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Tema Milstein | Nature freaks

Human exceptionalism perpetuated through cultural and institutional systems is killing us, and bringing much of life on Earth down with us.

Tema Milstein

If we are going to save the planet, Tema Milstein says we need to start hugging trees. Westernised humans tend to believe they are separate from nature, which shapes thinking and actions toward the environment. But seeing the world with humans at its centre has massive ramifications – from climate crisis to mass extinction. What stands in the way of more of us remembering we are embedded in the natural world and its intricate networks? And how do we override anthropocentrism, and start seeing ourselves as one with the flowers?

A UNSW Centre for Ideas project, with illustrations designed by Juune Lee and footage filmed at the EPICentre – a UNSW research centre located at the Art & Design campus. Videos filmed and edited by Paper Moose, and podcast editing and music composition by Bryce Halliday.

Tema Milstein Headshot

Tema Milstein

Tema Milstein is an Associate Professor of Environment and Society in the School of Humanities and Languages at UNSW Sydney. Milstein is a Fulbright scholar and the 2020 Faculty of Arts, Design and Architecture’s recipient of the Dean’s Award for Research (Society) Impact. Her work explores how cultural meaning systems shape our ecological understandings, identities, and actions. Milstein's recently published Routledge Handbook of Ecocultural Identity (with co-editor José Castro-Sotomayor) gathers 40 international authors from across disciplines to bring the ecological turn to sociocultural understandings of the self. In her previous professional life, she was a newspaper and public radio journalist. 

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