What we have forgotten

In this video, natural scientist Janine Benyus tells us about what we've forgotten about the natural world.

Do the preparation task first. Then watch the video and do the exercises. Remember you can read the transcript at any time.


If I could reveal anything that is hidden from us, it would be to reveal something that we've forgotten, that we used to know as well as we knew our own names. And that is that we live in a competent universe, that we are part of a brilliant planet and that we are surrounded by genius.

Imagine designing spring. Imagine the timing, the co-ordination, all without top-down laws or policies. This happens every year. There's lots of showing off. There's lots of love in the air. There's lots of grand openings. And the organisms, I promise you, have all of their priorities in order.

I have this neighbour, he came up to me. And there was a wasps' nest that I had let grow in my yard, and he asked me how I had made the house for those wasps, because he had never seen one this big. And I told him, the wasps actually made that. But it occurred to me: how had he already believed the myth that if something was that well done, that we must have done it?

How did he not know that we're not the first ones to build. We're not the first ones to process cellulose. We're not the first ones to make paper. We're not the first ones to try to optimise packing space, or to waterproof, or to try to heat and cool a structure. We're not the first ones to build houses for our young.

People are beginning to remember that other organisms, the rest of the natural world, are doing things very similar to what we need to do, but in fact are doing them in a way that have allowed them to live gracefully on this planet for billions of years. 

© Sustainable Human


Worksheet84.08 KB

Language level

Upper intermediate: B2

Submitted by deeq1995 on Sat, 10/07/2021 - 16:59

it was a great presentation and I really enjoyed it, she remembered a lot of things that I witnessed in my childhood, such as birds building a nest. I got very interesting points like not only humans built houses for their young, and other organisms do what we need to do gracefully.

Submitted by Merveillous Corean on Fri, 05/02/2021 - 14:45

I think she had realised something very common in our humans life : the forgotten knowledge of how the nature works, is, and do things. In fact a lot of people are unknowing the intelligent mind of the nature. But in a other way a lot of people knows that. But many not that to much. Only the ones which very interrested by the nature, knows how she is, how the animals, insects are wonderful in there way ; and how much we are like them. The ideology of humans superiority on animals ; is a great non- sense and an unknowledge very udge. Yes We need to inform us about, to respect others species ; there are born before us, they'e know much than us.

Submitted by trungkien on Tue, 17/11/2020 - 13:21

THis just bring a smile in my face

Submitted by Paula Ramirez on Fri, 06/11/2020 - 18:46

I am agree with the speaker in fact I believe that lots of our groundbreaking discoveries are based on the genius nature an is important to drawdown the damages on the nature, because of our industrial activities .

Submitted by pizzy78 on Tue, 29/09/2020 - 17:44

We used to know everything but it seems that people have forgotten their real knowledge. A good video to remind us what is really important in our life.

Submitted by ecarmar on Mon, 14/09/2020 - 15:55

Good way of learning English

Submitted by mcambindo22 on Sun, 13/09/2020 - 19:28

It's fascinating, and it's true, we must realize we are not alone in the world, and the animals have been a long time in the world, and even the order includes first to nature, and then we're us. It's important to be aware of how we should live with utter harmony.

Submitted by VIVIANB_D on Thu, 10/09/2020 - 05:01

I think that the nature is wonderfull in all her forms. We have to open the eyes and learn from other organims.

Submitted by Walter Mwanza on Mon, 07/09/2020 - 19:45

No I just answered right away
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