Subtitles section Play video Print subtitles I know, insects, it's really weird, but bear with me. Now, I am an entomologist. I confess to that. And, when I look at the planet, the reason I'm an entomologist is because out of the 1.9 million species that are described on planet Earth, over 1 million of them are insects. And I truly believe as a scientist today we live in the best of times because here we are enjoying TED, and Facebook, and YouTube, and this wonderful theater, healthcare, longer life spans. But we also live in the worst of times because we are on a planet with 7 billion people with a lot of problems. And for those of us who look at biodiversity, it's a heart-wrenching and wonderful time all together because we see the links between nature and people, and we're losing them at the same time. Both honeybees and humans originate in East Africa. And, here in Kenya, a wonderful relationship exists where a bird called a honeyguide, up there, has this interesting phenomenon where it actually leads either humans, which it's done for thousands of years, 77,000 year old paintings from Tanzania, and the honey badger to the wild honeybee colony. Now, for a long time we thought this relationship first evolved between the honeyguide and the honey badger. But it turns out that it actually evolved between the human and the honeyguide, and the badger's a parasite. Now, when we look at bees, there is this amazing diversity out there, 20,000 species. And one in three bites of food that we eat is thanks to an insect pollinator. So one of the things I'm working on is looking at those links between nature and sustainable human life. And here are just a few of the beautiful bees that we have in Kenya, in fact, not far from Nairobi. Now, how many of you like coffee? Yeah, I actually can't drink it because if I do, my hands shake, and I can't pick up ants and bees. Chocolate? I love chocolate, the darker the better, so I really like chocolate. Now the thing is, without insect pollinators, there would be very little coffee and no chocolate on the planet. Could you imagine that? That's really scary! Now, I want to show you out of thousands of examples that I could have brought here today to show you how insects are connected to your life, to every single human being on the planet. Here are two colleagues and friends. Domina is a farmer in Mwanza in western Tanzania, and Peter is from the Kerio Valley in northwestern Kenya. Now, Domina grows pigeon feed, cow feed, a whole wide range of legumes. And she feeds her family, she survives in a very remote area based off of these amazing crops, legumes, a lot of traditional vegetables, and all of them are pollinated by these different wild bee species. Now, Peter grows five varieties of mango on his farm, and he actually paid for his education by growing and selling mangoes. And I really like mangoes and so it's really a great pleasure working on the farm with five different varieties of mango. And if you look at all these different fruits and crops here, one thing that connects us to biodiversity and one thing we do as a scientist, we write papers. We do research, and we write papers. Nobody ever reads them, but here's one of my papers. It's on the African violet. This is in the U.S. This florist sells about 10,000 dollars worth of violets a year. It's worth about 6 billion dollars in trade. It originates in East Africa, and we never knew what pollinated it. Well, I went off and studied this. One thing to say about pollinators is it comes done to being about sex. And how many of you like sex? Where are we, the Vatican? So what happens when insects help plants have sex is there's really good sex. This is an example of really good sex. So basically the bee comes along, it vibrates the flower at a specific frequency, 11 to 12 hertz, pollen is released, and the plant survives in the wild. This is one of the world's most endangered plants. We go up into the deserts of northern Kenya, which are now very famous because of the discovery of oil. But I will tell you a little different story. These animals, the camel, which allow life in this very remote community, are browsing off of a shrub called indigofera, and indigofera is 100% dependent on bee pollination. So all these wild bees produce the indigofera, which the camels and goats eat. And we look at a community like this, Nalaray, northern Samburu, and people will look at these children and say they are poor. And I disagree because over lunch we collected 30 different bee species in the Acacia where they had their lunch and 400 pollinator species in the Acacia tortilis where their classroom is located. So I want to leave you with a radical piece of technology called the bee hotel that you can innovate and build for yourself. Create a habitat where bees can nest and live in your own backyard. But more importantly, please create space in your hearts for insects. Spend five minutes a day with them if you can. And I believe that if the one lesson we can learn from insects is that meek shall inherit the Earth.