going to make an intentional effort to learn more about wildfire prevention,” the next TEDx speaker gets on stage and inspires you about an entirely different topic. By the end of the event, you’re not alone in feeling TED talk information overload. You get overwhelmed with excitement for change in your community—or across the world—that you are paralyzed and end up doing, well, mostly nothing. If you’re struggling to turn inspiration to action, you’re in the right place.
TEDxMileHigh to the rescue! At TEDxMileHigh, we deeply value taking action on the issues that matter most to you. After you watch a talk, we want you to have access to actionable steps you can take to join the cause of whichever speakers moved you most.
Turn Rethink Inspiration to Action
We spoke with three speakers from TEDxMileHigh Rethink about tangible ways you can learn more and take action about their causes.
You’d be hard-pressed to find an American who doesn’t know the names George Washington or Christopher Colombus. But what about Alonzo Pettie, the oldest living Black cowboy, or Katherine Johnson, the NASA mathematician whose calculations were critical to spaceflight (Hidden Figures, anyone?).
Too often, African American histories are not documented and preserved. Julieanna L. Richardson made it her mission to ensure no more histories of Black Americans were lost.
In her TEDx talk, Julieanna L. Richardson discusses her creation of HistoryMakers, an online oral history archive of African American histories. Today, HistoryMakers is the largest national collection of African American video oral histories on record.
Feeling inspired? We asked Richardson what people can do to help her cause.
8 Inspiration to Action Items to Help the HistoryMakers
1. Visit The HistoryMakers website to learn more about their work.
2. Become a member of the HistoryMakers.
3. Become a volunteer of the HistoryMakers.
4. Share Richardson’s TEDxMH talk with family members and friends and associates.
5. Talk to family members about the HistoryMakers to help spread the word.
6. Ask your local library and archives about what they have of the African American experience.
7. Help the HistoryMakers as a photoshop volunteer. You can become a part of the team that is tasked with captioning a total of 100,000 photos in order to rescue visual history.
8. If you are a Black American, consider donating your papers to the History Makers. “Papers” are any material accumulated over the years that give information about your life and the history of your family, be them letters, diaries, photos, etc. When you donate your papers, your family’s history can become a part of your community’s collective memory.
“If we do not act now, we will lose this history forever and generations will be robbed.” – Julieanna L. Richardson
Women’s Rights in Afghanistan
When the Taliban returned to power in Afghanistan in August of 2021, women in the country lost hard-fought human rights seemingly overnight. What happens next for the women of Afghanistan? And what went wrong in the 20 years of U.S. fighting in the country?
In her TEDx talk, feminist political geographer Jennifer L. Fluri analyzes what went wrong in Afghanistan, including the U.S.’s failure to listen to Afghan women.
We asked Fluri what you can do from home to help women in Afghanistan.
14 Inspiration to Action Items to Help Women in Afghanistan
2. Write/Email/Call your representatives in the Congress and Senate and advocate on social media to increase the speed and processing of refugee referral (P1/P2) applications.
“There are many people stuck in Afghanistan who are facing ongoing threats or remain in hiding because of their work with Americans.” – Jennifer L. Fluri
3. Write/Email/Call your representatives in the Congress and Senate and advocate on social media to stop US sanctions in Afghanistan.
“The US sanctions in Afghanistan are literally killing people in Afghanistan, due to food and fuel shortages, many people face starvation and a freezing winter without fuel.” – Jennifer L. Fluri
4. Welcome newly arrived Afghans into your community with kindness. In Afghanistan, hospitality is taken seriously. Being understanding that most newly arrived Afghans have left everything in their life behind (often including family members) goes a long way. The tremendous amount of strife and uncertainty they have experienced should be treated with empathy, patience, and care.
“Afghans have always welcomed me into their homes and treated me with such care and kindness every time I was in the country for research.” – Jennifer L. Fluri
5. Don’t assume you know how best to help. Listen before doing.
“Just because Afghans are in precarious and vulnerable situations doesn’t mean they do not know what they need.” – Jennifer L. Fluri
6. Volunteer with Afghans4Tomorrow, Luther Family Services of Colorado, Rose Foundation: Colorado Afghan Evacuee Support Fund, or Fluri’s team. She is currently looking for volunteers to help her with social media and e-letter writing campaigns, as well helping with paperwork logistics for helping Afghans who are still waiting to evacuate.
7. Read Fluri’s book, The Carpetbaggers of Kabul and Other American-Afghan Entanglements.
8. Read Pious Peripheries: Runaway Women in Post-Taliban Afghanistan by S. Ahsan-Tirmizi.
9. Read The Pitfalls of Protection: Gender, Violence, and Power in Afghanistan by T. Wimpelmann.
10. Read articles on Afghan women by the Conversation.
11. Read “The Other Afghan Woman” at the New Yorker.
12. Read about the fragility of women’s rights in Afghanistan from Human Rights Watch.
13. Read about women’s rights in Afghanistan from Amnesty International.
14. Read “Reflections on the Tragedy of Afghanistan” by Fluri.
We don’t have to remind you that in 2020, wildfires burned over 10 million acres of land. Most Americans were impacted by the fires, if not directly by having their homes and communities destroyed, then indirectly by coughing through the poor air quality.
It’s natural for us to fear wildfires, especially given the extremes we have witnessed in recent years. But fire isn’t inherently bad; in fact, it might be key to the future of wildfire prevention.
In her TEDx talk, fire ecologist and former firefighter Camille Stevens-Rumann speaks about her research on preventing wildfires through fire. According to Stevens-Rumann, more fire is the answer to our fire problem.
Want to help prevent forest fires in your local community? We spoke with Stevens-Rumann about what you can do to help.
10 Inspiration to Action Items to Help Prevent Wildfires
1. Learn more about fire science by visiting the Southern Rockies Fire Science Network. The network is a place to interact with and share credible fire science. You’ll find science-based knowledge that can help provide fire management solutions. Join them for a workshop, webinar, conference, or field tour to learn more. You can also check out the Colorado Forest Restoration Institute for resources on fire knowledge and the latest science.
2. Write/Email/Call your representatives to express your interest in returning fire to the land and using more prescribed fires in order to prevent devastating wildfires. Find your representatives here, along with tips to write effective letters.
3. Get involved in your local collaborative groups that work to mitigate fire hazards and fire behavior, including doing prescribed fires.
4. Talk to your local fire protection districts about the efforts they are taking to prevent forest fires.
5. Practice defensible space and fuels reduction treatments on your property.
7. Consider becoming a volunteer firefighter if you want to go out and assist in prescribed fire or fire management. Talk to your local sheriff’s office to get connected.
8. If you’re unable to volunteer, consider donating to one of the above organizations. Every dollar counts!
9. Learn about how fighting fire with fire works in Florida through this video.
10. Learn even more about how we can prevent wildfires by watching this TED talk.
Didn’t Attend TEDxMileHigh Rethink? No Problem.
And if you watched other TEDxMileHigh talks and need some guidance on what to do next, follow the below general guidelines!
5 Steps to Turn Inspiration to Action
1. Write It Down
You feel really inspired. But, about what exactly? After you attend a TEDx event, your first step from turning inspiration to action is to get out your favorite notebook and pen and get scribbling. Just let your mind go. What did you learn? Who did you agree with? Which things do you want to learn more about?
2. Pick One Topic
You might be looking down at your notes and notice that all of the talks inspired you in some way. Instead of scattering between each talk and trying to find actionable steps to help the cause, just start with one. Don’t worry, you can always do more action later.
3. Look Up the Speaker
Most TEDx speakers have an online presence, whether that is through social media or a website. We often write about our speakers on the blog, and do interviews with them. Give yourself the opportunity to do a little online sleuthing. Who is this person? What projects are they working on now? Through what organizations? Are they looking for volunteers? Did they write a book that you might be interested in reading? Chances are, yes. So after you look up the speaker, consider reading their book to learn more.
4. Research the Topic of Interest
We love our speakers, but like any good speaker they have a point of view. So, it’s up to you to delve deeper into the issue and learn more about it in order to craft your own unique perspective. Also—and this one’s key—TEDx talks can’t be longer than around 15 minutes. So, yes, there’s a lot of info that we want to add in, but simply can’t due to time restraints. Make it your mission to find the remaining information out there. We often delve deeper into our most popular TEDxMH talks on the blog, so be sure to regularly check the blog to see if we’ve covered a topic that particularly interests you!
5. Take Action!
In your research, you will likely have come across opportunities for action. Perhaps a speaker is asking for donations to help the wildfire relief in Boulder, or is looking for volunteers to help prevent plastic waste in our oceans. Maybe you find that the best way to support a cause is by spreading the word about it, and linking others to the TEDx video.