Full Video


Filmed on Wednesday April 7, 02021

Nathaniel Rich, Ryan Phelan, Ben Novak

Second Nature: Green Rabbits, Passenger Pigeons, Cloned Ferrets, and the Birth of a New Ecology

Nathaniel Rich

Nathaniel Rich is the author of Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade, Losing Earth: A Recent History and Odds Against Tomorrow, amongst others. He is a writer at large for The New York Times Magazine and a regular contributor to The Atlantic, Harper's, and The New York Review of Books, and other publications.

Ryan Phelan

Ryan Phelan is the Co-founder and Executive Director of Revive & Restore, with a mission to enhance biodiversity through the genetic rescue of endangered and extinct species. Phelan works with some of the world’s leading molecular biologists, conservation biologists, and conservation organizations to develop pioneering genetic rescue projects using cutting-edge genomic technologies. A serial entrepreneur, Phelan was the founder and CEO of two innovative healthcare companies including DNA Direct, the first medical genetics company to focus on bringing personalized medicine to the consumer.

Ben Novak

Ben Novak collaboratively pioneers new tools for genetic rescue and de-extinction. He helps shape the genetic rescue efforts of Revive & Restore and leads its flagship project, The Great Passenger Pigeon Comeback. Novak works with collaborators and partners to restore the ecology of the Passenger Pigeon to the eastern North American forests, on the sequencing of its genome and to set the standard for de-extinction protocols and considerations in the lab and field. His Master’s in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology is with the University of California Santa Cruz, and he studied at the McMaster University Ancient DNA Centre and has worked with the Australian Animal Health Laboratory–CSIRO.

Reporter and writer Nathaniel Rich delves deep into conversation with Revive & Restore's Ryan Phelan and Ben Novak to discuss his newest book Second Nature: Scenes from a World Remade,which attempts to come to terms with the massive changes that are underway on our planet, and how humans can better understand our role to caretake, conserve and thoughtfully manage our relationship with nature for the long term.

From Losing Earth to the film Dark Waters (adapted from his writing), Nathaniel Rich’s stories have come to define the way we think of contemporary ecological narrative. In Second Nature, he asks what it means to live in an era of terrible responsibility. The question is no longer, How do we return to the world that we’ve lost? It is, What world do we want to create in its place?

We've moved our talks to a virtual format, and to share them with a wider audience, the live streams are now public on the Long Now Live Stream page and YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

We continue to release media from all of our talks and you can follow the series by subscribing to the podcasts, watching the videos and highlights and connecting with Long Now on our social channels.

Long Now is able to continue our work thanks to the ongoing support of members and donors. Please consider joining our global community of long-term thinkers. Membership starts at just $8/month and takes two minutes to set up. Special one-time donations are also appreciated, and all of your support will help us foster more long-term thinking. Thank you so much.

More Seminars


SALT Summaries Book

$2.99 Also available as a paperback book

Condensed ideas about long-term thinking summarized by Stewart Brand
(with Kevin Kelly, Alexander Rose and Paul Saffo) and a foreword by Brian Eno.

Seminar Sponsors

David and Abby Rumsey • Kim Polese • The Kaphan Foundation • Garrett Gruener • Scorpio Rising Fund • Peter Baumann • Brian Eno • Greg Stikeleather • Cameo Wood • Ping Fu • Peter Schwartz • Lawrence Wilkinson • Ken and Maddy Dychtwald • Future Ventures • Ken and Jackie Broad • AtoB • WHH Foundation • Stewart Brand and Ryan Phelan • Jackson Square Partners Foundation • The Long Now Members

We would also like to recognize George Cowan (01920 - 02012) for being the first to sponsor this series.

This is the legacy site. Return to the new site.