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Sustainability Videos

videoFeatured videos of the best sustainability talks from, TED conferences and other online content of interest.

For our full video playlist, visit our Youtube Channel

Story of Solutions

The Story of Solutions explores how we can move our economy in a more sustainable and just direction, starting with orienting ourselves toward a new goal.  Produced by The Story of Stuff. 

The Environmental Cost of Free Two-day Shipping
79% of Americans shop online. What effect does shipping all our stuff have on our planet?

UC/Vox Climate Lab Video Series

Episode 1 - Why humans are so bad at thinking about climate change
The biggest problem for the climate change fight isn’t technology – it’s human psychology.

Episode 2 - Going green shouldn’t be this hard
Going green does not need to be a sacrifice, either for us as individuals or for businesses, governments and the economy.

Episode 3 - Why your old phones collect in a junk drawer of sadness
Could fixing the way we make our phones help reduce our impact on climate change?

Episode 4 - Food waste is the world’s dumbest problem
Host Dr. M. Sanjayan explores solutions to combat food waste - starting with a box of donuts at MIT and ending with a UC Berkeley alum who is working to end world hunger

Episode 5 - The fight to rethink (and reinvent) nuclear power
New nuclear energy technology has come a long way - but can we get over our fears? In this episode, host Dr. M. Sanjayan explores the dangers of nuclear power and possible options for building safer, more efficient, power plants.

Episode 6 - Scientists really aren’t the best champions of climate science
Facts and data alone won’t inspire people to take action in the fight against global warming. So what will?

Health Care and the Climate Crisis

Greening the OR

UCSF’s many accomplishments greening the medical center were recognized at the recent Practice Greenhealth awards.  Check out this short video from Practice Greenhealth on greening the OR.

Video: Do No Harm

In our fight against climate change, health care stands at a turning point in history and we can move to a tipping point. It’s within our power and our mission. Join us as health care bends toward a more just and sustainable future.

Gary Cohen Named 2015 MacArthur Fellow

Gary Cohen, Health Care Without Harm and Practice Greenhealth’s founder and President, was named as one of the 2015 fellows of the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. For more than 20 years, Cohen has led the health sector in repositioning institutional practices around sustainability, climate change and community health.

Personal Health and Toxics Reduction

Video:  How to Choose a Safe Sunscreen — Mother Earth Living

When you’re shopping for sunscreen, there are a couple of ingredients you want to look for, and a couple that you want to avoid. Avoid sunscreens that list retinol or retinyl palmitate (also known as vitamin A). This ingredient has been found to increase the risk of skin cancer when exposed to sunlight. Also avoid oxybenzone, a common chemical found in about 80 percent of sunscreens. See our July article that highlights the Environmental Working Group’s list of recommended sunscreens.

How Dust Bunnies Can Make You Sick

Dust bunnies are seriously dangerous. Those tiny globs of grime are much more than simple household nuisances. They can contain noxious flame retardant chemicals that leak out of living room furniture like couches. Once free of the upholstery, these toxins are especially harmful to children and pets, acting as carcinogens and endocrine disruptors. With the passage of SB 1019, effective January 1, 2015, it will be easier to identify and purchase flame retardant-free furniture.  See our January post on how to minimize exposure to flame retardants here.


Bella Gaia

Bella Gaia is an unprecedented audiovisual experience that combines NASA satellite imagery of Earth, time lapse nature photography, and cultural heritage footage with stirring live performances of music and dance from around the world to explore the relationship between humans and nature through time and space, with a “message of oneness amidst a deeply moving and shimmering soundscape that combines sacred dance with gorgeous sets and stunning imagery”

Sustainable Food Production Daphne Miller talks about her new book: Farmacology: What Innovative Family Farming Can Teach Us About Health and Healing Family physician and UCSF faculty Daphne Miller suspected that farming and medicine were intimately linked.  Increasingly disillusioned by mainstream medicine’s mechanistic approach to healing, Miller left her medical office and traveled to seven family farms across the country to better understand how sustainable agriculture influences the health of her patients. 
Saving the Oceans can Feed the World What’s a marine biologist doing talking about world hunger? Well, says Jackie Savitz, fixing the world’s oceans might just help to feed the planet’s billion hungriest people. In an eye-opening talk, Savitz tells us what’s really going on in our global fisheries right now — it’s not good — and offers smart suggestions of how we can help them heal, while making more food for all.
Agriculture for the Next Generation A skyrocketing demand for food means that agriculture has become the largest driver of climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental destruction. At TEDxTC Jonathan Foley shows why we desperately need to begin “terraculture”—farming for the whole planet.  Jonathan Foley studies complex environmental systems and their affects on society. His computer models have shown the deep impact agriculture is having on our planet.

Sustainable Investing and Green Economy The Investment Logic of Sustainability Learn about the basics of socially responsible investing (SRI). 
Yvon Chouinard: The company as activist This is the CEO whose ad campaign commanded, “Don’t buy this jacket.” Patagonia founder Chouinard captivated the GreenBiz Forum audience in this compelling talk with Joel Makower, GreenBiz chairman and executive editor, in February, 2014. Highlight: “Apple doesn’t want you to fix your phone, they want you to buy a new one next year. I can’t relate to a company like that.” Patagonia recently became the biggest name in the apparel industry to weave Fair Trade certification into its supply chain.

Jason Clay: How big brands can help save biodiversity

Convince just 100 key companies to go sustainable, and WWF’s Jason Clay says global markets will shift to protect the planet our consumption has already outgrown. Hear how his extraordinary roundtables are getting big brand rivals to agree on green practices first—before their products duke it out on store shelves.

Jason Clay is a WWF vice-president who works with big corporations to transform the global markets they operate in, so we can produce more with less land, less water and less pollution.

Johan Rockstrom:  Let the environment guide our development

As UCSF kicks off Race to Certfication, you might be wondering, how can using less paper and energy at the office make a difference.  Human growth has strained the Earth’s resources, and Johan Rockstrom reminds us, our advances also give us the science to recognize this and change behavior. His research has found nine “planetary boundaries” that can guide us in protecting our planet’s many overlapping ecosystems.  Johan Rockström works to redefine sustainable development and provides a big picture perspective of what needs to happen.

Ray Anderson - At his carpet company, Ray Anderson has increased sales and doubled profits while turning the traditional “take / make / waste” industrial system on its head. In a gentle, understated way, he shares a powerful vision for sustainable commerce.  Ray Anderson founded the company that makes covetable Flor carpeting. But behind the fresh design is a decades-deep commitment to sustainable ways of doing business—culminating in the Mission Zero plan.

Waste Minimization

How to Use One Paper Towel

R. P. Joe Smith served as a District Attorney in Umatilla County and nearly won a race for Oregon Attorney General without taking a single contribution over $99.99. He is a former chair of the Oregon Democratic Party and is active with several local nonprofits.  In this lively TED talk, he demonstrates how to save paper and trees by drying your hands using only one paper towel.  Try it!  And remember to conserve water while washing your hands as well.

Paper or plastic or what? Leyla Acaroglu at TED2013

We all know sustainability is essential to our future, in vague terms. But what does that mean for the choices we make every day? In other words: paper or plastic? For one thing, design consultant Leyla Acaroglu wants you to think beyond choosing a material for your grocery tote. Instead, she encourages us to think about the entire life of a finished product, to think hard about the net impact a product has on the environment. This is life-cycle thinking, not just whether a product can be recycled, but all the parts of its existence: material extraction, manufacturing, packaging and transportation, product use, and end of life. Every step of the way, there’s a way to do something smart to make the most out of the product for net environmental gain.

Arthur Potts Dawson - If you’ve been in a restaurant kitchen, you’ve seen how much food, water and energy can be wasted there. Chef Arthur Potts-Dawson shares his very personal vision for drastically reducing restaurant, and supermarket, waste—creating recycling, composting, sustainable engines for good (and good food).  Arthur Potts Dawson wants us to take responsibility not just for the food we eat, but how we shop for and even dispose of it. And he’s showing the way—with impeccable taste.

Murray Wilson - ewaste and the social landfill - Murray’s concern with the problems presented by unwanted but usable old computers being discarded in landfills led him to an unexpected solution. He talks to TEDxCreativeCoast 2010 about the problems of e-waste, the digital divide, and how a local youth organization is tackling a small part of the problem by giving back to those most in need.

Are Mushrooms the New Plastic? at TEDglobal2010

Product designer Eben Bayer reveals his recipe for a new, fungus-based packaging material that protects fragile stuff like furniture, plasma screens—and the environment.  Bayer is co-inventor of MycoBond, an organic (really—it’s based on mycelium, a living, growing organism) adhesive that turns agriwaste into a foam-like material for packaging and insulation.

Energy and Renewables

David MacKay: A reality check on renewables

How much land mass would renewables need to power a nation like the UK? An entire country’s worth. In this pragmatic talk, David MacKay tours the basic mathematics that show worrying limitations on our sustainable energy options and explains why we should pursue them anyway.  As an information theorist and computer scientist, David MacKay uses hard math to assess our renewable energy options.

Alex Laskey:  How behavioral science can lower your energy bill

What’s a powerful way to help people use less power at home? Pit them against their neighbors. As founder and president of Opower, Alex Laskey helps utility companies show customers, right on their utility bills, where their own house sits on the spectrum of neighborhood energy wasters—and how to beat the game. It seems silly, but the large-scale reductions in energy usage are no joke.

Opower works with more than 80 utilities on three continents, and serves over 15 million customers. Since its launch in 2008, it has cumulatively saved utility customers more than $200 million and 2 terawatt hours (TWh) of energy—enough to power a city of more than a quarter million people. It’s all through a powerful combination of behavioral science, data analytics and good marketing.

James Hansen - Top climate scientist James Hansen tells the story of his involvement in the science of and debate over global climate change. In doing so he outlines the overwhelming evidence that change is happening and why that makes him deeply worried about the future.

Aex Steffen - founder Alex Steffen argues that reducing humanity’s ecological footprint is incredibly vital now, as the western consumer lifestyle spreads to developing countries.  Alex Steffen explores our planet’s future, telling powerful, inspiring stories about the hard choices facing humanity ... and our opportunity to create a much better tomorrow.

Al Gore - With the same humor and humanity he exuded in An Inconvenient Truth, Al Gore spells out 15 ways that individuals can address climate change immediately, from buying a hybrid to inventing a new, hotter “brand name” for global warming.  Once the US Vice President, then star of An Inconvenient Truth, now Nobel Peace Prize winner, Al Gore found a way to focus the world’s attention on climate change. In doing so, he has invented a new medium—the Keynote movie—and reinvented himself.