Human beings have made enormous changes to Earth, reshaping it, developing it and generally altering it so much that in many cases its pre-human condition has become unrecognizable. In this far-ranging conversation, ecologist Erle Ellis and landscape architect Bradley Cantrell discuss what this means for ecology and architecture … and how we might think about protecting our planet.


For the last 12 years, LaToya Ruby Frazier has photographed her family as it deals with reality on the American post-industrial front lines in Braddock, Pennsylvania. The images, she says, show a family struggling to survive.

5 ways to keep your data safe right now |

There isn’t much that we can do to stop hackers from stealing the data we entrust to companies. However, there are some easy things we can all do to significantly reduce the harm from such breaches. TED Fellow Christopher Soghoian, principal technologist at the ACLU, explains.


Benedetta Berti doesn’t focus on the headline-grabbing activities of groups like ISIS; instead, she looks at what they do when they’re not committing atrocities. Her work, says the TED Fellow, shows why counter-terrorism strategies must not focus purely on the military realm.

A coral reef is built by multiple coral animals, which live together in colonies. These colonies are formed by one original coral polyp -- a mouth surrounded by tentacles -- that divides itself in half over and over and over. All of these new twins stay connected to one another and build a skeleton underneath themselves, so that they can grow up toward the sunlight. The result is similar to a group of hundreds of tiny anemones living shoulder-to-shoulder on the surface of a rock. The star coral here is preparing to spawn, holding a bundle of gametes in each of its mouths (about 100 of them in this shot). The bright green color at the ends of the tentacles is produced by the coral’s own sunscreen-like pigments while the brown color is produced by the algae living inside the coral’s tissue. The light pink color is the gamete bundles, each made up of 50-100 eggs glued together with sperm. Yes, that’s right… they’re hermaphrodites. Not every coral is, but in this particular species each individual animal makes both eggs and sperm. But one individual coral colony can’t fertilize itself, so it still has to find a partner to mate with. How do you find a mate when you’re stuck to the bottom of the ocean? Most spawning coral species solve this puzzle by sending their sperm and eggs to meet at the water surface, cleverly turning a three-dimensional problem into a two-dimensional one. Photo: Kristen Marhaver.

Each year in September, corals in the Caribbean stage a mass spawning event. Witnessing it, says marine biologist and TED Fellow Kristen Marhaver, is like swimming inside a snow globe. Here, she explains how corals beget corals — and how she and her fellow scientists are trying to help them along.

For girls in rural Yemen, just getting permission to go to school can be an obstacle. Here, first-graders sit five to a bench. Classrooms often number 150 students to one teacher.

Photographer Laura Boushnak celebrates success stories in women’s education across the Arab World.


David Moinina Sengeh argues that the 70% of the sub-Saharan African population who don’t have electricity shouldn’t have to put up with inferior solutions, and explains why he’s bullish about the microgrid.