Biomimicry for humans

Hello-and-hi-five world, welcome to my first post!

Something I’ve wondered about for a while is…

Our best technologies are invented by observing nature, why not our best selves?

Humans have been copycatting nature – the more than human world of which we’re a part – since the beginning of human invention.

From the wheel, to the fur coat, to the aeroplane.

Most of the time we’ve done it unknowingly, as second nature. We’re a part of nature, we are nature, so in a sense we can’t not do it. It’s how we’ve co-evolved with the rest of nature over the past 5 million years to emerge as the species we are today. And it’s how we’ll continue to evolve.

What’s changed in recent decades is we’ve become more intentional about it.

We’ve begun organising and systematising our previously ad-hoc ways of copy-catting nature’s genius to maximise the benefit for us. The term for this is biomimicry, coined by biologist Janine Benyus.

Innovators who use biomimicry are driven by the question: “what if every time we have a technical challenge we asked ‘how would nature solve this?’”

Biomimicry has been used to systematically learn from King Fisher birds to create silent high-speed trains, from mosquitoes to create a “nicer needle”, and from geckos – whose millions of microscopic hairs on their little feet enable them to scamper upside-down across smooth ceilings – to create glue-free adhesives. This list goes on and on.

The question I have is: “what if every time we have a personal challenge we also asked ‘how would nature solve this?’”

In other words, what if we could learn from nature to develop not just our external technological world, but our inner world as well?

What if we could turn the mirror of nature’s genius inwards towards ourselves, for our intellectual, emotional and spiritual development? A form of biomimicry for humans.

A systematic way of learning from nature to become the best version of ourselves.

As with external technology, since the beginning of our time it’s been second nature for us to mirror ourselves with nature. Most of the knowledge and technique for this exists within what remains of our indigenous cultures and their practice of animism. I wonder if today we can do it with added intentionality, systemisation and scientific rigour?

Want to try it for yourself?

Next time you have a personal challenge or question, rather than asking a friend or therapist or Google (which are all good things by the way) how about asking ‘how would nature solve this?’ It works best if you take yourself to a natural setting like a park so you have some inspiration around you. You might not get an answer immediately, but it helps to at least start by asking the question. Give it a try.

Want to try it with the support of others?

Check out WithNature’s upcoming programs, a kind of biomimicry for humans.


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