Last Wednesday, I teamed up with my colleague Dr. Dan Dombrowski, Chief Veterinarian at North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences to launch Love Nature: The Biophilia Podcast. The launch itself was part of of BugFest, the Museum’s largest event of the year, attracting 30,000 people or more every September. This time, it was wholly virtual, in view of pandemic restrictions. The event, ably stewarded by program host Chis Smith, was captured on the Museum’s YouTube Channel. The first episode is also available. You can access it on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or any of the other common platforms, or though the Anchor website.
So why this topic and why now? In this time of global uncertainty and looming environmental collapse, acknowledging the inexorable relationship we have with nature is of tangible benefit. The Biophilia Hypothesis suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature. Biologist and author, Professor Edward O. Wilson introduced and popularized the hypothesis in his book, Biophilia. He defines it as “the urge to affiliate with other forms of life.”
Our first interview, comprising the first two episodes is, in fact,with E. O. Wilson where we explore his thinking when I coined the term, as well as what he things about it some 35 years later. In the second part of the interview, we talk more about a much more recent, around Half-Earth: Our Planet’s Fight for Life. In that book, he explores the concept of setting aside half the planet for conservation. It’s a fascinating idea calls us to rethink how we live, use our finite natural resources, and coexist with other species on the planet.
Humanity’s inherent affinity with life can be a way to unlock an interest in the science that lets us to live better, and more responsibly, on the planet. A natural sciences museum like ours is a perfect place to explore the diverse scientific and aesthetic facets of this idea. That’s why we started this podcast – to connect with people in this field and give them a platform to tell their stories.
Over the course of our podcast we’ll connect to researchers, authors, artists, architects and activists who spend their lives connecting people to the the emotive side of science and nature.
Topics we’ll be discussing include:
- Environmental books and journalism, especially authors presenting new work on emerging issues
- Biophilic design, a concept used within the building industry to increase occupant connectivity to the natural environment through the use of direct nature, indirect nature, and space and place conditions.
- Biophilic urbanism, based on the knowledge that our innate connection with nature that can be expressed in our daily lives, especially in cities.
- Stories of our relationship with plants and animals, the intersection of their biology with ours, and the science that supports it.
- Sustainable agriculture, focused on meeting society’s present food and textile needs, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
- Conservation research, both from within the Museum and further afield focusing on protection of species and habitats.
- Environmental art and artists, including practices encompassing both historical approaches to nature in art and more recent ecological and topical types of works.
- Backyard biodiversity, encouraging people to engage with their homes and gardens as havens for wildlife.
- Managing wildlife health, including the work done by NCMNS for rehabilitating animals such as cold-stunned green sea turtles.
We look forward to bringing these stories and many more to you over the course of this podcast.