TED Climate


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We get it. You care about the climate crisis—but sometimes thinking about it is just too overwhelming. Well, we’re here to help with that. Host Dan Kwartler unpacks the problems and solutions behind big systemic issues in bite-sized episodes. You’ll find out which bag is best for the planet, imagine our world without humans, and follow the international journey of the very shirt on your back. Yes, we’re going to talk about the bleak stuff—it’s a crisis after all—but we’ll also share little ways you can make changes in your daily life, in your towns and cities, and at your workplaces to help change climate change. Ultimately we’re aiming for some HOPE through a focus on solutions, instead of just, you know, tumbling towards inevitable doom.

You can also get involved by joining Countdown, TED’s global initiative to accelerate solutions to the climate crisis in collaboration with Future Stewards. Find out more at countdown.ted.com

Episode Date
Got (sustainable) milk?

Agriculture has enabled the existence of civilization—today, approximately 40 percent of our planet is farmland. So it goes without saying there’s a LOT to cover when it comes to talking about modern food production. Dan starts small with something a little more digestible: which milk is best, for you and for the planet? He’ll teach us how to sip sustainably, then take us on a journey through a “perfect” sustainable farm of the future and what we can do to make it a reality. Find the text transcript for this episode at go.ted.com/TC7

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki, mixed by Sam Bair, and hosted by Dan Kwartler. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team: “Which type of milk is best for you?” written by Jonathan J. O'Sullivan and Grace E. Cunningham, with fact-checking by Joseph Isaac. And “Can we create the perfect farm?” was written by Brent Loken, with fact-checking by Eden Girma. Both pieces were produced with editorial support from Emma Bryce and Elizabeth Cox. Special thanks this season to Alex Rosenthal, Gerta Xhelo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, Anna Phelan, Sarah Jane Souther, Alex Segell, Emma Taubner, Will Hennessy, Peter Zwiefel, Jonathan Mallow, Nicole Edine, Valentina Bojanini, Ama Y Adi-Dako, Erin Gregory, Micah Eames and Marie Kim for their work on this season.

If you liked this episode, you can also check out “Is Drinking Milk Essential for Building Strong Bones?” on TED’s new podcast, Body Stuff with Jen Gunter.

Sep 22, 2021
Can 100% renewable energy power the world?

Oil: The prehistoric source of fuel that could drive us all into extinction. We need to pivot to renewable sources of energy, like water, wind and solar to save our planet. But is it actually possible to switch ALL energy sources to these renewables? Dan looks at the problems rushing into them can pose, the barriers we currently face, and why we should all have hope for the future.

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki, mixed by Sam Bair, and hosted by me, Dan Kwartler. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team. The first, Can 100% renewable energy power the world? was written by Federico Rosei and Renzo Rosei, with support from Emma Bryce and Alex Rosenthal, and fact-check by Francisco Diez. The second, Building the world's largest and most controversial power plant, was written by Alex Gendler with support from me and fact-check by Eden Girma. Special thanks to Alex Rosenthal, Gerta Xhelo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, and Anna Phelan.

Sep 15, 2021
What if there were 1 trillion more trees on the planet?

Trees have proven to decrease carbon in our atmosphere, keep cities clean, and even reduce anxiety … but how exactly do they do it? Dan takes us behind the bark to understand the anatomy of our gentle green giants and how every root, leaf and twig work together to improve our planet, and what we can do to help support them in the fight against climate change.

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki, mixed by Sam Bair, and hosted by Dan Kwartler. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team. “What if there were 1 trillion more trees?" was written by Jean-François Bastin. "What happens if you cut down all of a city's trees?” was written by Stefan Al. Both pieces were produced with editorial support from Alex Rosenthal. Special thanks to Gerta Xhelo, Stephanie Lo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, and Anna Phelan.

Sep 08, 2021
The secret lives of things you own

THINGS. They’re everywhere! And we’re constantly being pushed to buy more of them, like the hottest fashion or the latest tech. But the true cost our planet and its climate are paying is much more than the sticker price we see on the shelf. Dan reveals the hidden fees our planet is paying to make everyday items, like the shirt on your back and the phone in your pocket, and ways we can help offset them by being more sustainable shoppers. Find the text transcript for this episode at go.ted.com/TC4

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki, mixed by Sam Bair, and hosted by Dan Kwartler. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team. "The lifecycle of a t-shirt" was written by Angel Chang, and "What's in your smartphone?" was written by Kim Preshoff. Both pieces were produced with editorial support from Emma Bryce and Alex Rosenthal, and fact-checked by Francisco Diez. Special thanks to Gerta Xhelo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, and Anna Phelan.

Sep 01, 2021
How to make sense of extreme weather

From raging wildfires in Australia to sub-zero winter storms in Texas, we’re seeing a rise in extreme weather across the globe. But how can we tell what’s caused by climate change, and what’s just bad weather? To answer this question, Dan breaks down the differences between weather and climate—what they are, how we predict them, and what those predictions can tell us. And then we visit a country that should LITERALLY be underwater to see how they’ve used human ingenuity to stay afloat, and what we can learn from them to do the same. Find the text transcript for this episode at go.ted.com/TC3

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki, mixed by Sam Bair, and hosted by Dan Kwartler. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team. "Is the weather actually becoming more extreme?" was written by Ramalingam Saravanan with support from Emma Bryce. "Why isn’t the Netherlands underwater?" was written by Stefan Al with support from Alex Gendler. Both lessons had editorial support from Dan Kwartler. Our fact-checker was Eden Girma. And special thanks to Alex Rosenthal, Gerta Xhelo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, and Anna Phelan.

Aug 25, 2021
Are we the next asteroid?

So, in the list of bad actors for the planet there's been the ice age, the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, and then … us? Yeah, it really looks like that sometimes. But we've got hope! So what can humans do to steer clear of steering the planet into seemingly inevitable doom? To find out, we look at the planet from the eyes of geologists millions of years in the future—and at what the world would look like if every human on earth just … suddenly disappeared. Read the text transcript for this episode at go.ted.com/TC2

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki, mixed by Sam Bair, and hosted by Dan Kwartler. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team. "How long will human impacts last?" was written by David Biello and fact-checked by Francisco Diez. "What would happen if every human suddenly disappeared?" was written by Dan Kwartler and fact-checked by Brian Gutierrez. Both pieces were produced with editorial support from Alex Rosenthal. Special thanks to Gerta Xhelo, Stephanie Lo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, and Anna Phelan.

Aug 18, 2021
What happens to the plastic you throw away?

Plastic is everywhere. We know we should cut down on it where we can, but is plastic ever the answer? In this episode, a whole world of plastic you never knew about. Starting with: which bag is best: paper, plastic, or cotton? The answer might surprise you. Dan breaks down the pros and cons of each bag, and which you should carry on your next shopping trip. Then we follow the journey of three different plastic bottles after you throw them away, shedding light on the dangers these disposables present to our world. Plus, three things you can do to put a cap on our plastic problem. You can read the full text transcript for this episode at go.ted.com/TC1

TED Climate is produced and edited by Sheena Ozaki and hosted by Dan Kwartler. Our mixer is Sam Bair. This episode adapted two lessons originally produced in animated form by the TED-Ed team. “Plastic vs Paper vs Cloth Bags” was written by Luka Seamus Wright & Imogen Ellen Napper with editorial support from Alex Gendler and Dan Kwartler, with fact-check by Eden Girma. “What really happens to the plastic you throw away?” was written by Emma Bryce, with editorial support from Alex Rosenthal and fact-check by Sarah Silvergleid. Special thanks to them, and to Gerta Xhelo, Stephanie Lo, Michelle Quint, Banban Cheng, and Anna Phelan.

Aug 11, 2021
The US is back in the Paris Agreement. What’s next? | John Kerry and Al Gore

On his first day as president, Joe Biden signed a letter of acceptance that set in motion the 30-day process for the United States to re-join the Paris Agreement on climate. On the day the US returns to the accord, John Kerry, the US Special Envoy for Climate, sits down with Nobel Laureate Al Gore to discuss the make-or-break decade ahead of us. Listen as Kerry lays out how the US fits into the global plan to get to net-zero emissions, explains why the COP26 UN climate conference could be humanity’s “last best hope” to build international momentum and explores the role of business and youth activists in promoting environmental justice. (This interview features an introduction from Christiana Figueres, the principal architect of the Paris Agreement.)

Feb 19, 2021
To save the climate, we have to reimagine capitalism | Rebecca Henderson

"Business is screwed if we don't fix climate change," says economist Rebecca Henderson. In this bold talk, she describes how unchecked capitalism destabilizes the environment and harms human health -- and makes the case for companies to step up and help fix the climate crisis they're causing. Hear what a reimagined capitalism, in which companies pay for the climate damage they cause, could look like.

Nov 23, 2020
How to decarbonize the grid and electrify everything | John Doerr and Hal Harvey

"The good news is it's now clearly cheaper to save the planet than to ruin it," says engineer and investor John Doerr. "The bad news is: we are fast running out of time." In this conversation with climate policy expert Hal Harvey, the two sustainability leaders discuss why humanity has to act globally, at speed and at scale, to meet the staggering challenge of decarbonizing the global economy (which has only ever increased emissions throughout history) -- and share helpful examples of promising energy solutions from around the world.

Nov 23, 2020
The energy Africa needs to develop -- and fight climate change | Rose M. Mutiso

In this perspective-shifting talk, energy researcher Rose M. Mutiso makes the case for prioritizing Africa's needs with what's left of the world's carbon budget, to foster growth and equitably achieve a smaller global carbon footprint.

Nov 23, 2020
Lessons on leaving the world better than you found it | Sophie Howe

Sophie Howe is the world's only future generations commissioner, a new kind of government official tasked with advocating for the interests of generations to come and holding public institutions accountable for delivering long-term change. She describes some of the people-focused policies she's helped implement in Wales, aimed at cutting carbon emissions, increasing sustainability and promoting well-being as a national goal.

Nov 20, 2020
Amazon's climate pledge: to be net-zero by 2040 | Dave Clark and Kara Hurst

In 2019, Amazon signed the Climate Pledge, a commitment to become a net-zero carbon business by 2040. Dave Clark, Amazon's chief of consumer retail, and Kara Hurst, head of the company's sustainability efforts, sit down with entrepreneur and activist Lindsay Levin to discuss how the company is planning to reduce its carbon footprint across all aspects of business -- while inviting other companies to join them in this transformation.

Nov 18, 2020
Apple's promise to be carbon neutral by 2030 | Lisa Jackson and Liz Ogbu

Under the leadership of Lisa Jackson, Apple's environment and social VP and former head of the EPA, the company is already carbon neutral within their own corporate and retail boundaries. By 2030, Apple hopes to extend carbon neutrality to their supply chain and consumers. In conversation with urbanist and spatial justice activist Liz Ogbu, Jackson shares thoughts on leadership, tech, the environment and building a green economy.

Nov 18, 2020
How to be a good ancestor | Roman Krznaric

Our descendants own the future, but the decisions and actions we make now will tremendously impact generations to come, says philosopher Roman Krznaric. From a global campaign to grant legal personhood to nature to a groundbreaking lawsuit by a coalition of young activists, Krznaric shares examples of ways we can become good ancestors -- or, as he calls them, "Time Rebels" -- and join a movement redefining lifespans, pursuing intergenerational justice and practicing deep love for the planet.

Nov 16, 2020
The case for stubborn optimism on climate | Christiana Figueres

"This decade is a moment of choice unlike any we have ever lived," says Christiana Figueres, the architect of the historic 2015 Paris Agreement. The daughter of Costa Rica's beloved President José Figueres Ferrer, she shares how her father's unwillingness to lose the country he loved taught her how stubborn optimism can catalyze action and change. With an unshakeable determination to fight for the generations that will come after us, Figueres describes what stubborn optimism is (and isn't) -- and urges everyone to envision and work for the future they want for humanity.

Nov 16, 2020
His Holiness Pope Francis | Our moral imperative to act on climate change -- and 3 steps we can take

The global climate crisis will require us to transform the way we act, says His Holiness Pope Francis. Delivering a visionary TED Talk from Vatican City, the spiritual leader proposes three courses of action to address the world’s growing environmental problems and economic inequalities, illustrating how all of us can work together, across faiths and societies, to protect the Earth and promote the dignity of everyone. “The future is built today,” he says. “And it is not built in isolation, but rather in community and in harmony.”

(In Italian with English voiceover)

Oct 11, 2020
Prince William | This decade calls for Earthshots to repair our planet

"We start this new decade knowing that it is the most consequential period in history," says Prince William, The Duke of Cambridge. Inspired by President John F. Kennedy's "Moonshot," he calls on everyone to rise to our greatest challenge ever: the "Earthshot." A set of ambitious objectives for the planet, the Earthshot goals seek to protect and restore nature, clean the air, revive oceans, build a waste-free world and fix the climate -- all in the next decade. To do it, we'll need people in all corners of the globe working together with urgency, creativity and the belief that it is possible to repair the Earth.

Oct 10, 2020
The race to a zero emissions world starts now | António Guterres

If we don’t act now on climate change, this coming century may be one of humanity’s last, says António Guterres, Secretary-General of the United Nations. As the world recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic, Guterres urges us to use this moment to rebuild with ambitious climate action in mind -- and lays out a blueprint for getting companies, governments and countries to reach net zero carbon emissions by 2050. “We can only win the race to zero together,” he says. “I urge you all to get on board.”

Oct 10, 2020
The global movement to restore nature's biodiversity | Thomas Crowther

The secret to using trees to fight climate change is knowing which ones to plant, and where. Ecologist Thomas Crowther — setting the record straight on his own research that led to the viral “One Trillion Trees” movement — introduces Restor, an expansive, informative platform built to enable everyone, anywhere to join and help restore the natural glory of Earth’s biodiverse ecosystems.

Oct 10, 2020
Make your actions on climate reflect your words | Severn Cullis-Suzuki

"History has shown us that in moments of crisis, society can truly transform," says environmental educator Severn Cullis-Suzuki. Nearly 30 years ago, at just 12 years old, she spoke at the Rio Earth Summit in hopes of reversing the planet's slide into ecological disaster. Some at the summit listened and took radical action, but for the rest of the world, it was business, politics and full-steam-ahead economic growth. Now, Cullis-Suzuki shares another warning about the future, this time informed by the COVID-19 crisis -- and urges us all to make our actions on climate change reflect our words.

Oct 10, 2020
10 years to transform the future of humanity -- or destabilize the planet | Johan Rockström

“For the first time, we are forced to consider the real risk of destabilizing the entire planet,” says climate impact scholar Johan Rockström. In a talk backed by vivid animations of the climate crisis, he shows how nine out of 15 big biophysical systems that regulate the climate -- from the permafrost of Siberia to the great forests of the North to the Amazon rainforest -- are at risk of approaching tipping points, which could make Earth largely uninhabitable for humanity. Hear his plan for putting the planet back on the path of sustainability over the next 10 years -- and protecting the future of our children.

Oct 10, 2020
Europe’s plan to become the first carbon-neutral continent | Ursula von der Leyen

With the ambitious goal of becoming the first carbon-free continent by 2050, the European Union has committed to creating a greener world for future generations. In this bold talk, Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, details the challenges and opportunities that come with transitioning an entire continent to clean energy -- and shows why fixing climate change calls for everyone to take action.

Oct 10, 2020
Environmental justice is racial justice | David Lammy

Why has there been so little mention of saving Black lives from the climate emergency? For too long, racial justice efforts have been distinguished from climate justice work, says David Lammy, Member of Parliament for Tottenham, England. In a stirring talk about building a new movement to care for the planet, Lammy calls for inclusion and support of Black and minority leadership on climate issues and a global recognition we can't solve climate change without racial, social and intergenerational justice.

Oct 10, 2020
How cities are detoxing transportation | Monica Araya

People around the world are demanding clean air -- and cities are starting to respond, says electrification advocate Monica Araya. She takes us on a world tour of urban areas that are working to fully electrify their transportation systems over the next decade, shifting to emission-free motorcycles, cars, buses, ferries and beyond. See what a future without the internal combustion engine could look like -- and what it will take to get there.

Oct 10, 2020
Introducing Countdown

Introducing Countdown: an exciting new global initiative from TED to champion and accelerate solutions to the climate crisis, turning ideas into action. The goal: To build a better future by cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 in the race to a zero-carbon world – a world that is safer, cleaner and fairer for everyone. On this podcast, you'll find the most powerful ideas from TED and partners around the climate crisis.

Every organization, company, city and nation and citizens everywhere are invited to collaborate with Countdown and take action on climate. It is a movement open to everyone – and everyone has a vital role to play. So head over to countdown.ted.com to find out more and get involved.

Oct 07, 2020