Eight TED talks about the environment

In 2013 we brought you our six favourite TEDx talks about food security, which we followed with 9 more in 2014. This time, to celebrate World Environment Day on June 5th we bring you some of our favourite TED talks about climate change, biodiversity and the environment. We’d love for you to share your favourites and to hear your thoughts about our list on twitter using #TEDenvironment and our handle, @Ag4Impact


  1. Jonathan Drori: Why we’re storing billions of seeds highlights the importance of biodiversity for supporting life, and looks into the Millennium Seed bank where billions of seeds, including non-food plants, are being stored for posterity.



2. Cary Fowler: One seed at a time, protecting the future of food takes this idea further, by looking at the Svalbard Global Seed Vault that stores millions of specifically food-crop seeds. Cary describes biodiversity is the ‘raw material’ of agriculture and highlights the importance of storing these seeds for “whatever tomorrow may bring”


3. Jonathan Foley: The other inconvenient truth looks at agriculture as a major driver of climate change, environmental degradation and biodiversity loss, and considers some ways that improving the global food system could help to change the direction of this trend for an agricultural sector that is better for farmers and the environment.



4. Vicki Arroyo: Let’s prepare for our new climate argues that we need to adapt, now, for the changing climate to protect our homes and cities, and avoid climate-related disasters and conflicts. By looking at bold projects around the world, she highlights that thinking and planning ahead, and taking climate risks as a given when making plans, will save lives.



5. Alex Steffen: The route to a sustainable future looks at how we can help developing countries become prosperous in the context of a growing population and a changing climate. He highlights the need for sustainable development for both developed and developing nations.



6. Michael Metcalfe: A provocative way to finance the fight against climate change, considers the policy risks taken during the financial crash of 2008 and the commitments around the world to do ‘whatever it takes’ to prevent the economy collapsing. This resulted in quantitative easing, or the printing of money. Metcalfe considers whether the same monetary tool could work to combat climate change by funding a global commitment to a greener future.



7. Johan Rockstrom: Let the environment guide our development considers the increasingly strained natural resources due to the ‘great acceleration’ of human enterprise. Rockstrom points out that we have the tools, through scientific advances, to change our behaviour and ultimately protect, even improve, the state of the world’s ecosystems. Also, see his more recent talk for TEDx, Are we bankrupting nature?



8. Pamela Ronald: The case for engineering our food, makes the case for using modern genetic techniques to engineer crops that are more resistant to disease and environmental stresses such as extreme weather – two of the biggest threats to sustainability in agricultural systems today.



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