When the mainstream channels only lead to divisive conversations that leave a person feeling hopeless, we look to visionaries who offer solutions. The internet is full of these resources which showcase alternative ideas that inspire us to make a better world. TED Talks is certainly one of them that I enjoy. With the recent controversy over Rupert Sheldrakes banned TED Talk, The Science Delusion, people are also seeking places to explore ideas that may live outside the scope of traditional science. This includes voices from youth, indigenous wisdom, spirituality, social commentary and more. A great place for this kind of information is The Mind Unleashed where one of my favorite writers, Dr. Kelly Neff continues to invite her readers to think outside of the box. Another great platform for new ideas is coming up December 11-14 and it is called the UPLIFT Festival. Yet this is only the beginning of where to find inspiration…

Kelly’s recent article, What is in Your Water? Mark Ruffalo and UPLIFT Festival Hope to Find Out, we see another in a series of new-paradigm collaborations emerging. UPLIFT Festival has been dubbed the “Visionary TED” for bringing together diverse voices from different backgrounds, ages and cultures to dialogue together across disciplines about solutions. This is cultivating a community filled with possibilities, excitement, and action. We are witnessing a growing movement of collaboration and co-creation and UPLIFT Festival is taking lead at a time when creative problem-solving is needed most.

Ruffalo will present a video at UPLIFT with previously unreleased footage and introducing Water Defenses’ exciting new collaboration with The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation, Unify, and Uplift Connect that is launching this spring in conjunction with the World Water Day Global Campaign. It is an educational, and interactive online platform that will serve as a diagnostic tool for local watersheds and allow individuals to get involved in protecting and respecting this precious resource while holding local industry accountable. Scott Smith and Colton Hoover Chase will be taking questions via Twitter during the live forum.

“The Herbert W. Hoover Foundation is committed to improving environmental health. We have been funding cutting-edge science for many years. During that time we have come to the realization that without public engagement, much of the science never leads to improved environmental health. This is due to a disconnect between the scientific community and the general public. We believe if the scientific data can be understood by the general public, and policy-makers, the environmental benefits would be staggering. To that point we have set out to create a partnership with Water Defense, Unify.org, and top researchers in the field of water testing to create a technology platform that will bring together the large amount of scientific data in a easily understandable way. We envision that this tool will encourage learning and action in the sphere.” -Colton H. Chase, Vice Chairman, Herbert W. Hoover Foundation

Scott Smith is chief scientist at Water Defense and inventor and founder of  OPFLEX® technology, an Open-Celled foam technology used for both baseline water testing, and filtering and cleaning polluted water. OPFLEX, combined with Smith’s environmentally responsible vision, is setting new standards for low-carbon impact (LCI®) solutions to more effectively monitor and maintain the world’s waterways. He has been to every major oil spill site since 2010 – over 50 different domestic and international locations – earning him the nickname Toxic Avenger. Smith studied economics and chemistry at Baylor University, and is a graduate of Harvard Business School. Follow Smith on Twitter.

Nature is my favorite offline place to go for inspiration. While sitting by a flowing creek or waterfall and connecting with the beauty of the natural environment it is easy to see why so many people are passionate about protecting it. We are nothing without the diverse web of life that surrounds us.  Clearly, inspired people turn to other inspired people for inspiration. When they work together, their influence becomes contagious and this is a seed of hope for all of us.

We get caught up in our own worlds, our responsibilities, paying bills etc, but we thrive when we recognize that we are all in this together. Even the most conscious and well-meaning organizations often have blinders on and very little experience in collaborating beyond their own board room. We are facing global crises in so many areas and we are being called to collaborate in unprecedented ways. We see this in the sharing economy, we see it on the internet with people riffing on each others memes and re-shaping our sense of society. We see this on the websites and conferences as mentioned above, but it isn’t complete until each one of us adds our own piece to the unfolding story. Here is your chance to weigh in with your own thoughts, ideas, questions and more…

Imagine a technology platform which allows individuals everywhere to network and communicate to preserve and protect what is central to all of our lives, water. Consider an app like Yelp, or a Google Map that allows you to learn about your local watershed. Consider an online place where you can find the many people and organizations in your region who are making a difference to your local environment. Dream about how fun it would be to get involved directly in social networks that are founded on principles of environmental stewardship and appreciation for nature. All of these things are possible, and some already exist.

Tweet your ideas and questions to #lovewater. Scott Smith along with Colton H. Chase will be building on this inspiration as they announce the launch of something truly innovative, exciting, and hopeful for all of us at UPLIFT Festival.  Actor Mark Ruffalo started Water Defense to raise awareness about the impact energy extraction has on water and public health. He and Scott Smith join HuffPost Live (below, 26 min) to talk about defending and protecting America’s water resources.

It is impossible for anyone who is sensitive and aware to not be overwhelmed by the problems that humanity now faces. It is even natural to lose hope at times, and that is why it is so important to visit the places that inspire us. That is also why it is so important to be around the people who inspire us and also why you absolutely do not want to miss the UPLIFT Festival global webcast this coming Dec 11-14. You can register here and join the conversation about how to make a better future using Twitter with #uplifttheworld hashtag. This conversation is exactly what we need in order to be the change we want to see in the world.

Jacob Devaney

Jacob blogs for Huffington Post and others in addition to Culture Collective. He specializes in social media, and cross-platform (or trans-media) content and campaigns. Meditation, playing piano, exploring nature, seeing live music, and going to Hopi Dances are some of his passions. As a co-founder of unify.org, Jacob lives for community and believes that we are all interconnected with our own special gift to offer the world.

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