AIF Blog

The Relationship Between Humans & the Natural World

Dec 07, 2018
Writer Kea Krause talks about scientists searching cold waters in the Arctic for wonder drugs.
What is it that nature provides that we can’t live without? — Medicine, a sense of place, even happiness? Nature can be a destroyer, replenisher, and provide a sense of calm. Why is it that we take nature for granted and how can we learn from our mistakes? “Nature was the first place humans had to thrive in, so we look to nature for a lot of solutions even though we tend to not take very good care of it," says Kea Krause, a writer who's featured in the first episode in our podcast series on the natural world.
Listen below to conversations that connect nature to health, human survival, and the animal world. All of the episodes feature speakers from Spotlight Health (now Aspen Ideas: Health).

Off Stage 9: Wonder Drugs in the Arctic

Will a cure for cancer be found in the North Pole? A group of Norwegian scientists are scouring the sea and shore in one of the harshest climates on earth, looking for wonder drugs. Writer Kea Krause experienced their search when she spent twelve days aboard a research vessel in the Arctic Ocean. In this episode, she talks about her journey and why this part of the world may unlock answers to some of our most difficult health problems.


Off Stage 10: A Sinking Island Nation

Rising sea level and contaminated fresh water could make an island paradise in the Indian Ocean uninhabitable. The effects of climate change on the Maldives are difficult to ignore. Maldivian climate activist Thilmeeza Hussain says these changes are impacting everyday life for the 400,000 people who live there. Will Maldivians become climate refugees? How can this island nation be saved? Hussain is an Aspen New Voices Fellow.


Off Stage 11: Saving the African Elephant

The African elephant, the world’s largest land mammal, is threatened by poaching, human development, and climate change. As director of the Biodiversity and Ecosystems Services Branch of the UN Environmental Program, Max Gomera advocates for the elephant. Ensuring elephants and other animals thrive is important for the human species. In this episode, Gomera talks about improving the relationship between elephants and humans, and how our meat consumption is negatively impacting wildlife habitat. Gomera is an Aspen New Voices Fellow.



The "Off Stage Series" goes into the issues that impact all of us. These conversations feature presenters at the Aspen Ideas Festival. Off Stage is part of the Aspen Ideas to Go podcast.
Aspen Ideas to Go” is a weekly show featuring fascinating speakers who have presented at the Aspen Ideas Festival and other public programs offered by the Aspen Institute. For a curated listening experience, subscribe to the podcast on Apple Podcasts or find an archive of episodes hereThe views and opinions of the speakers in the podcast do not necessarily reflect those of the Aspen Institute.