Uncivilize

On the Hadza and Human Metabolism - Herman Pontzer

Photo credit: Herman Pontzer,  Human Evolution and Energetics Lab  at Duke University

Photo credit: Herman Pontzer, Human Evolution and Energetics Lab at Duke University

The world today is this weird zoo that we’ve built for ourselves. It’s completely divorced from the way that we evolved, and from the lifestyles that our bodies are built for.
— Herman Pontzer

I am so excited to bring you this interview with one of my favorite guests to date: Herman Pontzer, a biological anthropologist at Duke University whose paleontological and biological field work across Eurasia and Africa have upended much of what we in the modern world thought we knew about diet, exercise, metabolism and human health.

Here, Herman reveals what it’s like to live and work with the Hadza hunter-gatherers of Tanzania, the paradox of calorie expenditure (hint: you can’t burn off that Shake Shack), and why we as humans must move to survive. (Don’t miss his brilliantly written recent feature for Scientific American, along with this episode!)

here’s the run-down:

  • Growing up in the woods of Pennsylvania and finding his evolutionary calling in college

  • A day in the life of a Hadza hunter-gatherer

  • Why everything we thought we knew about human energy expenditure is wrong

  • The connection between sedentary lifestyles, inflammation and our modern-day epidemic of chronic disease

  • Misinterpretation of scientific studies in the media

  • How humans evolved to require high levels of physical activity

  • Evolutionary mismatch

  • What does the future hold for the human species?

  • How to live a more evolutionarily aligned life

Check out Herman’s work at his Human Evolution and Energetics Lab at Duke University. Read more of his writing in Scientific American and The New York Times. You can also follow him on Twitter.

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan.

RESOURCES

360 Live: Herman Pontzer Ends Up in the Hot Seat

The Biophilic Nature of Serenbe - Steve Nygren

Photo credit: Jennifer Grayson

Photo credit: Jennifer Grayson

We have come into such an intellectual society that we have forgotten the miracle of where we live. And the miracle of our own being.
— Steve Nygren

In this first episode of our second season, I interview Steve Nygren, the founder of Serenbe—a microcosmic urban utopia set on 65,000 acres of preserved forest land, a mere 40 minutes south of Atlanta’s expanding sprawl. Yet to paint Serenbe as the latest picture of the New Urbanist movement (or as a green community, or a nature community, or an “agrihood,” as it’s been called in reference to the 25-acre organic farm the town is centered around) wouldn’t do it justice, as my family and I discovered when we called Serenbe home for two months this past summer.

Here, during an epic walk in the woods, Steve and I delve into the biophilic theory underpinning Serenbe’s design—along with the journey that took him from “having it all” in Ansley Park as a successful restaurateur to a life of deep nature connection for his family and Serenbe’s burgeoning community.

Show notes:

  • Serenbe’s origin story

  • Steve’s farming roots in Boulder, CO

  • Richard Louv and Last Child in the Woods

  • Why 68 percent of people don’t like where they live

  • “We have removed what I think are the two most important things for a vital life: and that’s connection to nature, and connection to each other”

  • The New Urbanist movement and inspiration from the English countryside

  • Preservation, development, and a model for balanced growth

  • The elephant in the room: affordable housing 

  • The problem with “intentional” communities 

  • The biophilic community, the awakening of intuition and Serenbe’s sacred geometry

Learn more about Serenbe (or maybe even plan a visit) on the Serenbe website, events page and Life at Serenbe blog. You can also check out Serenbe on Twitter and Instagram.

If you enjoyed this show, subscribe on iTunes so you don’t miss the next one (and don’t forget to leave a rating and review). The theme music is by Paul Damian Hogan.