TEDxBrighton 2018 | An interview with Rod Downie

Hey Rod! Tell us a little bit about what you’ll be speaking about at TEDxBrighton this year?

‘How do you count all the polar bears in the Arctic ?’

On the face of it, it seems like a really simple question, doesn’t it?  But the Arctic is vast.  It’s remote. It’s unforgiving. It’s a challenging place for scientists to work. And polar bears just blend into their icy background.

The Arctic is in meltdown and polar bears are at a crossroads. So we need strong partnerships to stimulate innovation.  Oh, and cool nerves for that moment when you come face-to-face with a large adult male polar bear on the ice …..

Why do you think it’s important for people to hear about this?

 The polar regions act like a global thermostat, regulating our earth’s temperature. Climate change and the loss of nature are amongst the greatest challenges that we face today.

But it’s not too late. If we act now to tackle climate change, we can stabilise the Arctic, and the earth systems that depend upon it.  And if we better understand polar bears now, we can plan for change, and we can chart a future for these amazing icons on ice.

Looking at the speaker line-up, who else are you interested in hearing talk this year?

Each and every one of the speakers inspires me with their incredible life stories. It’s a huge honour to share the stage with all of them.

Why do you think Brighton has proven to be such a welcoming and receptive audience for stories like yours?

Brighton rocks! I spent my youth just outside Brighton and forged many of my closest friendships and lasting memories here. Brighton has a soul and a conscience and a buzz like no other city I know in England.

Finally, what’s the one change you’d like to see in the lives of our audience this year, following your talk?

The fantastic audience at TEDxBrighton 2018 will do polar bear science with me. I hope that from that moment on, they will continue to be inspired by nature  – because there is no planet B.