Lera Boroditsky

Lera Boroditsky is a Professor of Cognitive Science at UCSD and Editor in Chief of Frontiers in Cultural Psychology. She previously served on the faculty at MIT and at Stanford. Her research is on the relationships between mind, world, and language (or how humans get so smart).

She has been named one of 25 Visionaries changing the world by the Utne Reader, and is also a Searle Scholar, a McDonnell scholar, recipient of an NSF Career award, and an APA Distinguished Scientist lecturer. She once used the Indonesian exclusive "we" correctly before breakfast, and was proud of herself about it all day.

Get a quick research overview (WSJ and Scientific American)

3 words to describe Nature?

To me nature is the ultimate luxury. When I find myself alone in a wild beautiful place, I feel like I’m the richest person in the world. So, luxury and freedom. I hope that’s three words.

3 things Nature taught you?

To embrace change

To welcome uncertainty

To relish complexity

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Floating down any empty river

Staring at the stars from a natural geothermal hot spring that magically stays at 105 degrees F

Hidden inside a mature fig tree canopy, especially when the figs are ripe

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel…?

So glad to be so small, and to be surrounded by endless possibilities

When you see a forest, it makes you feel…?

Hungry for mushrooms and that soft underfoot sous-bois 

When you see a volcano, it makes you feel…?

Hopeful that there’s a volcano-warmed river nearby I can jump into

When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel…?

How earth-centric of us to keep calling it a sunrise or sunset, when we’ve known for centuries that we’re the ones rotating. Who’s going to come up with a good name to describe these earth-tilts that either reveal or obscure the sun from our view? I’m accepting suggestions. 

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Like we need a little baseline to go with the drums

When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel…?

If I’m in a sailboat, excited. Otherwise, like I should find a nice cave to huddle up in.

Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

I live in Southern California, so I can have all 4 in one day. Why choose? :)

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being?

I don’t think of myself as separate from nature, so 11?

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Mushroom hunting in Belarus with my dad. The birch forests in Belarus are these magical light-filled playgrounds, and looking for mushrooms is an incredible state of focus and flow, and if you’re lucky, with a delicious end.

Wallace J Nichols

Dr. Wallace "J" Nichols - called a “Keeper of the Sea" by GQ Magazine, “a visionary" by Outside Magazine, a "water warrior" by AQUATICS International and a "friend of the sea" by Experience Life Magazine - is an innovative, silo-busting, entrepreneurial scientist, movement maker, renown marine biologist, voracious Earth and idea explorer, wild water advocate, bestselling author, sought after lecturer, and fun-loving Dad. He also likes turtles (a lot).

In 2010 Nichols delivered the commencement address at DePauw University where he also received an honorary doctorate in science. In 2011 he was inducted as a Fellow National member of the Explorers Club. In 2014 he received the University of Arizona's Global Achievement Award. And in 2017, he was presented by Fijian Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama the Champion of Change Award at the World Oceans Festival on Governor’s Island, New York.

Nichols has authored more than 200 scientific papers, technical reports, book chapters, and popular publications; lectured in more than 30 countries and nearly all 50 states; and appeared in hundreds of print, film, radio, and television media outlets including NPR, BBC, PBS, CNN, MSNBC, National Geographic, Animal Planet, Time, Newsweek, GQ, Outside Magazine, USA Today, Elle, Vogue, Fast Company, Surfer Magazine, Scientific American, and New Scientist, among many others.

His book Blue Mind, published in summer 2014 by Little, Brown & Company, quickly became a national bestseller and has been translated to numerous languages and inspired a wave of media and practical application.

J. is currently Chief Evangelist for Water (CEH2O) at Bouy Labs, a Senior Fellow at the Middlebury Institute for International Studies' Center for the Blue Economy, a Research Associate at California Academy of Sciences and co-founder of Ocean Revolution, an international network of young ocean advocates, SEE the WILD, a conservation travel network, Grupo Tortuguero, an international sea turtle conservation network, and Blue Mind a global "movement of movements" sharing the new story of water.

He co-mentors a motivated group of international graduate students and serves as an advisor to numerous non-profit boards and committees as part of his commitment to building a more creative, stronger, more progressive, and connected environmental community.

J. lives with his partner Dana, two daughters and some cats, dogs, and chickens on California's Slow Coast, a rural stretch of coastal mountains overlooking the Monterey Bay where organic strawberries rule, mountain lions roam and their motto is "In Slow We Trust". The Nichols chose to settle down in this area after trekking the entire 1,800 kilometer coast from Oregon to Mexico.

3 words to describe Nature?

Primal. Creative. Home

3 things Nature taught you?




3 most treasured Nature spots?

50 miles offshore and 50 feet deep from Bahia Magdalena, BCS Mexico

The source of Mill Creek in the Santa Cruz Mountains

Greyhound Rock

When you look at the ocean, it makes you feel...?


When you see a forest, it makes you feel...?


When you see a volcano, it makes you feel...?


When you see a sunrise or sunset, it makes you feel...?


When you hear thunder, it makes you feel...?


When you hear the wind howling, it makes you feel...?


Are you an Ocean, Mountain, Forest, or Desert person?

Yes on all!

On a scale of 1 to 10, how important is Nature to your well-being? 


Share with us a childhood nature memory.

Backpacking to Deep Lake, in Wyoming, when I was 11 and feeling like I wanted to feel that way a lot more throughout my life. The origins of “blue mind” research, practice, philosophy and the growing global movement.