Last year I applied to speak at a TEDx conference because I believe in the power of passionate ideas and this is what Tedx talks are all about. My passionate ideas center on a story about the journey I personally and we collectively at Solight-Design have embarked on to bring clean hygienic sustainable solar lighting to the billions of people who live without electricity and to mitigate what is happening to our climate and our environment given the reality of climate change and global warming.
It has been a challenging road getting our first prototypes into market. It has been challenging dealing on many many levels. But here we are.
What mostly went through my mind while preparing for my Tedx talk centered on the small efforts and steps and even hurtful words and setbacks I experienced in bringing forward my belief that I could make a difference. Even the smallest steps to move my beliefs forward have required a village of like minded people who understand and feel the same compassion I feel on the issue of helping electricity poor people and addressing carbon emissions, climate change and solar powered solutions.
My first step was communicating with utmost sincerity the deep fear that we are in a crisis of global proportions, seeded, in the realization that my son could not breath. He and many of his friends had serious asthma caused by the poor air quality in Manhattan. This really opened my eyes to the issue of global warming and the damage fossil fuels was literally doing to my son’s asthmatic lungs.
Early on in in this endeavor, there were people who wanted to crush and extinguish the origin of this story, which was the realization that our children are at risk due to the environmental degradation from global warming due to fossil fuel emissions. Previous lawyers and business partners said to me, “NO ONE CARES ABOUT YOUR SON, HE HAS NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS COMPANY, DON’T TALK ABOUT HIM AGAIN” I recall one older gentleman in particular, who I thought was like minded, sitting across from me as he slurped pho one afternoon during one of our lunch meetings. I told him about my dream to get the SolarPuff to the millions of children who had to endure a dim toxic smoky room from kerosene fumes to read or do laundry at night. He cut me off and said, “NO ONE GIVES A &#@! about your dreams!!! or the SolarPuff!!!” I then of course stopped asking him to lunch and kept searching for that speck of light called compassion. That was about 6 years ago.
So much has happened over the last 6 years. I now have a team of not only believers but also achievers. We are all focused on a two tiered collective mission and purpose to bring millions, literally 10 million solar puffs to the people who need them around the world whether they are in crisis, living in electricity poverty or simply want to reduce their own carbon footprint. We have made real progress with Solight-Design and the SolarPuff.
Our progress gave me the courage to apply to TEDx last year. When I was asked back to audition again, I was filled with nervous energy. My journey with Tedx was a lot like my overall journey with the SolarPuff. Two steps forward, one step back. I went through 4 Tedx auditions and then after the 4th time I was told I was NOT chosen to go on. The Tedx, team said they still liked me so that wanted me to participate as a stand in only. I felt so much frustration and disappointment similar to when I was dealing with naysayers 6 years ago. I asked why I was not chosen, “Was it because I accidently threw the clicker into the audience at the last audition? I’ll glue it to my hand next time, I promise…”
I was asked to the dress rehearsal only as a stand in, but I gave it my all. I figured I had nothing to lose so I gave the sincerest and most emotional talk, I could muster. The sound was not working and there were technical snafus, but in those 5 minutes my delivery and message was enough to change the way the Tedx team looked at my message and me. Afterwards when they told me they wanted me to present! I was a flounder of mush from the roller coaster ride of emotions to get to the place of my Tedx talk really happening. I felt the same kind of exuberance when we achieved approval of our first patent in 2015.
Just like my ongoing struggles to make my dreams a reality of bringing SolarPuffs to the people who need them the most, preparing for the Tedx talk was a mountain of work, angst, and gut wrenching stress as a single mom, juggling teaching and working on SolarPuff next generation product development. The Tedx folks provided many coaching sessions in preparation for my Tedx talk. There was one coach who was especially kind and used his imagination as a coaching tool, he helped me the most, his name was Rah.
Meditation gave me space to prepare and practice every time I took a coaching class. I prayed every day as I lay on my mat in a pool of sweat, for kindness, peace and love. I used this time to ask for guidance, courage, and strength to get through all the turmoil of the days leading up to my Tedx talk. I used prayer and meditation as a way to clear my head of the day to day minutia.
It became clear to me that that everyone has the power to make a difference, to share and pass on.
The call to action challenge 10 Million Rays of light, is to go to faarm.org
And donate a buy one give one light , whether you can or can’t donate, you can stil help, just do a video sharing your inner light. How can you share? Do a Youtube video to some one you love or care about that has brightened your life, and pass it on. Choose someone that matters to you, tell them why they light up your life and challenge them to do the same. The Youtube video starts “I’m one of the 10million rays of light, and so are you, You brighten my life because….…pass it on” in the title #love and light #10Mrays
Be a participant in a brighter future, be a warrior of light.
The hope is that people around the world will share this message so we can bring clean hygienic solar light – the SolarPuff to everyone, reduce our carbon footprint, create an asthma free world and always keep in our hearts that together we hold the sun in our hands, share your inner light, pass it on.
#Love and Light
Professor Alice Chun, Founder CEO, Solight-Design