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Intersections of Change

Humanity has experienced a time of unprecedented disruption through the COVID-19 pandemic. This disruption has unveiled and exacerbated many of the challenges that our species is faced with, which includes growing inequality, fragile economic and health systems, food security and rigid political landscapes. Several commentators point to the misalignment and disregard for natural ecological systems as key contributors to these challenges. 

Conversation Five in our Intersections of Change digital series brings together thought leaders in psychology, philosophy and conservation to respond to the question: How can humanity align closer to nature post the pandemic?

Claire Janisch, joined our inaugural TEDxCapeTown event in 2011, and presented her idea, ‘The Genius Of Water’. As the founding Director of BiomimicrySA, she spends her time exploring nature’s genius in diverse ecosystems and shares this new way of viewing and valuing nature through biomimicry expeditions and coaching– teaching and training professionals, students and scholars.  From this conversation, Claire says that she hopes to see a “new awareness of the potential of biomimicry and new interest in learning and applying it (as it's even more relevant post COVID).” 

Ian McCallum is a psychiatrist, analytical psychologist, writer, specialist wilderness guide, award-winning creative in photography and poetry, and a former rugby Springbok. He is no stranger to the TED/TEDx stage. Following his TEDxCapeTown 2015 talk, Poetry and Nature: Voice For The Voiceless, Ian was invited to the TEDWomen global stage in 2016, to share his talk, ‘Rediscovering ourselves in nature through poetry.’ 

Ian has authored two anthologies of wilderness poems including, ‘Wild Gifts’ (1999), ‘Untamed’ (2012) and a novel, ‘Thorns to Kilimanjaro’ (2000). His award-winning book ‘Ecological Intelligence – Rediscovering Ourselves in Nature’ addresses the interconnectedness of all living things and ultimately, the survival of the human animal - it won the Wild Literary Award at the World Wilderness Congress in Mexico 2009.

From this conversation, Ian hopes to gain, “a renewed perspective and energy for communicating the human contribution to the COVID-19 crisis and more. As well as a greater understanding of the human position in the biosphere.”