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You leave your house in the morning and are immediately hit with the acidic taste and smell of the thickest air you’ve ever experienced. You walk by ancient cathedrals and forests and lakes, only to notice them dissolving away and slowly dying from this thing called “acid rain.” For Gretchen Cara Daily, Ph.D., this became a part of her ordinary experience as a teenager growing up in Germany. At the time, millions of people were demonstrating in the streets, protesting the environmental degradation and corporate activities which were leading to the slow death of everything beautiful in their lives. Dr. Daily was strongly impacted by these events, and she’s carried them with her as a source of motivation and insight throughout her life and career. She currently serves as Director of the Center for Conservation Biology at Stanford University.

“Looking back to my upbringing, we solved the problem of acid rain…and I feel we can rise to the task of changing the way we think about how we live on the planet, how we fit in with the rest of life, and we can crack open a path that harmonizes people and the planet, nature, the climate system, jobs, human well-being, so that’s what I’m focused on,” says Dr. Daily.

In today’s episode, she discusses the enormous value of investing in nature to secure vital natural infrastructure that contributes to our lives in ways we might not even acknowledge but rely upon each day. This includes everything from our morning cups of coffee to our mental and physical health. She explains the goal of the global initiative called the Natural Capital Project, which is to shine a light on the connections between nature and our well-being, the causes of environmental problems, the importance of making education on environmental science accessible to everyone, and the need to quantify the value of nature in ways that can be integrated into financial and policy decision-making practices.

By tuning in, you’ll discover:

· How to create better access to green space in otherwise totally urbanized environments, and how this can improve mental and physical health

· What percentage of humanity now lives in cities, and the projected percentage by around 2050

· How satellite images can indicate the economic status of a geographic region

Learn more by visiting https://naturalcapitalproject.stanford.edu/.

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