Nature represents immpecable design.
Its 4 billion years of continuous growth can be seen to result from five immutable laws. Conceiving, designing, and building all aspects of human society according to these five rules would lead to a world 6.8 billion people would want to live in.
1. Growth is good
Continuous growth is the primary dictate of nature. Nature achieves perpetual, harmonious, abundant, healthy growth by the sum total of each species acting in its own best interests. Unfortunately, within current human design parameters, every human system that grows leads to the destruction of our planet’s life support systems. It also increases levels of human stress, disease, and turmoil. It is not a question of GROWTH / NO GROWTH, but rather: what do we want to grow. Or, more specifically, what do we want the results of our efforts to be?
2. Waste = Food
Nature’s “cradle-to-cradle” operating system is sharply contrasted with humanity’s ”cradle-to-grave” one. We take, make, and waste, dumping the fruits of our labour into landfills at the end of their ‘life’. The organic and synthetic materials of human activity become toxic waste in landfill sites, precluding any further benefit from them, and leaving a toxic legacy for generations. Waste that stays waste does not exist anywhere in nature—all ‘waste’ is food for another organism or system. Waste should therefore not exist as a result of human activity. All man-made materials should be viewed as continuously valuable, circulating in closed loops of production, use, and up-cycling. All biological materials should be returned to the ecosystems from which they came.
3. Use natural energy flows
Natural systems are powered by natural energy flows. When the chemistry of the earth and the physics of the moon and sun come together, everlasting energy is created in the form of wind, photosynthesis, geothermal heat, gravity, and tidal currents. In contrast, human systems rely predominantly on fossil fuels, nuclear fission, and incineration processes that by design destroy natural systems and have tremendous financial and social costs. Imagine, instead, human societies powered by harnessing the limitless energy nature provides for free.
4. Diversity = Strength
Diversity has allowed different species to survive and remain balanced in vastly different bioregions since the very beginnings of life. The same phenomenon has been observed in human communities and workplaces. Yet in recent times, we have chosen to forsake diversity and ignore bioregional realities in order to pursue myopic goals of “sameness”.
5. Think holistic
Streams and rivers are not straight. If they were, they would move rain-water to the sea much faster, more efficiently. However, higher velocities would mean the water would be moving too rapidly for the earth along the river’s edge to absorb it and feed surrounding vegetation. It would erode river beds, creating silted waterways devoid of life. Animals would be unable to drink from it, or find their food within it. Ecosystems would collapse. A river’s slower, meandering course may not be the most efficient way to move water, but it is inarguably the most effective. Humans must learn to move past the reductionist concept of efficiency, which comes from the industrial revolution of the 1800’s, and learn from nature’s whole-system effectiveness.