Sir Tim Smit: The Wanderful Podcast with David Pearl

By Rachel Crowther

Sir Tim Smit KBE –  Series 2, Episode 1 The Wanderful Podcast with David Pearl.


Sir Tim Smit KBE is one of the most recognisable and respected characters in the field of environment and sustainability.  He is probably best known for his achievements in Cornwall where he ‘discovered’ and then restored The Lost Gardens of Heligan with John Nelson, which is now one of the UK’s best-loved gardens.

Tim is Executive Vice-Chair and Co-founder of the multi-award-winning Eden Project in Cornwall. Since its opening in 2001, over 22 million people have come to see a once sterile pit, turned into a cradle of life containing world-class horticulture and startling architecture symbolic of human endeavour.  Tim is also Executive Co-Chair for Eden Project International which aims to have an Eden Project on every inhabited continent by 2025.

In this warm and engaging episode of Wanderful, David gets to have a meandering talk with one of his heroes exploring the inspiration behind Tim’s projects and what makes them magnetic to the thousands of people who keep them vibrant and alive.

Tim touches upon the problem of male vanity & ego at a time when there is a need for more collaboration and ensemble-working as we turn our attention to the challenges of climate change.

The conversation ends with a gentle analysis of the word ‘community’ and the importance of gifting and relationship building.

Full episode



0.00 – 00.45

Theme / Introduction


Introducing Sir Tim Smit


The word ‘sustainability’ versus the word ‘nature’


How does Sir Tim get so much done?

The people who are drawn to Eden


The biggest barrier to resolving climate change is male vanity


How is the Tim of today compared to the Tim of the early days?


Ensembles need leaders


The Eden Project allows people to find meaning


The Big Lunch – local connections & true community


The meaning of community


Identity & Violence by Amartya Sen

The polymathy that makes us


What is Sir Tim’s ‘verb?’


What does Tim do when he is wandering?


David sets up the ‘Wanderful’ exercise


What happened during the exercise


Resources Mentioned

The Lost Gardens of Heligan

The Eden Project

The Big Lunch

Identity & Violence by Amartya Sen

Ulysses by Lord Tennyson

Far From The Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy


Standout Quotes

“Almost everybody who comes towards or who is drawn to Eden is a slightly square peg looking for a square hole.” (Sir Tim Smit)

“The biggest barrier to resolving climate change is male vanity” (David Pearl attributed to Sir Tim Smit)

‘Vanity leads you to not listening enough. Nobody ever learnt anything by talking” (Sir Tim Smit)

“True genius is generally a construct of many different people” (Sir Tim Smit)

“The key code to you is noticing that a whole bunch of people needed you and valued you.” (Sir Tim Smit)

“The thing about the Big Lunch is not the day that’s important, it’s all the socialising and organising before.” (Sir Tim Smit)

“People are basically good. They don’t know how to be given permission to do good things sometimes.” (Sir Tim Smit)

“The origin of community is ‘comm’ meaning together and ‘munos’, meaning gift. It’s about the relationships of the people. You can’t be in a community if its passive(Sir Tim Smit)

“Can I have a verb which is to kiss frogs? I am completely turned on by being a frog kisser. I love putting things into good heart. (Sir Tim Smit)

“You can’t always re-build but you can if you are thoughtful, gentle and kind, make things content again.” (Sir Tim Smit)

“Contentment is a deeper running river.” (Sir Tim Smit)

“We take water as a simple thing at our peril.” (Sir Tim Smit)



Sir Tim Smit KBE

Web –

Twitter – @edenproject

LinkedIn – eden-project 

Facebook – theedenproject

Instagram – @edenprojectcornwall

David Pearl

Twitter @davidpearlhere

Instagram @davidpearl_here

Andrew Paine (Producer)

Twitter @ItPainesMe