Lisa Margonelli: The political chemistry of oil

Speaking one month after the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Lisa Margonelli shows how drilling moratoriums and executive ousters make for good theater, but distract us from the issue at heart: our unrestrained oil consumption. She shares her bold plan to wean America off oil — by confronting consumers with its real cost.

Aala El-Khani: What it’s like to be a parent in a war zone

How do parents protect their children and help them feel secure again when their homes are ripped apart by war? In this warm-hearted talk, psychologist Aala El-Khani shares her work supporting — and learning from — refugee families affected by the civil war in Syria. She asks: How can we help these loving parents give their kids the warm, secure parenting they most need?

 

Sebastian Junger: Our lonely society makes it hard to come home from war

Sebastian Junger has seen war up close, and he knows the impact that battlefield trauma has on soldiers. But he suggests there’s another major cause of pain for veterans when they come home: the experience of leaving the tribal closeness of the military and returning to an alienating and bitterly divided modern society. “Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets,” Junger says. “I think the real question is if we can save ourselves.”

Elizabeth Lesser: Say your truths and seek them in others

In a lyrical, unexpectedly funny talk about heavy topics such as frayed relationships and the death of a loved one, Elizabeth Lesser describes the healing process of putting aside pride and defensiveness to make way for soul-baring and truth-telling. “You don’t have to wait for a life-or-death situation to clean up the relationships that matter to you,” she says. “Be like a new kind of first responder … the one to take the first courageous step toward the other.”