/sci/ Science & Math

 

 No.25

A Catastrophic Blackout is Coming - Here's How We Can Stop It

We are terrible at listening to warnings about disaster." In this powerful and prescient talk, Helena's Sam Feinburg speaks to the threat of a catastrophic blackout, what each of us can do to protect our grid, and the quirk in the human mind that makes problems of this ilk - like pandemics or nuclear proliferation - so desperately hard to solve.

Sam is the Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer of Helena, a problem-solving institution that addresses urgent societal issues through for-profit, non-profit, and legislative action.

Helena's first project, "Factory in the Sky," supported the construction of the first commercial carbon capture factory by the Swiss company Climeworks, which is now operating in 15 countries globally. Its second project, "Shield", catalyzed state and federal action to help protect the North American electrical grid from threats due to solar storms and cyber-attack, including a 2019 Presidential Executive Order. Its third, 'America in One Room', organized one of the largest political experiments in U.S. history in an effort to improve the way citizens evaluate candidates for public office, featured on the front page of the New York Times, and was hailed by US President Barack Obama.

Helena operates its projects with a small group of leaders it calls "Helena Members". They include Nobel Laureates, Academy Award winners, former CIA Directors, Olympic athletes, NGO leaders, technology entrepreneurs, explorers and more.

Outside of Helena, Sam serves as Social Entrepreneur in Residence at The Boston Consulting Group. In 2014, Sam won the World Schools Debating Championships as a member of the England Debate Team.

This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at https://www.ted.com/tedx


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