About ten years ago, a guy named Wade Davis came to speak at a Hallmark leadership conference I attended. He was introduced as National Geographic's "explorer-in-residence." Nothing in that introduction, or in my entire life, for that matter, prepared me for what followed.
The speech he's giving here at a TED conference in Monterey is essentially the same speech he gave then, updated with some new photos from recent travels (and the news of the Canadian government's restitution program for the Inuit). I think this speech is as important as anything that's ever been uttered in a public forum. You can hear the urgency of the message vibrating through the guy. Even when he gets into hard-core science talk (his background is in ethnobotany, the study of plants and their use in indigenous cultures), it's riveting. If you have 20 minutes, just sit back, ignore the sponsoring commercial that frames the thing, and let the magnificence unfold.
After his speech at the Hallmark conference, a small group of us went out for beer and barbecue with him, and he regaled us with yet more amazing tales.
Can storytelling and the awareness it creates change the world? Once upon a time, I believed it. This guy makes a believer out of me all over again.