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The ‘elegance of nature’s recipe book’

“We’re awake now, and the question is how do we stay awake to the living world?  How do we make the act of asking nature’s advice a normal part of everyday inventing?”  – Janine Benyus 

Janine Benyus, author of Biomimicry, and co-founder of Project Drawdown explains ways that nature has managed ‘waste’ for eons before we arrived on the scene.  Munibung Hill and her residents – ‘our biological elders’ (says Benyus), our wise ancestors – are earth savvy and can, if we pay attention, teach us a thing or two. After all they’ve come up with solutions many times over.  Aspects of our lifestyle that we’ve turned into mountains of ‘waste’ they deem to be totally out of order.  Waste from food production and eating, waste from shelter and the bulding industry, waste from clothing production and keeping up with the Jones’s … and so on  … non-human species don’t tolerate waste in the sense of it being something you throw away, with away being in a garbage bin to accumulate as a toxic legacy.. Not part of their lexicon….

How to become awake to the the living world …

In this presentation Benyus sets out five principles by which nature lives and by which we might gain inspiration and understanding.
1. Life runs on (current) sunlight [We run on ancient sunlight as fossil fuels]
2. Life does its chemistry in water [We tend to use very toxic solvents]
3. Life depends on local (expertise) – organisms have to learn their place and limits and opportunities.
4. Life banks on diversity and rewards cooperation.
5. Life wastes nothing, upcycles everything and does not foul its nest, or home.
6. Life uses safe elements and elegant recipes, and shuns many of the elements on the periodic table.

“We are a very young species and possibly our best stance would be as apprentices to these masters. We have to replace our old industrial chemistry with nature’s recipe book,” says Benyus.