WATCH: Images of America's Storms Will Take Your Breath Away

The underlying goal of my work is to help trigger an emotional connection, one that I hope will spark a relationship between the viewer and this planet.
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What does it mean to be a good ancestor? What does it mean to be a citizen of Earth? I ask myself these questions often. I am an Earthling. Growing up as a child of a mixed-race marriage, I did not fit in any of the boxes people seemed to want to place me in. I found the only category I felt comfortable in was as Earthling. Through all my adventures and travels around the world, I have come to know that we are all connected no matter how many lines, borders, languages, divisions we try to create. In the end we are all on this planet together. Our bodies are made of the material of this place.

Photo credit: Camille Seaman

For several thousand years we have allowed a story that gives man dominion over all the Earth's creatures to lead us to this place in which we as humans are destroying not only our own habitat, water supplies, air quality etc., but are taking out millions of our brother and sister species in the process. The underlying goal of my work is to help trigger an emotional connection, one that I hope will spark a relationship between the viewer and this planet. It is so easy to do harm to something or someone when you make it separate from yourself, when you can place it below you or see yourself as somehow more important than the "other." If you came to know that you cannot do harm to any other being or thing without doing harm to yourself, you might make different choices. Our planet is an awesome, wonderful and giving verdant place that we so easily take for granted.

Photo credit: Camille Seaman

What has all this got to do with ice and clouds? Someone once commented about my presenting icebergs as being "alive" and having "their own unique personality" as absurd. They claimed that ice was simply water and water was not alive. I replied to them, that we humans are 70 percent water... does that mean we are 70 percent not alive?

I know it is hard to change a perception and perspective that is thousands of years old. But I know that there is another even older story, the story of my tribe and so many other indigenous peoples of this planet that acknowledges that the Earth does not belong to us, that we belong to it. Imagine recognizing that we all live in service to each other and saw that as not only including humans but every living creature, every environment, every resource. What would that world look like?

My two TEDTalks are both under 4 minutes, and in that short amount of time I must really carve to the bone of what it is that will resonate, that will disturb, that will move you. You may not see the world the way I do just yet. If you allow yourself a few minutes to chew, swallow and digest, I think you will find that there is some deep ancient part of you that feels the truth of this seep into that place of you that knows this truth, and wants you to remember that you too are an Earthling. You too are a citizen of Earth and that you too must be a good ancestor.

Check out more images of storms and icebergs from Camille Seaman in the slideshow below.

Ideas are not set in stone. When exposed to thoughtful people, they morph and adapt into their most potent form. TEDWeekends will highlight some of today's most intriguing ideas and allow them to develop in real time through your voice! Tweet #TEDWeekends to share your perspective or email to learn about future weekend's ideas to contribute as a writer.

Camille Seaman's photographs of storms

Camille Seaman: Photos From A Storm Chaser

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