Episode 147: Professor Ruth DeFries on lessons from the natural world on how to deal with environmental crises.

Deep dive with Professor Ruth DeFries on her recent book What would Nature Do exploring how strategies from the natural world can help humanity weather many of the environmental crises we are now facing. DeFries explains how a small number of key strategies—investments in diversity, redundancy over efficiency, self-correcting feedbacks, and decisions based on bottom-up knowledge—enable life to persist through unpredictable, sudden shocks-and various ways in which we can apply these strategies to deal with current environmental challenges we are facing.


Ruth DeFries is a professor of ecology and sustainable development at Columbia University in New York co-founding dean of the Columbia Climate School and is a recipient of the MacArthur “Genius” Fellowship and many other academic awards she is an author of over a 100 scientific papers related to how people are manipulating the planet and its consequences for humanity. Her most recent book is What would Nature do where she outlines a set of strategies from the natural world that she believes can help humanity deal with many of the environmental crises the world is facing.