Home > NewsRelease > Craig Foster of My Octopus Teacher — How to Find the Wild in a Tame World (#735)
Craig Foster of My Octopus Teacher — How to Find the Wild in a Tame World (#735)
Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship Tim Ferriss - Productivity, Digital Lifestyles and Entrepreneurship
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: San Francisco, CA
Thursday, May 2, 2024

Illustration via 99designs

“I was born wild. I’m a wild animal. These creatures that I interact with taught me I’m a wild animal. It was almost like I was walking along the shore and then that ocean to the one side was my wild self and the land to the right was this tame self. And I was trying desperately to find a balance.”
— Craig Foster

Craig Foster (@seachangeproject) is an Oscar- and BAFTA-winning filmmaker, naturalist, author, and ocean explorer. His films have won more than 150 international awards. He is the co-founder of the Sea Change Project, an NGO dedicated to the long-term conservation and regeneration of the Great African Seaforest. His film My Octopus Teacher has led to making the Great African Seaforest a global icon.

His new book is Amphibious Soul: Finding the Wild in a Tame World. Watch the video below to learn more.

Please enjoy!

Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyOvercastPodcast AddictPocket CastsCastboxYouTube MusicAmazon Musicor on your favorite podcast platform. Watch the interview on YouTube here.

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#735: Craig Foster of My Octopus Teacher — How to Find the Wild in a Tame World

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What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments.

Want to hear another episode focused on human connection to nature? Listen to this conversation with hunter and conservationist Steven Rinella in which we discuss how Steven got me to overcome my lifetime aversion to hunting, why the conservation-minded non-hunting crowd should care about the decline in hunting and fishing license sales in the United States, the politics of reintroducing predator species to popular hunting grounds, close encounters of the grizzly kind, and much more.

#470: Steven Rinella on Hunting (and Why You Should Care), Reconnecting with Nature, Favorite Trips, and More



  • [08:39] A morning ray.
  • [11:01] Connecting with the sea is a family tradition.
  • [13:24] Making The Great Dance.
  • [15:28] Unnatural powers granted by natural attunement.
  • [22:40] Observing the secret lives of animals.
  • [26:44] What makes Kalahari trackers so impressive?
  • [29:37] Connecting with nature in the big city.
  • [32:43] Breath holding and cold exposure.
  • [37:25] Land lessons via underwater tracking.
  • [42:55] Connecting with a Cape clawless otter.
  • [46:20] Interspecies alliances.
  • [49:39] What compelled Craig to write Amphibious Soul?
  • [52:58] Why pristine nature comforts and inspires us.
  • [1:00:03] Is ancestral memory real?
  • [1:04:16] Nature as a mirror.
  • [1:07:48] The pros and cons of discovering new species.
  • [1:10:03] Song catching.
  • [1:16:30] The meaning of “home.”
  • [1:19:03] Parenting lessons.
  • [1:23:41] The psychic cost of sudden fame.
  • [1:31:18] For whom was Amphibious Soul written?
  • [1:33:58] Sea Change Project.
  • [1:35:53] The short-sightedness of current climate policy.
  • [1:41:52] Changing entrenched minds.
  • [1:52:37] A camera-stealing octopus.
  • [1:55:25] Hope for a shift in human perspective.
  • [1:58:21] Parting thoughts.


“Just start to look at a small area where there are few insects and maybe a few birds, maybe one or two amphibians, and take notes and observe every day, just, say, for half an hour. After a while, you’ll be absolutely shocked at what you couldn’t see before. It’ll be so obvious and it was totally invisible to you before. And it’s not just about the leaves changing color, but there are thousands of these things going on that, unless you take notice, you will miss. Nature then becomes this incredible teacher.”
— Craig Foster

“I was born wild. I’m a wild animal. These creatures that I interact with taught me I’m a wild animal. It was almost like I was walking along the shore and then that ocean to the one side was my wild self and the land to the right was this tame self. And I was trying desperately to find a balance.”
— Craig Foster

“If you are in an environment where there’s almost no biodiversity, your ancient creature that’s living inside you, your deep design, is terrified because it doesn’t know you can go to the supermarket. It’s just looking and feeling and hearing and smelling. There’s no life around. So the experience of going to these wilderness places tells that wild part of us that everything is okay. We just need to go and harvest a tiny bit each day and there’ll be plenty for everybody, for the family. And you feel, oh, everything’s all right, everything will be fine. This is good. This is the good life.”
— Craig Foster

“In this part of the world, you won’t believe how easy it is to find a new species. It’s the naming of it that’s an enormously difficult job.”
— Craig Foster

“When I’ve spoken to some of the scientists I work with, certainly some of the cinematographers, there’s this strange thing that the wild ecosystem is somehow mysteriously mirroring the human psyche and almost wanting to teach us and show us things way beyond where the edge of attention bias leads.”
— Craig Foster

“I walked down to the ocean and I went in that kelp forest and I looked back toward the house that was no longer there. And it struck so hard in my heart that this ocean, but also very much this planet, this original deep mother that birthed our species and it nurtured me from my whole life was actually my home, and I would be absolutely fine as long as that biodiversity and that biosphere was functioning well and was healthy.”
— Craig Foster

“If the phytoplankton communities in the ocean collapse, we stop breathing. Literally, that’s it. So every single investment that you might have in the bank or any property you might own or any future children that you might want to have, that’s game over for all that. That investment is worth zero if biodiversity collapses.”
— Craig Foster

“The planet’s fine without us. She’ll last easily without us. She’s as tough as nails and can handle anything. We are the fragile ones. So we almost need to look at our place and all the other animals that are sharing the space with us and just feel at least that gratefulness for this amazing planet that has looked after us so beautifully.”
— Craig Foster


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Name: Tim Ferriss
Title: Author, Princeton University Guest Lecturer
Group: Random House/Crown Publishing
Dateline: San Francisco, CA United States
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