playlist

Plantastic!

Green, leafy, often delicious: Plants are all around us and make the ecosystem work. Hear from gardeners, vegetarians, designers and conservationists on the wonderful world of plants and vegetables.

  1. 10:45
    Ron Finley A guerilla gardener in South Central LA

    Ron Finley plants vegetable gardens in South Central LA — in abandoned lots, traffic medians, along the curbs. Why? For fun, for defiance, for beauty and to offer some alternative to fast food in a community where "the drive-thrus are killing more people than the drive-bys."

  2. 7:52
    Britta Riley A garden in my apartment

    Britta Riley wanted to grow her own food (in her tiny apartment). So she and her friends developed a system for growing plants in discarded plastic bottles — researching, testing and tweaking the system using social media, trying many variations at once and quickly arriving at the optimal system. Call it distributed DIY. And the results? Delicious.

  3. 6:34
    Jonathan Drori Why we're storing billions of seeds

    In this brief talk from TED U 2009, Jonathan Drori encourages us to save biodiversity — one seed at a time. Reminding us that plants support human life, he shares the vision of the Millennium Seed Bank, which has stored over 3 billion seeds to date from dwindling yet essential plant species.

  4. 4:04
    Kamal Meattle How to grow fresh air

    Researcher Kamal Meattle shows how an arrangement of three common houseplants, used in specific spots in a home or office building, can result in measurably cleaner indoor air.

  5. 6:40
    Suzanne Lee Grow your own clothes

    Designer Suzanne Lee shares her experiments in growing a kombucha-based material that can be used like fabric or vegetable leather to make clothing. The process is fascinating, the results are beautiful (though there's still one minor drawback ...) and the potential is simply stunning.

  6. 5:45
    Graham Hill Why I'm a weekday vegetarian

    We all know the arguments that being vegetarian is better for the environment and for the animals — but in a carnivorous culture, it can be hard to make the change. Graham Hill has a powerful, pragmatic suggestion: Be a weekday veg.

  7. 19:31
    Richard Preston The mysterious lives of giant trees

    Science writer Richard Preston talks about some of the most enormous living beings on the planet, the giant trees of the US Pacific Northwest. Growing from a tiny seed, they support vast ecosystems — and are still, largely, a mystery.

  8. 13:59
    Stephen Ritz A teacher growing green in the South Bronx

    A whirlwind of energy and ideas, Stephen Ritz is a teacher in New York's tough South Bronx, where he and his kids grow lush gardens for food, greenery — and jobs. Just try to keep up with this New York treasure as he spins through the many, many ways there are to grow hope in a neighborhood many have written off, or in your own.

  9. 17:25
    Michael Pollan A plant's-eye view

    What if human consciousness isn't the end-all and be-all of Darwinism? What if we are all just pawns in corn's clever strategy game to rule the Earth? Author Michael Pollan asks us to see the world from a plant's-eye view.

  10. 17:08
    Cary Fowler One seed at a time, protecting the future of food

    The wheat, corn and rice we grow today may not thrive in a future threatened by climate change. Cary Fowler takes us inside the Svalbard Global Seed Vault, a vast treasury buried within a frozen mountain in Norway, that stores a diverse group of food-crop seeds ... for whatever tomorrow may bring.

  11. 16:30
    Nalini Nadkarni Conserving the canopy

    A unique ecosystem of plants, birds and monkeys thrives in the treetops of the rainforest. Nalini Nadkarni explores these canopy worlds — and shares her findings with the world below, through dance, art and bold partnerships.

  12. 13:21
    Pam Warhurst How we can eat our landscapes

    What should a community do with its unused land? Plant food, of course. With energy and humor, Pam Warhurst tells at the TEDSalon the story of how she and a growing team of volunteers came together to turn plots of unused land into communal vegetable gardens, and to change the narrative of food in their community.