“The creature that wins against its environment destroys itself.”
— Gregory Bateson
Our planet is not called “Mother Earth” for only symbolic reasons. We have been born to and from this Earth. We are not simply on this planet but of this planet. Unless we learn to take care of our home, we will all be prematurely buried six feet deep under it.
Just as the human body can become ill, so can a planet’s body. Global pollution is turning the Earth prematurely gray. Our planet is presently experiencing a global warming, a fever and inflammatory condition that is slowly cooking us all. The life-giving blood of the planet is in great disorder as a result of water pollution, and the planet’s respiration is being choked by air pollution. Our planet’s most efficient oxygen-manufacturing plants are the rain forests, and they are being wiped out at an alarming rate, and anemic soil conditions are creating biological malnourishment and chronic fatigue, turning lush plant life into desert.
The more complex web of life on our planet is, the more stable and sustainable it is. And yet, the overuse of pesticides (like antibiotics) indiscriminately kills both “pests” and “friends” alike. Worst of all, pesticides over-simplify and destroy the complex web of life, often turning a “solution” into a greater problem.
Overpopulation is creating congestion, a type of constipation in which increased waste build-up leads to diminished capabilities of storage and elimination. Toxic waste sites have become the planet’s newest infections, resulting in corrosive materials opportunistically oozing and seeping out wherever they can.
Of greatest long-term potential danger to our Mother Earth is nuclear waste storage, which creates a hereditary disturbance that can strike at the heart of the planet’s life. Such storage becomes the Earth’s legacy. It is a Pandora’s Box that must never be opened, and yet, we can only hope that time and circumstance does not disturb or open it.
Like the human body’s response to symptoms, the planet’s symptoms are its efforts to call attention to a problem, reduce it and to attempt to heal itself. Sometimes, however, the stress is persistent, and the Earth cannot heal itself adequately or rapidly enough against the ravages of our progressive human race. It adapts, it deforms itself and it rids itself of any vulnerable life form, even if it means destroying its children to save itself.
Ignoring symptoms of the Earth or simply providing short-term “solutions” that suppress (or bury) the problem does not create real healing. Biomimicry (the application of technologies that mimics nature’s wisdom) uses nature as a model and as a mentor for sustainability. The closer that our technologies mimic nature’s sophisticated, evolved state, the more likely these technologies will be a part of the real solution and less likely to create new problems.
Humans may indeed be clever, but nature has wisdom.
Human health is more dependent on the health of the planet than the planet is dependent on human health. Until and unless we learn to live in harmony in our home planet, we will be expelled from this once pristine Garden of Eden.
We are finally waking up to the need for a healthy home, both for our own and our planet’s benefit. It is now becoming patriotic to conserve energy, to recycle, and to use biodegradable products, though some individuals and companies are just pretending to be green as a clever marketing tool (“greenwashing”).
There are innumerable decisions that each person makes every day that can slightly and sometimes greatly reduce the Earth’s resources. We must make these decisions more consciously so that we learn to live in greater harmony with our home.
Acting as individuals, we must also try to reduce the toil and trouble that our lifestyle creates for our environment. We must also encourage the companies for which we work and other companies with whom we do business to become ecologically concerned, both in the products they create and how they manufacture them. Ultimately, every action and every purchase must be considered for their environmental effect.
Although these efforts are vital for our survival and for that of our children, we must do more. Due to the already present environmental problems, we must now go on a “planetary diet.” We must extend our efforts beyond simply maintaining the Earth as it is to ways that will help the Earth recover from her severe illness. It is incumbent upon us all to encourage governments to make more forthright efforts to clean up the mess we have created.
It has been said that one person’s right to wave a fist ends where another’s nose begins. Because everything in this home planet is so interconnected, our nose, metaphorically speaking, is actually much larger than most of us realize, not just to fists but to various environmental assaults. The effect of everyone’s actions has repercussive and cascading effects. Unless we learn to live lightly on our planet, our children will carry the heavy burden of our conscious and unconscious indiscretions.
Biomimicry Institute: Biomimicry Institute