Thursday, January 28, 2010

The Biomimic's Worldview

Described as both a science and an art, the field of Biomimicry offers much more than practices and processes for the innovation of a sustainable global human community. The shift to relating to Nature as our Model, Mentor and Measure offers us something we really need right now - the choice of a new, sane and hopeful worldview.

Biomimics are changing the way we do things by asking questions about how Nature does things, and then emulating the genius of Life's designs. It's hard to argue with the rationale - Life has 3.8 billion years of experience of sorting out what works and what doesn't, what lasts and what doesn't.

In contrast, the human species has had much less than even one blip's worth of experience in finding sustainable solutions to Life's challenges on Earth. The human 'genius' that we've become so enamoured with is ridiculous in comparison. In the face of a teeming mass of sustainability problems, we might well find that investing our energies in the myriad of well-proven, long-term solutions offered by Nature is a chance to make the first monumental display of our actual intelligence.

As we learn of more and more ways that Biomimicry is being used to develop new, sustainable human products, processes and systems, we are also gaining insight into the Biomimic's worldview. It is a substantial shift from the stress and pessimism of delusion into the calm, optimism of reality. It provides us with a new story of ourselves and our place in the Community of Life on Earth.

With Nature in the respected role of Model, Mentor and Measure we align ourselves with the truth that we are but one, short-lived species amongst multi-millions, over billions of years. It calls on us to reassess our fond perceptions of our "success" as a species. It gives us another perspective on the attitude that just because, for a nanosecond in the history of Life on Earth, we colonized just about everywhere and held the fate of so many other species in our hands, that we are extraordinarily powerful. Extraordinarily stupid might be closer to the mark!

At this point, all our technological genius has failed to make us independent of arable soil, fresh water and clean air. In fact, our technologies have increased our dependence on Earth by fostering addictions to other non-renewable, finite resources such as oil; all the while severely depleting and degrading the stocks of land, water and air. We are as deeply embedded in the biosphere as we have ever been. Like any other species, if we push past Nature's limits we will fail.

In an illuminating conversation with founder of the Biomimicry Institute, Janine Benyus, which can be found here - she talks about the need for our species to evolve from a pioneering, weed-like niche to filling the ecological role of a mature, hardwood forest. Key to this will be our capacity to respectfully adhere to Life's Principles in everything that we do from now on.

Eco-literacy underpins our success in creating a sustainable world. We have to understand how Life works before we can know our limits. When we live within Nature's limits we will shift harmoniously into optimising our eco-system by being a participant in creating conditions conducive to more Life. Biomimicry invites us as individuals to get out into Nature, to start learning, and be inspired...

Find out more about Biomimicry at:

Read: Biomimicry: Innovation Inspired by Nature by Janine Benyus

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