Crosscut Talks

Manipulating Nature to Save It with Elizabeth Kolbert

July 10, 2022

The New Yorker staff writer says human ingenuity may offer some solutions to the planet's biggest problems.

The relationship between humanity and nature is complicated. People are a part of nature, but at the same time they are a force that acts upon nature … and usually to the detriment of the rest of nature. 

Climate change is the most high-profile example of this interaction, but there are many other ways that human beings degrade the living world, from ocean acidification to the proliferation of plastics to the role that modern civilization plays in spreading pathogens.

The extent of the destruction wrought by humanity has been amplified by human ingenuity to what could be called an unnatural degree. But what if humanity could use that ingenuity to do the reverse, to mend the damage done. 

That is the topic of this episode of Crosscut Talks, featuring author Elizabeth Kolbert and Grist staff writer Lizzy O’Leary discussing the intriguing technologies that may help heal nature and the likelihood that they will protect the planet from the worst ravages of climate change.

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Credits

Host: Mark Baumgarten

Producer: Sara Bernard

Event producers: Jake Newman, Andrea O'Meara

Engineers: Resti Bagcal, Viktoria Ralph

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