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Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World

Wednesday, April 30, 2014 @ 7:00 PM-8:30 PM


Special Partnership Event

A BiodiverseCity St. Louis 2014 Public Lecture & Book Signing

Human health and well-being are inextricably linked to nature, and our connection to the natural world is part of our biological inheritance. Social ecologist, Stephen Kellert, is a pioneer in the field of biophilia—the study of human beings’ inherent affinity for nature. In his engaging book, Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World, he sets forth the first full account of nature’s powerful influence on the quality of our lives. Dr. Kellert asserts that our capacities to think, feel, communicate, create, and find meaning in life all depend upon our relationship to nature. And yet our increasing disconnection and alienation from the natural world reflect how seriously we have undervalued its important role in our lives.

Weaving scientific findings together with personal experiences and perspectives, Kellert explores how our humanity in the most fundamental sense—including our physical health, and capacities for affection, aversion, intellect, control, aesthetics, exploitation, spirituality, and communication are deeply contingent on the quality of our connections to the natural world. Because of this dependency, the human species has developed over the course of its evolution an inherent need to affiliate with nature. But, like much of what it means to be human, this inborn tendency must be learned to become fully functional. In other words, it is a birthright that must be earned. He discusses how we can restore this balance to nature with changes in how we raise children, educate ourselves, use land and resources, develop building and community design, practice our ethics, and conduct our everyday lives.

In this moving and engaging lecture, Dr. Kellert provides exactly what is needed now: a fresh understanding of how much our essential humanity relies on being a part of the natural world.

Partnering organizations:




Featured Speaker: Stephen Kellert, Ph.D., Tweedy/Ordway Professor Emeritus of Social Ecology and Senior Research Scholar, Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, and author, Birthright: People and Nature in the Modern World

FREE and OPEN to ALL. Space is limited. Middle and high school students welcome and encouraged to attend.


Wednesday, April 30, 2014
7:00 PM-8:30 PM
Event Category:


Missouri Botanical Garden Shoenberg Auditorium
4344 Shaw Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63110 United States
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