In an inspirational talk on a truly inspirational afternoon at last week’s Impact Awards, Sir Tim Smit, the co-founder of the Eden Project, took the audience on an anecdotal journey that covered a violin-player’s synesthesia, dinosaur turds and the awe and fascination of holding a meteorite older than planet earth itself.
Ultimately, Sir Tim Smit’s message to the Impact Awards audience was optimistic and upbeat – and not least because of the huge advances in science and nature our generation has witnessed, including the cracking of the human genome.
Listen to Sir Tim Smit’s talk below.
“We are living in a time right there have been more scientific inventions over the last 17 years than a whole history of humankind,” he said. “Let me tell you how amazing it is to be alive. Just 10 years ago we did not know the makeup of our own bodies.”
Smith said: “Chaos is actually just waiting to be made harmony if you allow it to become big enough. That’s sometimes how you have to think. We now know we have 10,000 microbes inside us probably 3 trillion amazing relationships one to another.”
“What is exciting about being alive today is realising all the marvellous things that we share. That’s actually really important at the times that we are going through that we remember that. Actually we share far more than the things that separate us.”
Smit is one of the world’s most respected environmental campaigners and social entrepreneurs. The £80m Eden Project, based near St Austell, features two transparent biomes and has seen more than 18 million people come through its doors.
Smit said the team is now working on new Eden projects in China, Australia, Canada, Dubai and New Zealand.
But he saved the real excitement of his talk for the joy of scientific discovery.
Smit said: “We are the first generation on planet earth to be capable of discovering that we are not apart from nature: we are part of nature. We are the same stuff as everything else. Do you realise how cool that is? Do you realise more is being invented now than at any time including the renaissance and the age of enlightenment.”
“It’s really easy to look inwards in that sort of schadenfreude the world is going to hell without thinking we might well be living at a time when people will be writing 150 years from now of this extraordinary moment.”
“Just imagine calling ourselves homo sapiens sapiens – so wise we named ourselves twice. Just imagine we were right?”
Audio: Sir Tim Smit’s Impact Awards talk