20 Best TED Talks on the Environment

The non-profit TED is a small organization devoted to Ideas Worth Spreading. It began in 1984 as a conference which strived to join people from the three worlds of technology, entertainment, and design. Shortly after, it became well known for the talks given by experts in each of their respective fields. Since the inception of the internet and video streaming, it has grown into a gigantic site, with a huge database. Best of all, it is free for the viewing and completely ad free.

If sifting through the net, or even TED itself, for expert information on the environment, stop here. Below are the 20 best TED talks on the environment loaded with experts, scientist, and well-known environmental activists. They are listed by current number of “most favorite all time.” Averaging about ten to 20 minutes in length each, a few hours can have you seeing the Earth in a whole new light.

Best TED Science Talks on the Environment

Learn more about science and the problem before diving into the solution with these environmental Ted talks.

    1. Brian Greene : Watch this video to learn about the little known Superstring Theory of science. Brian is one of the best known proponents of the idea that theorizes that minuscule strands of energy vibrate in eleven dimensions and create every particle and force in the universe. Heavy stuff includes an in-depth explanation and history of the theory dating all the way back to 1907. Not even 20 minutes long, this TED talk could change the way you see the environment and science.

    2. David Gallo : He is an expert on the deep sea. He has spent many days journeying over two and a half hours to the depths of the ocean to capture little seen creatures that live among us. Images include a color-shifting cuttlefish, pinwheel fish, camouflaged octopus, and much more. David also includes shallow water creatures that are lesser known.

    3. Juan Enriquez : What do the economy, science, and the environment have in common? Watch Juan’s video to find out. He is the founding director of the Harvard Business School Life Sciences Project, former CEO of Mexico City’s Urban Development Corporation, and chief of staff for Mexico’s secretary of state. In his talk for TED, he theorizes that the big reboot will come from the laboratory and that our children will be different from us.

    4. Philip Zimbardo : Learn what distinguishes a hero from a monster in this TED talk. Philip headed up the 1971 Stanford prison experiment which took place in the now infamous Abu Ghraib prison. He is also author of the book “The Lucifer Experiment.” In the talk, he discusses how easy it is for people to turn bad, along with how to turn them back.

    5. Brian Cox : You may have heard of the “super collider,” but how much do you truly know about it? Physicist Brian Cox from the University of Manchester works with the Large Hadron Collider at CERN and can often be found explaining big science to the general public. Brian brings you a tour of the huge project, what it does, and why it does it.

    6. Sam Harris : Is there a relationship between science and human values? With graduate degrees from Stanford and UCLA, Sam is author of books such as “The End of Faith” and “Letter to a Christian Nation.” Questions of good and evil, right and wrong are sought to be answered solely by science, shaping human values and setting out to define what constitutes a good life.

    7. Jane Goodall : In 1960, she went to Gombe to study the chimpanzees and came up with more than ever imagined. In one of her few free for the viewing appearances, she discusses the differences between humans and chimps. The sophisticated language of humans is talked about, as well as how we can use it to change the world is discussed.

    8. Gever Tulley : He is the founder of the Tinkering School located in California which teaches children from eight to 17 how to build things. In a must see talk for TED, he discusses five dangerous things you actually should let your child do. Helping your kids to avoid real danger and discover science is shared in this short video.

    9. Martin Rees : Is humanity on its last one hundred years? This is the question posed by astronomer Martin Rees. He is a professor of cosmology and astrophysics at the University of Cambridge and the UK’s Astronomer Royal. He examines the planet and its future from a cosmic perspective with images to go along. A plan of action to prevent dark consequences is also shared.

    10. Eric Giler : Hate plugging in your wireless device to repower it? Those days might be coming to an end. The CEO of MIT inspired WiTricity, Eric has a near to market invention that can do just that. If it succeeds, plugs, outlets, power lines, and related items may become dinosaurs. The talk covers what the technology offers, as well as includes demonstrations.

Best TED Talks to Save the Environment

If ready to roll up your sleeves and take action, these are the environmental TED talks for you.

    11. Mark Bittman : He is a bestselling cookbook author, journalist, and television personality. Also a writer for “The New York Times,” the food writer chimes in on how and what we eat is putting the entire planet at risk. He compares current eating practices to the discovery of the bomb. His solution includes less meat, more plants, more home cooking, and less drive thru.

    12. Paul Stamets : Ever play the Super Mario game where a mushroom has fantastic properties? No longer just for video games, Paul Stamets believes that mushrooms can save our lives, restore our ecosystems, and transform other worlds. An entrepreneurial mycologist, Paul believes there are six ways mycelium fungus can save the environment including cleaning soil, making insecticides, treating smallpox, and more.

    13. Ray Kurzweil : Learn how technology will transform of by 2020 in this TED talk. Ray Kurzweil is an engineer who has radically advanced the fields of speech, text, and audio technology. Focusing on the human brain and how nanobots can and will operate consciousness, get a detailed explanation of how and why.

    14. Jamie Oliver : You probably know him from his show “Food Fight” on ABC. This young British chef was also the star of the “Naked Chef” and author of a slew of books. In his TED talks, he discusses the obesity epidemic and how food and environment can change it.

    15. Wade Davis : Do the next best thing next to riding shotgun with National Geographic expert Wade Davis and share photos and insights of his journeys. In the TED talk, he showcases the diversity of the world’s indigenous cultures, which are disappearing from the planet at an alarming rate. Learn more about everyone from Andes mountain dwellers to Aborigines here.

    16. David Deutsch : Is the first step to solving global warming admitting we have a problem? Live from Oxford, this scientist attempts to answer just that. He suggests putting theoretical physics on the back burner and focusing on the survival of our species. David is author of the book “The Fabric of Reality” which laid the groundwork for the Theory of Everything.

    17. Al Gore : No stranger to environmental issues, the former Vice President has spent the last ten years speaking on the climate crisis. In this talk for TED, he 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. Recorded in 2006, over 16 minutes of video is free for the viewing.

    18. Michael Pritchard : If you are reading this, clean water is probably something you have complete access to. However, a great deal of the world is denied this luxury, which can be deadly. With cutting-edge nanotech, Michael Pritchard’s Lifesaver water-purification bottle could revolutionize water-delivery systems in disaster-stricken areas around the globe. In this amazing demonstration, he shows how his filter can make filthy water drinkable in seconds.

    19. Chris Jordan : It’s just a paper cup, what harm can it do? In this talk for TED, Chris tallies the numbers of modern American life with mind blowing numbers. He also uses photography and technology to make artistic images that are both beautiful and concerning. Everyday items and what you can do to reduce impact are discussed.

    20. Al Gore : But wait, there’s more! The former Vice President returns in 2008 to present a brand new slideshow following up on the documentary “An Inconvenient Truth.” He presents evidence that the pace of climate change may be even worse than scientists recently predicted. Nearly 30 minutes challenge optimism, outcome, and much more.

Learn loads about the Earth, climate change, global warming, and related issues in the above 20 best TED talks on the environment. Whether a student of science or worried about your grandchildren, they will give you new perspective. You can also visit TED often, as they are always posting new content and generally feature the latest on the homepage. You can also choose your tag of preference to get even more videos.

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