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Can Beauty Save the World? Musings and Meditations

Updated: May 10

“Beauty and love go together, they are identical twins. Find one of them, and the other will immediately show up.”

Chris Jordan

TED talk by photographer and activist Chris Jordan, Seattle, 2020.

Can beauty save the world?’ was the title of a TED talk given by Chris Jordan in Seattle, in January 2020.

Chris Jordan is a photographer and filmmaker who has been exploring the line between beauty and despair throughout his career. He became known for his penetrating photographs of countless seabirds dying from plastic. His film ‘Albatross’ showed thousands of young albatrosses lying dead on the beach on a small Pacific atoll, all victims of the plastic crisis in our oceans.

But Chris changed focus: now he travels around in search of beauty, of all that we can and should still protect.

In this poignant and hopeful TED talk, he talks about his ‘fatigue’ from the continued focus on isolated aspects of the many ecological crises we are going through, and emphasizes, on the one hand, still the need for awareness of the crisis, the need for intense focus, decisiveness, vision, but also, on the other hand, the need for hope and the love of beauty. And for him, the necessary change in our collective consciousness can come through beauty and emotion. We need to welcome the splendor of our world back into our hearts, and Jordan wants to contribute to that now by focusing more on that beauty and not just the decay, the damage and the dying.

This is a balance that I would also like to aim for in my photographic travel project: showing the damage and the dramatic losses our natural world has already undergone on the one hand, but also showing the splendor of our planet and our biosphere on the other.

This TED talk lasts 15 minutes and is highly recommended. If you click on the image, you will be taken to this post on the website, where you can watch the video. 

Thank you for reading and watching, until the next episode,

All the best to you,



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