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Home » Nature Is Everywhere – We Just Need To Learn To See It: Emma Marris (Transcript)

Nature Is Everywhere – We Just Need To Learn To See It: Emma Marris (Transcript)

Full text and summary of environmental writer Emma Marris’ talk titled “Nature Is Everywhere – We Just Need To Learn To See It” at TED conference. In this talk, Emma discusses the evolving definition of nature and highlights the extensive human influence on the planet. She argues that we should redefine nature based on the presence of multiple species and thriving life, rather than whether or not it has been untouched by humans. She emphasizes the importance of allowing children to touch and interact with nature in order to foster a love and care for the environment.

Listen to the audio version here:


We are stealing nature from our children. Now when I say this, I don’t mean that we are destroying nature that they will have wanted us to preserve, although that’s unfortunately also the case. What I mean here is that we started to define nature in a way that’s so purest and so strict that under the definition we’re creating for ourselves, there won’t be any nature left for our children when they’re adults. But, there’s a fix for this.

So let me explain. Right now, humans use half of the world to live, to grow their crops and their timber, to pasture their animals. If you added up all the human beings, we would weigh ten times as much as all the wild mammals put together. We cut roads through the forest, we have added little plastic particles to the sand on ocean beaches, we’ve changed the chemistry of the soil with our artificial fertilizers, and of course, we’ve changed the chemistry of the air.

So when you take your next breath, you’ll be breathing in 42% more carbon dioxide than if you were breathing in 1750. So all of these changes, and many others, have come to be kind of lumped together under this rubric of the Anthropocene. And this is a term that some geologists are suggesting we should give to our current epoch, given how pervasive human influence has been over it. It’s still just a proposed epoch, but I think it’s a helpful way to think about the magnitude of human influence on the planet.

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