environment | June 23, 2013

Photos From A Storm Chaser: A TED Talk By Camille Seaman

"Everything is interconnected," Ted Fellow Camille Seaman begins in her TED Talk in Long Beach. "As a Shinnecock Indian I was raised to know this." The environment speaker says she's constantly seeking out elements in nature to showcase that interconnectedness. That's why she began storm chasing in 2008. After her daughter suggested simply that, "Mom, you should do that," Seaman says she set out to study supercell clouds. These powerful balls of energy (which she describes as "lovely monsters") can grow to become 50 miles wide, and extend up to 65,000 feet into the atmosphere.

With her breathtaking storm photos displayed behind her on stage, Seaman recounts a lesson her grandfather once taught her. He explained that the clouds forming in the sky were a part of her. The perspiration emanating from Seaman's body would float into the sky—becoming the moisture that then sends life-sustaining rain hurtling back down to Earth. This message stuck with the award-winning photographer. "As I stand under them I see not just a cloud," she tells the crowd, "but understand that what I have the privilege to witness is the same forces, the same process, in a small-scale version, that helped to create our galaxy, our solar system, our sun, and even this very planet." In her speeches, Seaman uses her striking images to crystallize our connection to all life on the planet.
A John S. Knight Journalism Fellow, Seaman's work, and her talks, are highly regarded worldwide. She reminds us that humans aren't separate from nature. And, that the fate of the natural world is tied to our own.