Themes A Greener Future?

A Greener Future? In Cornwall, England, the UK's first wind farm. (Photo by Skyscan)

The environmental debate has traditionally been characterized as a conflict between economic progress and preservation of the planet. Most TED speakers, however, insist that we can have both -- provided we're smart about it.

Al Gore, the world's leading voice on the climate crisis, argues that the simple steps we might take to avert disaster would also fuel the economy. Architect William McDonough shows how the power of great design -- working on entire systems rather than local components -- can foster an abundant, sustainable future. And Majora Carter discusses her work to bring green spaces to the blighted South Bronx.

Edward Burtynsky's eerily pretty photographs of environmental damage and economic development document humanity's ever-expanding footprint. And biologist E.O. Wilson shares his grandest wish -- that the human community band together to save life on Earth.

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