If you read this blog with any frequency, you’ll have seen numerous posts about biomimicry. That’s because Nature not only defines what is and is not sustainable, it also has all of the sustainable design strategies we’ll ever need.
And biomimicry reaches far beyond product design. Just this week, I’ve been working with Fellows of the Amani Institute to apply biomimicry to social innovation. (They designed a school for an area in long-term conflict, starting off with applying strategies of a Longleaf Pine). That’s why, in this time of division and disruption, suffering and soul-searching, I know we can look to Nature for clarity.
If you find that you’re in doubt, don’t know what to do, or don’t know where to look for answers, know that you can always look to Nature.
When you’re in doubt, go outside. Go for a walk, or have a sit. Relax and reflect. Take a while to just be, and then to contemplate and imagine. Share your doubts with a tree. See what emerges. Because you, too, are part of nature, you have innate “natural” wisdom that you can tap into.
If you don’t know what to do, imagine what that tree or bird or bug might do. Imagine what tactics and strategies they might employ when faced with a similar challenge. No doubt you’ll find that organisms rarely act alone. They rely on each other and their system — and others and the system can count on them for the same.
If you don’t know where to look for answers, keep in mind that there’s a “brain trust” of an estimated 30 million species in the world today. These species are the 0.1% of species that have emerged after 4 billion years of evolution — Earth’s long-term quality control program. Whatever your questions, you can find answers in the myriad materials, shapes, patterns, processes, relationships, and systems of nature. And those answers will likely be inspiring and beautiful, as well as innovative and sustainable.
If we ask, if we look, and if we listen, Nature will tell us that there can be no supremacy in Nature. No one species can dominate all others – at least not for long. Species that rely on that strategy for survival go extinct, sometimes taking whole systems down with them.
Nature will tell us that all species in nature (except some humans) know that all other species in their system matter — and act accordingly. If one part of a system is suffering, the system helps out or adjusts, because the system needs all parts to contribute to the whole, needs all niches filled. Nature will tell us that diversity strengthens the system, makes it more resilient.
Nature will tell us that in our current human-constructed systems, only some lives are fully supported and fully engaged. Nature will tell us that dominance is dangerous, that our systems are brittle. Nature will tell us that we need to send help where it’s needed, to correct imbalances. Nature will tell us that we need to fix our systems to be sure that all lives are fully supported and can fully engage, fully participate, and fully contribute.
If we ask, if we look, and if we listen, Nature will tell us that Black Lives Matter.