RARE: Portraits of America’s endangered species

Brilliant talk by photographer Joel Sartore here at the Aspen Environment Forum, sponsored by the National Geographic and the Aspen Institute.

“What can I do to get people to care about the environment? I want people to fall in love with these animals as much as I did so the world pays attention. I need to do a better job but what else can I do? Why should anyone care about mussels? Because they filter our water. We need these things to keep our planet healthy.

We need to take care of our pollinating species. Without pollinators we have to use paint brushes to pollinate our orchards by hand. How bad does it have to get before we care?

Why not provide a fund to pay landowners for an easement to protect biodiversity?

We can save 95% of the endangered species if we want to. But we need to fund it. We invest the equivalent of one stretch of the LA freeway on protecting endangered species.

What is the true cost of gasoline? I am willing to pay $10/gallon as long as I can trust that it will be there and that I am not destroying the environment.

At a time when we face huge complicated challenges, we must think in more creative ways. The only thing that makes people change is discomfort. Otherwise they will stay distracted to the end (eg of his teenage daughter hooked up to an iPod) until there is nothing left to talk about.

At my house in Nebraska, any time in the fall, I hear screaming. 80,000 people screaming for the Huskers. If I could get people to care that much about something important, we could change the world.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful people can change the world”