Where can you find employees with 3.8 billion years of experience ? Many of which are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, work very gratefully and proceed under the most severe conditions . The idea of working with nature goes by many names, such as Biomimicry, Gunter Pauli's Blue Economy and of course in Permaculture we are inspired by nature. What is the common denominator?
Somewhere in the history of man, we have decided that we are separate from, or even stand above, nature. Whoever attentively observes will find that all life on earth is interconnected, as we are. Nevertheless we have long looked at nature as something that is totally chaotic, uncontrollable and that if you want to be certain you'd better avoid it all together. So we got further and further removed from nature and we hid in laboratories. If we had to do something with nature than at least we made sure we would first ran a computer simulation, to know something for sure, at least that was the idea.
Project Wild Thing
A typical example is the documentary 'Project Wild Thing'. Documentary maker David Bond is worried about his children who hardly play outside and prefer the iPad or watching telly over playing with their friends, because "it is so relaxing", according to his 4 year old daughter. David Bond promotes himself to 'Marketing Director of Nature' on his mission to sell his flagship product 'nature', trying to make people to go outside again.
In various interviews with parents he shows that they see playing outside as something that is dangerous, because anything can go wrong. Adolescents see nature as boring and a place where you can get dirty. It's getting us therefore kindled at an early age that nature is dangerous, dirty and above all boring. If you observe closely, in other words to actually go into nature and contemplate what happened there, you will discover that nature is super exiting because everything is constantly evolving. It might that, in the eyes of a teenager, certain things come about rather slowly, but especially in the spring you may find that every day, all around you, lots of processes and events can be observed. The first leaves , a flower, an ovary that begins to form and then a fruit. Not to mention plants that create different types of leaves in the course of their growth, really amazing to see. The beauty is that it all happens without being reliant on our interference. Quite simply because nature works 24/7, 365 days a year, so even in winter!
Man used to live in and with nature. Although life was different back then, quite simply because we did not have the knowledge. Today we have, with the advent of the printing press and rather recently the internet, a very powerful system at hand for sharing information. A very large part of what lives, moves and flourishes on earth has been studied to some extent. Because we can so easily share this knowledge we are able to create a forestgarden, simply by placing trees, shrubs and plants in such a way that they can jointly benefit from each other's unique characteristics. Imitation Has it ever crossed your mind that we humans, to date, at best have been able to some what imitate nature? The most skilled robot is able to individually walk up stairs, but compared to a spider monkey that is not even close. A computer can count very quickly, in that respect we have to recognize our several, but in terms of intellect, doing anything by it self, even the best computer is remotely not able to approach man. Strangely enough, when it was introduced, we found it stunning that we could review our status updates with a specific swipe across a screen, to name an example.
In nature it all happens 'naturally', Newton is seen as a very special individual because he wondered how an apple could fall down from a tree. How many people wonder the apple got there in the first place? Gunter Pauli can speak of this this very vividly. The tree grows by nutrients and moisture from the soil, sunlight comes from above and he pulls nitrogen from the air. The big question is how did the water got upward against gravity? We know that capillary action, the upward movement of water through very narrow cavities has to do with the surface tension of water. According to our laws of nature it would be a very ineffective way of producing, because we would need at least one pump and electric power. The tree does it without any and thus extremely efficient. The tallest trees in the world are more than 300 feet high, without a pump! If we want to get water that high we are in need for a state of the art and energy guzzling pump. We have to oppress it, because pumping water upwards stops after 13 meters, because the suction has to be so strong that an absolute vacuum is created and the pump stops working.
Think about the honey bee for a second, according to science this beautiful insect would not be able to fly, because its weight and wing area just do not match. I'm certain that you have guessed it already, the bee does not care about our rules and does it anyway. Indeed, without these creatures we would not even be here. An exception to the 'rule', is what it is called.
The sages say that all wisdom begins by the realization of how little you actually know. To be quite honest, it happens regularly that I decline in the illusion to know it all, but every time again I am confronted with a reality that proves me otherwise. So I'm learning every day. In the West we think we know it all, especially our science seems to be lost in these thoughts. We all know that the small print of science describes that it often involves assumptions and that, until the contrary is proved, it is assumed to be the truth. The point is that is that in practice it is pronounced as the universal truth, this makes us in some way blind to other solutions, which has the effect of a snake biting its own tail, regardless of the intentions.
Lets broaden our view of the world and especially learn to appreciate what we already have. Be inspired by nature, let nature do what it does best and put it to use with great mutual respect where we return more than we take. Of course it would be great if you're going to work with nature, but it would be even better if we, as humanity, work together with nature 's finest :-)