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Sir Jonathan Bate on "How the Humanities Can Save the Planet: Paradise Lost"

Sir Jonathan Bate on "How the Humanities Can Save the Planet: Paradise Lost"5 Feb. 2019

Skip to Bate's talk,

Skip to Bate's talk, 11:29 | Return (58:31) after watching "The Last Resort - The Eagles - Lyrics on screen" Atheos Nous: https://youtu.be/8bOJiTskr6w | Jump to Q&A 58:46

Footage utilized under Fair Use for education and criticism:

Video: Fresh footage released of last survivor of Brazilian Amazon tribe, The Guardian News: https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=1&v=bsXj15ECoCU

Music: The Last Resort written by Don Henley and Glenn Frey

performed by The Eagles.

In almost every culture of the world, there is a myth of how once there was a time when humankind lived at one with the natural environment until a "fall" divided us from our earthly home. Distinguished critic professor Sir Jonathan Bate explores this idea, across centuries, cultures and artistic forms, and asks how it can help us our understand our current crisis of sustainability.

Biographer, broadcaster, critic, and Shakespearean, Sir Jonathan Bate is professor and provost of Worcester College, Oxford University in the U.K.

The first lecture in the series, "How the Humanities Can Save the Planet,” is the annual lecture of the ASU Environmental Humanities Initiative and part of Professor Bate’s spring 2019 ASU residency in the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability, with support from the Department of English and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Other lectures in the series are "The End of the World as We Know It" (Feb. 5) and "Living Sustainably" (Feb. 20). Together, these lectures explore how humanities thought can help generate imaginative solutions to environmental concerns.

Series playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLWmgu_LrcYF3XSINo2hXALcjuF48OfegG

Comments (2)
Wendy Parry

A great Spokesperson for the Environmental movement. I love your passion for the subject.

Edmund Yong

41:33 Jonathan Bate stumbled upon a rare word he didn't know: "arbute". Apparently, it refers to a type of fruit tree

Planet Fitness Rings the NYSE Opening Bell

Planet Fitness Rings the NYSE Opening Bell4 Jan. 2018

Today, The New York Stock

Today, The New York Stock Exchange welcomes Planet Fitness Inc. Planet Fitness was founded in 1992, in Dover, New Hampshire, when Michael and Marc Grondahl acquired a financially struggling gym and dramatically reduced prices to compete against better-known brands. Honoring the occasion, Chris Rondeau, Chief Executive Officer, Planet Fitness Inc., rings The NYSE Opening Bell

Comments (0)

Dave Montgomery - Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations

Dave Montgomery - Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations24 Feb. 2011
43 570

Webcast sponsored by the

Webcast sponsored by the Irving K. Barber Learning Centre. Author David Montgomery has discovered that the three-foot-deep skin of our planet is slowly being eroded away, with potentially devastating results. In this engaging lecture, Montgomery draws from his book 'Dirt: The Erosion of Civilizations' to trace the role of soil use and abuse in the history of societies, and discuss how the rise of organic and no-till farming bring hope for a new agricultural revolution.

Comments (36)
Ian Maclean


Always Audacity

Just like organic material and bacteria can rebuild our soil, they can do the same for crude oil. Since this video was published, we know we aren't near peak oil at all.

Daniel Gregg

"Peak oil", my ear. (Note how old this talk is. Fracking has re-invented the whole oil world since then).

Gary Johnson

I totally agree with Dr. Mongomery, , only ill go further and say that people such as him should be running things, and economics, needs to be flexible focusing on long term not short term gains, the current system of capitalism as it currently exists seem more interested in transferring land, wealth and power to the top one percent, is a horrible way of running things, forcing farmers to run their farms maximizing crop yields year and profits etc..simply wrong. The solutions are out there but we have the wrong people putting short term profit first. However since power us never never given up without as they put it compensated for their loss, i would say you have been robbing the land and people fir centuries it past time to change by giving the land and power back to those who care about the future. Thank you David for a great lecture on “Dirt”... very informiy educational... ?✌️

Ethan Kemp

also, its incredible how concentrated his speaking is; im pretty sure he memorized it. which is incredible.

Mhi kl

A site I chanced upon about the depletion of our sands was quite unsettling. I don't remember how I found it or where it is.
But it claims our easy to get sands are depleted, sands on remote islands have been scrapped or dug bare and now the oceans are being dredged; all for our high rise buildings, roads etc.
Certainly makes one think about sand with a little more respect.
Namaste and care,

Lance Winslow

All of these theories and speculation make a lot of sense with unlimited examples in the present period on smaller scales - common sense, observable, makes sense, Occam's Razor survives. So, my speculation of Dave Montgomery's lecture and theory would be the same. Great lecture, evidence, and research. Thank you. We can now put forth these findings to help calibrate Mathematic soil erosion models and simulations..

Bruce Huebner

"guess what we have a surplus of in most cities? Organic material and labor."  One of a bunch of nice punch lines

Ethan Kemp

you had me at 1:30, and then i bought the book

Jose Ramos

Empires never ever last !! Do they?!

Hawkdriver 01

Very good lecture, definitely a thumbs up, however, the notion that CO2 is a pollutant is simply false. I keep my Greenhouse at 1200 ppm CO2 as do many commercial Greenhouse operators. The plants thrive and this is well documented. Also well documented is a plants significantly reduced consumption/need for water. This reduced aspiration of water allows more water to make its way into streams and ground water reservoirs, win-win for everyone including the stream/river creatures.


See "Unstoppable Global Warming - every 1500 years."  The chart looks too close to ignore.  Times of global cooling reduce food production - obviously.  This was VERY interesting though....

Daniel Gregg

Deforestation of Southern Iraq?

Sean Mahoney

you are right although your wording is a bit off npk fertalizers are not sustainable at all because they are created from fossil fuels for one. also it is a common misconception that npk fertalized crop yeilds are higher. it has been proven that many natural and organic methods can produce the same and in some cases more yield than modern npk fertalized crops. there are many factors to it. including crop covers and the fact that npk is not the only nutrients needed for plants to grow.

Anne Greenfield

great speaker!

david Bruce

The world would be better off if the cities were forced to feed themselves, growing their own food.. Less time for the inhabitants to come up with authoritarian, dystopian ideas

Wendy Scott

Fascinating that the last symbol Dr. Montgomery used was a heart. Some of the world's religious writings talk about planting the seeds of divine wisdom in the pure soil of the heart, and "In the garden of thy heart, plant naught but the rose of love." Soil, therefore, is considered the heart of our planet's life, and like the heart, its true mysteries are hidden away. We can't see the soil microbiome, but it is there and working as hard as it can to keep life growing in it. Fantastic lecture. I've changed how I've been taking care of my garden since learning about all these things. And my roses are going nuts!

Tony NA

how about addressing the obvious rip off of that Harvard Lecture, which, conveniently has no comments.

Topsoil Depletion Awareness (closing the loop)

This issue needs to be talk more by people.

Allison Kincheloe

Dirt!!! Let us say DIRT!!!!

paul snor

There’s a theory that the rise of the Roman empire actually created Holland, by deforesting the alps. You could look at the growth of the Missisipi bayou over the last centuries as a measure of soil loss. Maybe the same for the Mekong and Ganges deltas.

jimi allman

Lost me around 42:00 when he starts talking about how we can rebuild soils. Permaculture and agroforestry are the realistic ways to rebuild soil. Not hauling around banana peels and leaves.. He is spot on with the problems but not the solutions.


His book is amazing, a personal favorite, and absolutely jammed with knowledge. His perspective it a new paradigm which needs to get more attention in the public realm.

Blackstone Garage

Kent Hovind Official can prove
Noah's Flood. the grand canyon is a broken spillway ~50years after the flood. the elevation of the end of the GC is higher than the beginning. all the water here now broke up from underneath and shifted plate tectonics

Hosoi Archives

Way too complicated. Just use a wood chip mulch, no problems

Douglas Jack

I love your talk. Our Sustainable Development Association & sub-group Indigene Community www.indigenecommunity.info would love to share with you our work in soil building en masse. In order to understand 2-dimensional colonial civilized 'agriculture' (Latin 'ager' = 'field') by 'farmers' (French 'ferme' = 'contract of servitude between the aristocrat & peasant') soil erosion, we need to consider the abundance of traditional indigenous 3-D Polyculture Orchards. We need to appreciate the Spaceship-earth stewardship & deep ancient knowledge systems, which our 'indigenous' (L 'self-generating') ancestors cultivated & achieved as individuals, nations & continents in abundant Polyculture biosphere based food growing. Indigenous 'Sylvalization' (Latin 'sylva' = 'tree') or Polyculture orchard food production is the foundation of human economy, ecology for all species & a positive foundation for human contribution. We need to let go of the false indoctrinated notion that; we have advanced since the beginning of oligarch-directed metal-coin-money's expanding command & control over the western world since Babylon 7000 years ago.

POLYCULTURE ORCHARDS Studies of the worldwide indigenous 3-D Polyculture Orchard 'Sylvalizations' going back beyond the 7000 year threshold of 'civilizations'. First Nations cultivated Polyculture Orchards were massive harvesters at 92 - 98% photosynthesis of solar energy
converted into food, materials, energy & water-cycle. Its considered now that; polyculture (agro-forestry, forest-gardens etc) is 100 times (10,000%) more productive than 2-D 'agriculture' (Latin 'ager' = 'field'). Considering the importance of food production as the foundation for all human economy, its absolutely important that; farmers, agri-business corporations, universities, government policies & all aligned food systems begin to align with & benefit from the abundance of the tree-based biosphere yet their industry programmed disbelief leaves them incapable of even looking at the data. If Europeans 'immigrate' instead of continuing to 'invade', we can still learn how to live abundantly in all regards through the auspices of First Nations & remaining 'indigenous' peoples worldwide. We have quite a clean-up not only of the
environment but of our colonized minds & economy. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/1-indigenous-welcome-orchard-food-production-efficiencies  

SYLVALIZATION CALCULATIONS Agriculture only photosynthesizes 2 - 8% of solar energy reflecting over 90% back into the troposphere where it pushes winds from the continent to the sea. At the Sahara/Sahel Latitudes of less than 30 degrees north, the sun is so hot it burns 2-D agriculture. Tree roots descend 10s of metres as deep as the canopy into the earth's substrate where they mine minerals, pump water & develop
nutrient extensive colonies. Continental cold spots created through complete photosynthesis cause warm moist ocean winds to be drawn inland (warm to cold) where 60% of moisture transfer is through condensation of warm moisture laden wind onto trillions of square kilometres of fractal leaf & bark surfaces. Only 40% of water is transferred as rain/snow. 'Agriculture' 2-8% photosynthesis reflects 95% of solar energy, which pushes winds from the continent towards the sea causing permanent desert. Sahara, Gobi, Atacama etc. deserts are all created by human agriculture including exploitation of animals such as domesticated goats, sheep, cattle, pigs etc. Indigenous peoples worldwide did not exploit domestic animals but lived in collaboration with these other tree & biosphere tending specialists. https://sites.google.com/site/indigenecommunity/design/1-polyculture-orchards  


Tobias Robinson

The book is very good too. It's the one I wish I had written.

Agenda Gotsch

This book was a great inspiration for us. We have the privilege of documenting a fantastic example of what the book means. Agroforestry systems that produce soil as a surplus of food production. It can be watched on our page.

B Charron

I guess NPK fertilizers are not sustainable enough to keep the soil fertile long -term even though in the short-term crop yields are alot higher than with tradtional methods? Am I right?

Dolores Sverko

Do not use roundup, because it doesn’t only kill weeds, it kills decomposers that help restore carbon levels.

Kat Jordan

I own 5 acres in Kentucky, I have alpacas, horses and poultry. I found this video very educational, after reading a couple of Montgomery's books, I've started looking for solutions. I'll do my best to restore my soil, but this is going to be an uphill battle, even after 24 years out of production, 13 years as pasture, the soil barely has a layer of topsoil on it.

Tommy Sullivan

I feel dumber having listened to this.

The Fat Punisher

what a bunch of shit.

Hosoi Archives

Seed drills lol just use wood chips. Google back to Eden garden film, problem solved

Eddie Leong

Excellent. I read the book and am watching this video. I will be working on soil improvements during the construction of a large tourism project in Tunisia.