arry Traill, 51, is most comfortable a long way from the Sydney Opera House, where he will deliver a talk to the TEDxSydney 2014 audience on Saturday, 26th April. Read on to hear why he’s a fan of Bob Brown, bandicoots and barramundi.
Mostly conservation – sometimes what tree to plant exactly where in my garden for the best aesthetic.
What is your definition of adventure?
Two weeks’ work off-track in Northern Oz.
Which living person do you most admire?
Bob Brown. Up close he’s the same as from a distance–he is human and has foibles like us all, but is without doubt a secular saint.
What is your most marked characteristic?
I’m tall and I mumble a lot, though fortunately not usually while public speaking.
When or where did you learn the most?
In New Guinea in my early 20s, learning how radically different other cultures can be.
What is your current state of mind?
Looking forward to a long walk in Arnhem Land at my next break.
What do you consider to be your greatest achievement?
Putting the brakes on large-scale clearing of bushland in Queensland.
Which words or phrases do you most overuse?
What is your idea of perfect happiness?
A river in the bush. Rainbow birds overhead. Bandicoots in the bush. Barramundi in the water.
Who are your heroes in real life?
People who take the harder road and fight for the planet to be better, greener, smarter, happier.
Have you ever had a Eureka moment? If so, what was it?
In research I’ve had a few working out answers as to why particular animals lived in particular places. They usually came in the shower and in dreams like they are supposed to.
Which talent would you most like to have?
When did you first stumble across TED?
A few years ago–I thought a friend was talking about a talk put up on the web by some big-noting eponymous dude called Ted, obviously a bit of a wanker as I had never heard of him.
What’s your favourite TED talk, and why?
Too hard. I like heaps of them–including ones I vehemently think are wrong but are well delivered.
What most excites you about speaking at TEDxSydney 2014?
The chance to talk about Outback to a bloody big audience who may not think about it much.
How’s your work/life balance working out?
Pretty good. Used to be a workaholic, but no more, and more effective for being more chill more often.
If you could choose what to come back as, what would it be?
Tricky question for a zoologist, I have lots of favourite animals I’d like to be for a while. Perhaps a dingo – they are smart and are on top of the food chain in Australia.
What do you do to relax?
I watch the birds come in to the garden.