Empowering community citizens to make change was the focus of the 2014 TEDxBuffalo conference at Canisius College Tuesday. The theme of the event was ‘In Motion.’ It allowed speakers to discuss grassroots action taking place across the city.
Volunteers with the ‘Tool Library’ on Main Street in Buffalo’s University Heights neighborhood Aaron Krolikowski and Darren Cotton are were among the twelve speakers and two performers who took the stage at TEDxBuffalo. Krolikowski says people have used the center to rent tools to spruce up the neighborhood downtrodden by absentee landlordism and dilapidated housing. He says it’s an example of what’s known as the “sharing economy.”
“We think the sharing economy is really important, because it does emphasis access over ownership. Tools are very expensive and it’s very difficult for families and for some individuals to actually afford. Sharing those resources, those materials, people can actually save money, but also make the change that they want to see either in their property or in their communities,” said Krolikowski.
Presenters discussed topics ranging from the intellect of digital assistants like Siri, to risk management and human decision-making in times of crisis, to human and animal relationships.
Clinical psychologist and professor at St. Bonaventure University Dr. Kimberly Young discussed the issue of internet addiction at the event.
“We definitely have a problem with being too connected in our society. I make the point that at the family dinner table nowadays we all have our devices and we’re not really talking to each other. So, it becomes more of a recurrent theme that we really kind of live with this electronic noise. So, part of my message is looking at technology as a gift, but saying, ‘how we can be healthier about it,’” said Young.
TEDxBuffalo Director Adrienne Bermingham says the goal of the discussions is to inspire the community.
“These are incredible people doing remarkable things in our city and they’re things that are applicable around the world. So, by putting the spotlight on these folks we create better change in our own community, but also spread that beyond these walls,” said Bermingham.
The local event is modeled after the global Technology, Entertainment and Design, or TED, conference. Conference proceedings are being shared via social media and online at TEDxBuffalo.com.