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.


Bryan Welch

Bryan Welch is the Chief Executive Officer of Mindful Society Media, publisher of Mindful Magazine, and CEO at the Foundation for a Mindful Society. He is a veteran media executive, writer, rancher and entrepreneur with unique expertise in businesses that improve the world. He’s the former CEO of Ogden Publications (Mother Earth News, Utne Reader), B The Change Media (B Magazine), and Foster Care Technologies.

Bryan has served on the boards of the Magazine Publishers Association, the Social Venture Network, Bioneers and several other nonprofits. He also has served on corporate boards of directors and advisory boards of companies involved in natural foods, ecommerce and the media. He was Niche Media’s 2014 “Niche Rock Star of the Year” is a member of Mequoda Group’s Digital Media Hall of Fame and was honored with the B Corporations’ 2014 Hal Taussig lifetime-achievement award for “using business as a force for good.”

He holds a master’s degree from Harvard University where he studied media policy and media management at the Kennedy School of Government and Harvard Business School.

Bryan’s award-winning book, Beautiful & Abundant: Building the World We Want, appeared in 2011. 

He and his wife, Carolyn, raise organic, grass-fed cattle, sheep and goats on their farm near Lawrence, Kansas. 

3 words to describe Nature?

Infinite. Spacious. Energetic

3 things Nature taught you?

That I am very small

That I am part of something infinitely large

That there are beauty and abundance everywhere, and beauty is important.

3 most treasured Nature spots?

Any place where I am sufficiently aware. X3!

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

Filled with a vast energy

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

Contemplative. Alert.

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

Stimulated

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

Present

When you hear thunder, it makes you feel…?

Filled with awe

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

Filled with awe

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

All of those!! See answers above about my favorite spots.

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

10

Share with us a childhood nature memory?

Following my herd of dairy goats, watching them eat all manner of desert things - mesquite beans, bunchgrass, creosote sprouts - then bringing them in at the end of the day for milking.