Mark Bittman on what's wrong with what we eat
In this fiery and funny talk, New York Times food writer Mark Bittman weighs in on what's wrong with the way we eat now (too much meat, too few plants; too much fast food, too little home cooking), and why it's putting the entire planet at risk.
The silent drama of photography
Economics PhD Sebastião Salgado only took up photography in his 30s, but the discipline became an obsession. His years-long projects beautifully capture the human side of a global story that all too often involves death, destruction or decay. Here, he tells a deeply personal story of the craft that nearly killed him, and shows breathtaking images from his
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3 warp-speed architecture tales
Danish architect Bjarke Ingels rockets through photo/video-mingled stories of his eco-flashy designs. His buildings not only look like nature -- they act like nature: blocking the wind, collecting solar energy -- and creating stunning views.
Dreams from endangered cultures
With stunning photos and stories, National Geographic Explorer Wade Davis celebrates the extraordinary diversity of the world's indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate.
Cradle to cradle design
Green-minded architect and designer William McDonough asks what our buildings and products would look like if designers took into account "all children, all species, for all time."
Kamal Meattle on how to grow fresh air
Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air.
How I fell in love with a fish
Chef Dan Barber squares off with a dilemma facing many chefs today: how to keep fish on the menu. With impeccable research and deadpan humor, he chronicles his pursuit of a sustainable fish he could love, and the foodie's honeymoon he's enjoyed since discovering an outrageously delicious fish raised using a revolutionary farming method in Spain.
Why I must speak out about climate change
Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.
What separates us from chimpanzees?
Jane Goodall hasn't found the missing link, but she's come closer than nearly anyone else. The primatologist says the only real difference between humans and chimps is our sophisticated language. She urges us to start using it to change the world.
Capt. Charles Moore on the seas of plastic
Capt. Charles Moore of the Algalita Marine Research Foundation first discovered the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- an endless floating waste of plastic trash. Now he's drawing attention to the growing, choking problem of plastic debris in our seas.
Freeing energy from the grid
What would happen if we could generate power from our windowpanes? In this moving talk, entrepreneur Justin Hall-Tipping shows the materials that could make that possible, and how questioning our notion of 'normal' can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs.
Averting the climate crisis
With the same humor and humanity he exuded in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore spells out 15 ways that individuals can address climate change immediately, from buying a hybrid to inventing a new, hotter "brand name" for global warming.
Uber's plan to get more people into fewer cars
Uber didn't start out with grand ambitions to cut congestion and pollution. But as the company took off, co-founder Travis Kalanick wondered if there was a way to get people using Uber along the same routes to share rides, reducing costs and carbon footprint along the way. The result: uberPOOL, the company's carpooling service, which in its first eight months took 7.9
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The global food waste scandal
Western countries throw out nearly half of their food, not because it’s inedible -- but because it doesn’t look appealing. Tristram Stuart delves into the shocking data of wasted food, calling for a more responsible use of global resources.
The business logic of sustainability
At his carpet company, Ray Anderson has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional "take / make / waste" industrial system on its head. In a gentle, understated way, he shares a powerful vision for sustainable commerce.
Transition to a world without oil
Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem -- the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels.
The world's oldest living things
Rachel Sussman shows photographs of the world's oldest continuously living organisms -- from 2,000-year-old brain coral off Tobago's coast to an "underground forest" in South Africa that has lived since before the dawn of agriculture.
Let the environment guide our development
Human growth has strained the Earth's resources, but as Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine "planetary boundaries" that can guide us in protecting our planet's many overlapping ecosystems.
What can save the rainforest? Your used cell phone
The sounds of the rainforest include: the chirps of birds, the buzz of cicadas, the banter of gibbons. But in the background is the almost-always present sound of a chainsaw, from illegal loggers. Engineer Topher White shares a simple, scalable way to stop this brutal deforestation — that starts with your old cell phone.
Peter Ward on Earth's mass extinctions
Asteroid strikes get all the coverage, but "Medea Hypothesis" author Peter Ward argues that most of Earth's mass extinctions were caused by lowly bacteria. The culprit, a poison called hydrogen sulfide, may have an interesting application in medicine.
This computer will grow your food in the future
What if we could grow delicious, nutrient-dense food, indoors anywhere in the world? Caleb Harper, director of the Open Agriculture Initiative at the MIT Media Lab, wants to change the food system by connecting growers with technology. Get to know Harper's "food computers" and catch a glimpse of what the future of farming might look like.
How trees talk to each other
"A forest is much more than what you see," says ecologist Suzanne Simard. Her 30 years of research in Canadian forests have led to an astounding discovery — trees talk, often and over vast distances. Learn more about the harmonious yet complicated social lives of trees and prepare to see the natural world with new eyes.
Greening the ghetto
In an emotionally charged talk, MacArthur-winning activist Majora Carter details her fight for environmental justice in the South Bronx -- and shows how minority neighborhoods suffer most from flawed urban policy.
Are mushrooms the new plastic?
Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens -- and the environment.
John Francis walks the Earth
For almost three decades, John Francis has been a planetwalker, traveling the globe by foot and sail with a message of environmental respect and responsibility (for 17 of those years without speaking). A funny, thoughtful talk with occasional banjo.
Buildings that blend nature and city
A skyscraper that channels the breeze ... a building that creates community around a hearth ... Jeanne Gang uses architecture to build relationships. In this engaging tour of her work, Gang invites us into buildings large and small, from a surprising local community center to a landmark Chicago skyscraper. "Through architecture, we can do much more than create
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Fusion is energy's future
Physicist Steven Cowley is certain that nuclear fusion is the only truly sustainable solution to the fuel crisis. He explains why fusion will work -- and details the projects that he and many others have devoted their lives to, working against the clock to create a new source of energy.
Chemical scum that dream of distant quasars
Legendary scientist David Deutsch puts theoretical physics on the back burner to discuss a more urgent matter: the survival of our species. The first step toward solving global warming, he says, is to admit that we have a problem.
Does the world need nuclear energy?
Nuclear power: the energy crisis has even die-hard environmentalists reconsidering it. In this first-ever TED debate, Stewart Brand and Mark Z. Jacobson square off over the pros and cons. A discussion that'll make you think -- and might even change your mind.
The surprising thing I learned sailing solo around the world
What do you learn when you sail around the world on your own? When solo sailor Ellen MacArthur circled the globe – carrying everything she needed with her – she came back with new insight into the way the world works, as a place of interlocking cycles and finite resources, where the decisions we make today affect what's left for tomorrow. She proposes a bold new way
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Accepting his 2005 TED Prize, photographer Edward Burtynsky makes a wish: that his images -- stunning landscapes that document humanity's impact on the world -- help persuade millions to join a global conversation on sustainability.
Tierney Thys swims with the giant sunfish
Marine biologist Tierney Thys asks us to step into the water to visit the world of the Mola mola, or giant ocean sunfish. Basking, eating jellyfish and getting massages, this behemoth offers clues to life in the open sea.
Life in Biosphere 2
At TEDxUSC, Jane Poynter tells her story of living two years and 20 minutes in Biosphere 2 -- an experience that provoked her to explore how we might sustain life in the harshest of environments.
The oil spill's unseen culprits, victims
The Gulf oil spill dwarfs comprehension, but we know this much: it's bad. Carl Safina scrapes out the facts in this blood-boiling cross-examination, arguing that the consequences will stretch far beyond the Gulf -- and many so-called solutions are making the situation worse.
John Doerr sees salvation and profit in greentech
"I don't think we're going to make it," John Doerr says in an emotional talk about climate change and investment. To create a world fit for his daughter to live in, he says, we need to invest now in clean, green energy.
Don't build your home, grow it!
TED Fellow and urban designer Mitchell Joachim presents his vision for sustainable, organic architecture: eco-friendly abodes grown from plants and -- wait for it -- meat.
Dive into an ocean photographer's world
Somersaulting manta rays, dashing dolphins, swarming schools of fish and munching sharks inhabit a world beneath the ocean's surface that few get a chance to see. Conservation photographer Thomas Peschak visits incredible seascapes around the world, and his photos reveal these hidden ecosystems. "You can't love something and become a champion for it if you don't know
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How an old loop of railroads is changing the face of a city
Urban planner Ryan Gravel shares the story of how his hometown of Atlanta, Georgia, rallied to build a massive urban park that will transform an abandoned railroad track into 22 miles of public green space called the Atlanta BeltLine. The places we live aren't inevitable, he says — and if we want something different, we need to speak up.
Stewart Brand proclaims 4 environmental 'heresies'
The man who helped usher in the environmental movement in the 1960s and '70s has been rethinking his positions on cities, nuclear power, genetic modification and geo-engineering. This talk at the US State Department is a foretaste of his major new book, sure to provoke widespread debate.
A forgotten Space Age technology could change how we grow food
We're heading for a world population of 10 billion people — but what will we all eat? Lisa Dyson rediscovered an idea developed by NASA in the 1960s for deep-space travel, and it could be a key to reinventing how we grow food.
Amory Lovins on winning the oil endgame
In this energizing talk, Amory Lovins lays out his simple plan for weaning the US off oil and revitalizing the economy.
Matthew Childs' 9 life lessons from rock climbing
In this talk from TED University 2009, veteran rock climber Matthew Childs shares nine pointers for rock climbing. These handy tips bear on an effective life at sea level, too.
The beautiful tricks of flowers
In this visually dazzling talk, Jonathan Drori shows the extraordinary ways flowering plants -- over a quarter million species -- have evolved to attract insects to spread their pollen: growing 'landing-strips' to guide the insects in, shining in ultraviolet, building elaborate traps, and even mimicking other insects in heat.
The shareable future of cities
How can cities help save the future? Alex Steffen shows some cool neighborhood-based green projects that expand our access to things we want and need -- while reducing the time we spend in cars.
Life lessons from big cats
Beverly + Dereck Joubert live in the bush, filming and photographing lions and leopards in their natural habitat. With stunning footage (some never before seen), they discuss their personal relationships with these majestic animals -- and their quest to save the big cats from human threats.
Al Gore warns on latest climate trends
At TED2009, Al Gore presents updated slides from around the globe to make the case that worrying climate trends are even worse than scientists predicted, and to make clear his stance on "clean coal."
How big brands can help save biodiversity
Convince just 100 key companies to go sustainable, and WWF's Jason Clay says global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown. Hear how his extraordinary roundtables are getting big brand rivals to agree on green practices first -- before their products duke it out on store shelves.
Yann Arthus-Bertrand captures fragile Earth in wide-angle
In this image-filled talk, Yann Arthus-Bertrand displays his three most recent projects on humanity and our habitat -- stunning aerial photographs in his series "The Earth From Above," personal interviews from around the globe featured in his web project "6 billion Others," and his soon-to-be-released movie, "Home," which documents human impact on the environment
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High-altitude wind energy from kites!
In this brief talk, Saul Griffith unveils the invention his new company Makani Power has been working on: giant kite turbines that create surprising amounts of clean, renewable energy.
The real danger lurking in the water
The gharial and king cobra are two of India's most iconic reptiles, and they're endangered because of polluted waterways. Conservationist Romulus Whitaker shows rare footage of these magnificent animals and urges us to save the rivers that sustain their lives and our own.
Why we're storing billions of seeds
In this brief talk from TED U 2009, Jonathan Drori encourages us to save biodiversity -- one seed at a time. Reminding us that plants support human life, he shares the vision of the Millennium Seed Bank, which has stored over 3 billion seeds to date from dwindling yet essential plant species.
How to air-condition outdoor spaces
During the hot summer months, watching an outdoor sports match or concert can be tantamount to baking uncomfortably in the sun -- but it doesn’t have to be. At the TEDxSummit in Doha, physicist Wolfgang Kessling reveals sustainable design innovations that cool us from above and below, and even collects solar energy for later use.
How do you save a shark you know nothing about?
They're the second largest fish in the world, they're almost extinct, and we know almost nothing about them. At TEDxDublin, Simon Berrow describes the fascinating basking shark ("Great Fish of the Sun" in Irish), and the exceptional -- and wonderfully low-tech -- ways he's learning enough to save them.
My country will be underwater soon — unless we work together
For the people of Kiribati, climate change isn't something to be debated, denied or legislated against — it's an everyday reality. The low-lying Pacific island nation may soon be underwater, thanks to rising sea levels. In a personal conversation with TED Curator Chris Anderson, Kiribati President Anote Tong discusses his country's present climate catastrophe and its
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A visual history of inequality in industrial America
For the last 12 years, LaToya Ruby Frazier has photographed friends, neighbors and family in Braddock, Pennsylvania. But though the steel town has lately been hailed as a posterchild of "rustbelt revitalization," Frazier's pictures tell a different story, of the real impact of inequality and environmental toxicity. In this short, powerful talk, the TED Fellow shares a
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One seed at a time, protecting the future of food
The varieties of wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside a vast global seed bank, buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop for whatever tomorrow may bring.
The route to a sustainable future
Worldchanging.com founder Alex Steffen argues that reducing humanity’s ecological footprint is incredibly vital now, as the western consumer lifestyle spreads to developing countries.
Gordon Brown on global ethic vs. national interest
Can the interests of an individual nation be reconciled with humanity's greater good? Can a patriotic, nationally elected politician really give people in other countries equal consideration? Following his TEDTalk calling for a global ethic, UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown fields questions from TED Curator Chris Anderson.
Eric Sanderson pictures New York -- before the City
400 years after Hudson found New York harbor, Eric Sanderson shares how he made a 3D map of Mannahatta's fascinating pre-city ecology of hills, rivers, wildlife -- accurate down to the block -- when Times Square was a wetland and you couldn't get delivery.
Life science in prison
Nalini Nadkarni challenges our perspective on trees and prisons -- she says both can be more dynamic than we think. Through a partnership with the state of Washington, she brings science classes and conservation programs to inmates, with unexpected results.
Sustainable seafood? Let's get smart
Chef Barton Seaver presents a modern dilemma: Seafood is one of our healthier protein options, but overfishing is desperately harming our oceans. He suggests a simple way to keep fish on the dinner table that includes every mom's favorite adage -- "Eat your vegetables!"
The political chemistry of oil
In the Gulf oil spill's aftermath, Lisa Margonelli says drilling moratoriums and executive ousters make for good theater, but distract from the issue at its heart: our unrestrained oil consumption. She shares her bold plan to wean America off of oil -- by confronting consumers with its real cost.
How the market can keep streams flowing
With streams and rivers drying up because of over-usage, Rob Harmon has implemented an ingenious market mechanism to bring back the water. Farmers and beer companies find their fates intertwined in the intriguing century-old tale of Prickly Pear Creek.
Why not eat insects?
Marcel Dicke makes an appetizing case for adding insects to everyone's diet. His message to squeamish chefs and foodies: delicacies like locusts and caterpillars compete with meat in flavor, nutrition and eco-friendliness.
The science behind a climate headline
In 4 minutes, atmospheric chemist Rachel Pike provides a glimpse of the massive scientific effort behind the bold headlines on climate change, with her team -- one of thousands who contributed -- taking a risky flight over the rainforest in pursuit of data on a key molecule.
A secret weapon against Zika and other mosquito-borne diseases
Where did Zika come from, and what can we do about it? Molecular biologist Nina Fedoroff takes us around the world to understand Zika's origins and how it spread, proposing a controversial way to stop the virus — and other deadly diseases — by preventing infected mosquitoes from multiplying.
How to grow a forest in your backyard
Forests don't have to be far-flung nature reserves, isolated from human life. Instead, we can grow them right where we are — even in cities. Eco-entrepreneur and TED Fellow Shubhendu Sharma grows ultra-dense, biodiverse mini-forests of native species in urban areas by engineering soil, microbes and biomass to kickstart natural growth processes. Follow along as he
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How I teach kids to love science
At the Harbour School in Hong Kong, TED Senior Fellow Cesar Harada teaches citizen science and invention to the next generation of environmentalists. He's moved his classroom into an industrial mega-space where imaginative kids work with wood, metal, chemistry, biology, optics and, occasionally, power tools to create solutions to the threats facing the world's oceans.
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What's wrong with our food system
11-year-old Birke Baehr presents his take on a major source of our food -- far-away and less-than-picturesque industrial farms. Keeping farms out of sight promotes a rosy, unreal picture of big-box agriculture, he argues, as he outlines the case to green and localize food production.
How fear of nuclear power is hurting the environment
"We're not in a clean energy revolution; we're in a clean energy crisis," says climate policy expert Michael Shellenberger. His surprising solution: nuclear. In this passionate talk, he explains why it's time to overcome longstanding fears of the technology, and why he and other environmentalists believe it's past time to embrace nuclear as a viable and desirable
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Global priorities bigger than climate change
Given $50 billion to spend, which would you solve first, AIDS or global warming? Danish political scientist Bjorn Lomborg comes up with surprising answers.
The art of the eco-mindshift
Natalie Jeremijenko's unusual lab puts art to work, and addresses environmental woes by combining engineering know-how with public art and a team of volunteers. These real-life experiments include: Walking tadpoles, texting "fish," planting fire-hydrant gardens and more.
This app makes it fun to pick up litter
The earth is a big place to keep clean. With Litterati — an app for users to identify, collect and geotag the world's litter — TED Resident Jeff Kirschner has created a community that's crowdsource-cleaning the planet. After tracking trash in more than 100 countries, Kirschner hopes to use the data he's collected to work with brands and organizations to stop litter
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How we're growing baby corals to rebuild reefs
Kristen Marhaver studies corals, tiny creatures the size of a poppyseed that, over hundreds of slow years, create beautiful, life-sustaining ocean structures hundreds of miles long. As she admits, it's easy to get sad about the state of coral reefs; they're in the news lately because of how quickly they're bleaching, dying and turning to slime. But the good news is
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The coolest animal you know nothing about ... and how we can save it
Although the tapir is one of the world's largest land mammals, the lives of these solitary, nocturnal creatures have remained a mystery. Known as "the living fossil," the very same tapir that roams the forests and grasslands of South America today arrived on the evolutionary scene more than 5 million years ago. But threats from poachers, deforestation and pollution,
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How I turned a deadly plant into a thriving business
The water hyacinth may look like a harmless, even beautiful flowering plant — but it's actually an invasive aquatic weed that clogs waterways, stopping trade, interrupting schooling and disrupting everyday life. In this scourge, green entrepreneur Achenyo Idachaba saw opportunity. Follow her journey as she turns weeds into woven wonders.
The taboo secret to healthier plants and people
Our poop and pee have superpowers, but for the most part we don't harness them. Molly Winter faces down our squeamishness and asks us to see what goes down the toilet as a resource, one that can help fight climate change, spur innovation and even save us money.
Clues to prehistoric times, found in blind cavefish
TED Fellow Prosanta Chakrabarty explores hidden parts of the world in search of new species of cave-dwelling fish. These subterranean creatures have developed fascinating adaptations, and they provide biological insights into blindness as well as geological clues about how the continents broke apart million of years ago. Contemplate deep time in this short talk.
Janine Benyus shares nature's designs
In this inspiring talk about recent developments in biomimicry, Janine Benyus provides heartening examples of ways in which nature is already influencing the products and systems we build.
Why Earth may someday look like Mars
Every minute, 400 pounds of hydrogen and almost 7 pounds of helium escape from Earth's atmosphere into outer space. Astrophysicist Anjali Tripathi studies the phenomenon of atmospheric escape, and in this fascinating and accessible talk, she considers how this process might one day (a few billion years from now) turn our blue planet red.
Art made of the air we breathe
Emily Parsons-Lord re-creates air from distinct moments in Earth's history — from the clean, fresh-tasting air of the Carboniferous period to the soda-water air of the Great Dying to the heavy, toxic air of the future we're creating. By turning air into art, she invites us to know the invisible world around us. Breathe in the Earth's past and future in this
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Every pollen grain has a story
Pollen goes unnoticed by most of us, except when hay fever strikes. But microscopes reveal it comes in stunning colors and shapes -- and travels remarkably well. Jonathan Drori gives an up-close glimpse of these fascinating flecks of plant courtship.
How we rescued the "dancing" bears
Traditionally, the Kalandar community of India has survived by capturing sloth bear cubs and training them to "dance" through extreme cruelty. Kartick Satyanarayan has been able to put an end to this centuries-old practice, and in so doing discovered a lesson of wider significance: make the practitioners part of the solution.