Importance of Natural Resources

Saving Our Planet: Nature’s Mysteries Revealed Through a Lens | Louie Schwartzberg | TEDxJacksonHole

Translator: Theresa Ranft
Reviewer: Denise RQ I’m a filmmaker, and I love
to tell stories about adversity. When an animal or human being
shares their story with you about survival or resilience, it’s a really big responsibility, because then you have to carry that story
with you the rest of your life. It’s both a blessing and a burden. But we really live, I think,
in a very unique time right now. We’re going through what I think is called
“breakdown or breakthrough”. The environment is being damaged, but technology and creativity
are offering really exciting solutions. And I think we all chose to be born here
at this particular time and place in order to make a change. And a change we need
is a shift in consciousness in order to change our behavior. The big question I think is going to be:
will it happen in time? So let me share a journey with you
through the lens of my camera. [“Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.”
– Thich Nhat Hanh] (Video) (Soft music) Louie Schwartzberg: Mindfulness: it’s like film inside of a camera, sitting in the dark, waiting for light to strike, without judgment and preconceived notions to any subject. People who are mindful are more patient
and willing to help others. They look for greater life experiences
over material products and greater life satisfaction. Whether you’re a scientist,
teacher, or artist, or child, we need to develop the sense of wonder. Curiosity in nature makes us take risks, go exploring, take on new challenges
to improve our skills. We look back at these challenges
as blessings in disguise. It’s these blessings
that the heart remembers that engenders gratitude. [“Mindfulness is
about love and loving life. When you cultivate this love, it gives you clarity and compassion
for life.” – Jon Kabat-Zinn] (Video ends) LS: I learned a lot by observing nature. But growing up, I observed gratitude
from a whole different lens. These are my parents. They were born in Poland,
and they were both Holocaust survivors. They met in a relocation camp
after the war in Germany, and after knowing
each other for two weeks, they decided to get married. And they had friends who’d only met
for a couple of weeks, who they wrangled to be their stand-in parents
to walk them down the aisle. They came to America with dreams
and hopes of starting a family. When we talk about resilience,
from the ashes comes rebirth. And this is me in New York. I didn’t get to experience nature because when my parents were in camps,
they didn’t experience nature either. But I did send popsicle sticks
down the gutter, which was an amazing white-water
rafting experience for me. (Laughter) But I did learn to appreciate
the little things in life, like food on the table,
a roof over your head, the miracle to have
children, a steady job. That was heaven on earth to my parents. So I went to UCLA, and I wanted
to be involved as a lawyer [to fight for] social justice. There was a revolution going on
right outside my door. The police would sweep the campus,
and they’d crack heads, and the only way to fight back
was to pick up a camera, and I documented the police brutality
that was occurring on campus. And I found out
that handing in a photo essay was a lot easier
than writing a term paper. (Laughter) And that’s when I found my voice. I fell in love with photography,
I fell in love with filmmaking. And I’m really attracted to stories
of people who’ve overcome adversity, both people and the nature. So I got involved in doing a film
about the bees, Colony Collapse Disorder, I’m sure you all know
about how the bees are disappearing. Bees and their pollinating partners,
the flowers, are responsible for one-third of the food we eat: fruits, nuts, vegetables, and seeds. But why are they dying? Well, it’s got a lot to do
with environmental factors that affect us as well as them, the spraying of pesticides and GMOs. These chemicals
are brought back to the hive, and the EPA might test
like one chemical, and say, “Well, yeah, that’s safe,
you know, five parts per million.” But in the hive,
they’ve got 16 different chemicals, and it’s killing the brood. Loss of habitat,
that’s a big problem as well. And imagine: living in a box,
traveling on the back of a truck, 50,000 miles a year
from one monoculture to another. How would you feel? This keystone event
between flowers and pollinators is really a mystical moment, where the animal world and the plant world
get together billions of times every day, for DNA to move forward,
and life to flourish. So I’m super grateful
for the bees and the flowers, because they give us food,
shelter, and medicine. And after learning so much
about the plants, I wondered, “Well, what do plants need
in order to survive?” We know they need water,
and they need sunshine, but most importantly, they need soil. So where does soil come from? What can decompose rock
and organic matter? It’s the largest organism on the planet. It can heal you, it can feed you, it can clean up an oil spill,
it can even shift your consciousness. It’s mycelium. Mycelium is the root structure
of budding mushrooms, and it’s everywhere. There’s a patch in Oregon
that’s 2,000 acres and 2,400 years old. I want to share a clip with you right now from the film I’m working on
called “Fantastic Fungi”. (Video starts) (Music) Paul Stamets: Mushroom mycelium represents
rebirth, rejuvenation, regeneration. Fungi generate soil that gives life. The task that we face today
is to understand the language of nature. My mission is to discover
the language of nature of the fungal networks
that communicate with the ecosystem. I believe nature is intelligent. The fact that we lack the language skills
to communicate with nature does not impugn the concept
that nature’s intelligent, it speaks to our inadequacy
for communication. If we don’t get our act together
and come in commonality and understanding with the organisms that sustain us today, not only will we destroy those organisms
but we will destroy ourselves. We need to have a paradigm shift
in our consciousness. What will it take to achieve that? If I die trying,
but I’m inadequate to the task to make it a course change
in the evolution of life on this planet, OK, I tried. The fact is I tried. How many people are not trying? If you knew that every breath you took
could save hundreds of lives in the future had you walked down
this path of knowledge, wouldn’t you run down that path
of knowledge as fast as you could? I believe nature is a force of good. Good is not only a concept,
it is a spirit, and so hopefully, this spirit
of goodness will survive. LS: So Paul is really
an amazing scientist. Right now, he’s working
with Washington State University on an experiment where he discovered that bees like to kind of, you know,
burrow in rotting wood, picking up the fungi which might be a cure
for Colony Collapse Disorder. And those same mushrooms are
also being tested for herpes and Ebola, so we’ll wait to see
what happens with that. But what a miracle! Fungi and people
actually share a lot in common; we evolved from fungi. Mushrooms have protein
that’s even better than beans, they can also build up your immune system. They found out that Turkey Tail,
for example, is a wonderful supplement for women that are having breast cancer. And Lion’s Mane Mushroom helps eliminate
the amyloid plaque on the brain, so it’s really beneficial for people
with Alzheimer’s and with memory loss. There are great studies
happening right now at NYU, UCLA, and Johns Hopkins, where psilocybin is being administered
to patients with severe depression, post-traumatic stress syndrome,
as well as terminally ill cancer patients, so they can enable themselves
to feel connected, perhaps having an epiphany experience by stimulating the natural [serotonin]
that is inside of all of our brains. Mushrooms can also
clean up toxic oil spills, they’re the great disassemblers of nature. They can break down oil, toxic waste, into their basic elements of carbon. And guess what? Scientists now believe that perhaps the greatest natural solution
to climate change could be mushrooms. In cooperation with
their plant partners and photosynthesis, what we can do is take a natural solution, which is let the plants and the trees
take the CO2 out of the air, give us the oxygen to breathe, and the carbon that has been tested
with radioisotopes goes down through the roots,
into the ground, and touches the mycelium. And the mycelium takes the carbon,
sequesters it underground, and gives the plants and the trees the nutrients they need
in order to flourish. We share so much with fungi,
which is very weird. (Laughter) There are more fungi in the world
than there are plants. Actually, they’re only second to insects. They’re 25% of the biomass on our planet. So, you might be wondering
what’s the connection between mindfulness,
and mushrooms, and my parents? (Laughter) I think that we all have
a desire to be connected, and maybe because I grew up
realizing I had no family, I’m looking for a connection. I never even had photographs
of grandparents or other relatives. So I know we all yearn for that,
we yearn to be connected to something that celebrates life,
that we can feel good about. And I really believe
that life wants to flourish. We just need to get out of the way
and make it unstoppable. Thank you. (Applause)

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