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tv   The 77 Percent  Deutsche Welle  September 14, 2019 7:30am-8:01am CEST

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alexander from what he saw himself as an adventurer him really cultivated there's image of the daring adventure he was in he was the best publicists of machine ever. few know him as well as she doubts andre of all is an expert on alexander from whom bolts life and adventures her biography reintroduce the great naturalist to a new generation of readers and now the world is marking his 250th birthday we made out with andrea wolfe at the royal institution in london one of britain's foremost
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establishments for scientific education and research. will spend over a decade on the traces of alexander for home bolt she's written 2 books about him including an illustrated album about his famous expedition to south and central america it depicts the hardships he enjoyed but also his fascinating encounters and discoveries and it includes his drawings which fundamentally changed europe's view of the americas. you alexander from whom boyd was for sure one of the greatest scientists of previous times of all times when he was the most famous scientist of his time and i think he's undergoing a little bit of a renaissance at the moment and i think quite rightly so because i think his views . how he brings together the arts and the science how he says that we need
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to use our imagination and our feelings to understand nature i think are very relevant today as we are dealing with climate change so no one dares to talk about the wonder of nature of the beauty of nature the vulnerable beauty of our planet and i think that something that. something we could use a bit of that we could probably use today. alexander was born to wealthy parents in bergen in 1769 after a brief career working for the pressure on government he used his inheritance to embark on the adventure of a lifetime and set off for america at the age of 30 accompanied by the french explorer and botanist anybody who traveled to venezuela and from there to cuba colombia peru mexico and ecuador he collected plant specimens observed animals and
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became the 1st european to almost reach the peak of the chimborazo volcano in the andes at the time it was thought to be the highest mountain in the world later wrote 29 books about history he really cultivated this image of the daring adventurer he was he was the best. publicist to machine ever he would write letters from south america long letters to his friends and then he would end them said i don't mind if you send them to the newspaper so by the time he returns everybody has heard about his adventure so it's very much part of his self promotion humboldt is believed to have written a total of $30000.00 letters luckily for him he was exempted from paying postage by the prussians postal minister. he documented his adventures in the letters and his notebooks describing how his boat capsized on the our no co river and he almost
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drowned talking about the tough hikes and the damage to his feet the various diseases and the mosquitoes. but he also praised the natural beauty and the cultural wealth of the countries he visited. returned from latin america with a completely new portray of the ancient civilizations so he explained that these ancient south american civilization had been very sophisticated cultures with rich languages and with sophisticated architecture and he then in turn influenced many many scholars who began to study them his contemporaries the great german writer johann volved and found gertrude delighted in his intellectual exchanges with old he once said in 8 days of reading books you couldn't learn as much as what
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he tells you in an hour. u.s. president thomas jefferson met several times and maintained a correspondence with him for years. i consider him the most important scientist whom i have met. the english naturalist charles darwin is said to have been inspired by whom both while writing his most famous book. on the origin of species alexander from humbled was the greatest scientific traveler who ever lived. europeans had really looked down on the new world and then there there's another argument where you can say that he was he had a very strong influence on scene one would have are they met in paris and just went home returned and later said that homeboy woke up south americans with his pen so was home alone i think so ho almost descriptions
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of latin america where so vivid and so beautiful he gave the colonists the confidence to fight their fight of independence. the soldier and statesman simone boulevard was instrumental in liberating latin american countries from spanish control. alexander from home world is the true discoverer of america studies did more for america than the action of all the congress before his expedition to south america bumble to ask the travel permission from the spanish team and received a passport for the colonies but he was shocked by how arrogant and brutal the colonial rulers were towards the indigenous peoples was he aware of his own privileges as a wealthy european. i don't know if you would see it as we see it today we have to always bear in mind these
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historic figures that they live in their times what i can say is that he was unlike other europeans who traveled through south america so unlike other europeans he did not see the indigenous people for example as savages or as barbarians quite the opposite so he was he respected them he would use them as their guides and he very quickly realized that they were. that they could navigate the jungle in a completely different way so he described them as the best observers of nature as the best geographers he ever met he also collected all their languages and later said that is there's not a language in south america through which we could not express an abstract philosophical or european concept. yet when he set off on his 1st major expedition on the orinoco one of south america's longest rivers ignored the protests of his local guides and dug up skulls in a burial ground in the name of science. was
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a man of his time he was committed to the enlightenment but he was also obsessed simply devoted to his research and could also be inconsiderate of others as well as of himself. he pushed himself to his limits he was not well prepared when he set off to climb chimborazo the soles of his shoes were far too thin and he had no gloves his feet was soon blistered and bloody but he almost made it to the top to an altitude of 5917 meters. no european had ever made it that far. made drawings of everything that he observed so he could show others later. his famous cross sectional diagram of chimborazo sheds light on different climate and vegetation zones and gives an insight into his understanding of nature. he came up with
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a new concept. and that concept is that nature is a weapon life that nature is an interconnected whole where everything somehow hangs together from the smallest insect to the tallest tree and he described as a living organism so that's what i mean with the invention of nature that he's not . then nature was much more seen as a mechanical system not as a living organism. the idea of nature as a living organism in which everything is interconnected was a new one in the 19th century but homebuilt also ruled that humans were a danger to nature he not only wanted people to understand nature but to feel it this is something that we now have to think about in the current debate about the climate crisis sensible. we have the ability is just not acceptable so in the scientific world for example in peer reviewed articles scientists are not allowed
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to write about their feelings and their emotions if you speak to scientists most will tell you that they became a scientist because they love nature so i think it is there and it is really time to dare to introduce this into debates again for example i give you one example which you know in the in. our whole debate about climate change we tend to talk about statistics so we say we talk about the increasing acidity of of the oceans but we don't talk about the beauty of wild when. we all know how terrible oil production is for our planet but it is the photograph of a. black oil drenched that makes us kind of stop. untrainable space selling book the invention of nature alexander from whom bolts new world is
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not only a biography but an adventure story about who travels and discoveries full of exciting imagery. wherever home bottom bomb plant during those 1st weeks of c'mon or something new there tension the landscape had to spell over at the palm trees where i want to mend it with magnificent red blossoms the birds and fish seem to compete and they're kind of scopic choose and even the crayfish risk i knew when yellow pink flamingos to one leg of the shore and the palms fanned leaves mottled the white sand into patchwork of shade sun there were butterflies monkeys and so many plants to catalog that we run around like fools even the usually unruffled said that he would go mad if the wonders don't stop soon. to get to know his subject will spend hours in archives libraries and private collections all over the world but she also literally followed in whole bolts footsteps. do you mean.
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one of the great things when you write a book about an explorer is that you get to travel the world obviously all in the name of research so i had so much fun. following his footsteps so it was a great excuse to go to latin america where i had never been before and i don't know how other writers do it but i need to i can't describe the landscape i've not seen myself so because i'm not a wealthy prussian artist a craft i could not go on a 5 exploration so i had to going to pick and choose so i went up to him brought so we are on the edge of our art at 5000 meters and. i'm here because this photo came here and it was here on the cheap route so. if you vision. as nature is unified this is really the moment where you hear is he's a future you guys higher up i'm giving up here 5000 meters.
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so that was a spectacular moment also because the weather can be so terrible and we were just so lucky everything was perfect and then there was a moment to sun out which is another of the volcanoes where we actually found the hut in which homeworld had slept at 4000 meters. 6 years later on trails full of stalled on mt sinai again in the last tree as company german president frank fell to shine meyer had invited her to accompany his delegation to south america but went to colombia and ecuador and to the collapse because silence in february 29th teen star and my it all great of the whole ball that year to mark the 250th anniversary of birth wolf was of course the perfect member of the delegation since she had helped to rescue the great explorers from british oblivion . if someone had told me 8 years ago when i sat on my own in an
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archive reading through. horrible handwriting that in 2019 i would listen to the german president give a speech in quito about home was relevance for the environmental debate today i would have never believed it and that for me was very very very important moment to moment with bombs and everything because for me the homework that is so important is the one who talks about who warns about the destruction of the environment. more than 200 years ago and to see him being used for this argument again i think is just wonderful. has been translated into many languages and sold in dozens of. countries she's been invited all over the world has received numerous prizes and given dozens of speeches at conferences or on television and she's also on the
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program committee of the whole book forum the ins new museum for world cultures that's expected to open in 2020 the building that will house it based on berlin's form a city palace contains old and new architectural elements. the home bought for a showcase berlin's rich collections of non european cultural artifacts how would under a of wolves curation exhibition here if given the chance. of last fall i'm glad i'm not a curator just a historian so i don't have to do this but i think i would. put something in there that deals with this link between the art and the sciences that bridge that we've completely forgotten so we tend to draw the sharp line between you know we see them as 2 different disciplines but someone like home was very much united and i think
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that's really missing at the moment so i would look at that. and also because it's not just alexander it's also will have his name they both have the name who bought so it should be also something about languages which i think you could bring like poetry science arts stuff like that together alexander's older brother the statesman and educational reform bill him from whom bald was also very famous cheering his life time the home ball brothers grew up. losing their father as an early age their mother was a staunch advocate of education and both of them made the most of this each in his own way. that they had they were very different already as children both both set that they had an unhappy childhood. escaped into books stories of ancient rome and greece and alexander escaped into
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the forests and taken care of you know stuff little insects in his pocket and collected and and then later as younger man as they were they were not very close. and then william was very critical about alexander living in paris and said you forget you german this and then later as older man there so there's this really wonderful shift you can see how they become very close and they begin to work together and when you look at william's work on language you can see that he does exactly what alexander bass with nature he sees language as a living organism. vilhelm was the prussian academic alexander the cosmopolitan explorer who became world famous he soon found berlin to provincial.

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