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The Forgotten Lessons

issue eight : animal instincts

Contributor, Chantelle Candice Brown writes a poignant piece about our interconnectedness with nature and the lessons we can learn from her. The final instalment for our Animal Instincts issue.

By Chantelle Candice Brown

The world belongs to our children, and we should fiercely protect it.

 Have you seen Chantelle’s editorial, One And The Same?

It’s time for us to go back to nature, to watch and learn from her, to restore the balance and ultimately understand where we fit in. If you consider that for all our inventions there is already an example perfected in nature, it would only make sense for us to use her as a mentor.

Just look at the aeroplane, modelled after vultures and their distinctions of flight like shape, drag and lift. The wheel has also been found in ancient bacteria in the rotary motor that propels the flagellum. That’s without mentioning whole systems that are intricately interwoven, co-operative and flowing with abundance.

Our mistake is to think that we are separate, even superior. The truth is, we are all connected – WE ARE ONE AND THE SAME.

All species, all living systems need food, water, energy and materials to accomplish acts that are critical to survival. We all need to eat for energy and strength, we need to socialise and connect to reproduce, and we need to move to adapt and protect ourselves.

Photo by David Riaño Cortés from Pexels

With our incessant need to expand and conquer we have completely disregarded the fundamental laws of nature…

Nature runs on sunlight

Nature uses only the energy it needs

Nature fits form to function

Nature recycles everything

Nature rewards cooperation

Nature banks on diversity

Nature depends on local expertise

Nature curbs excess from within

Nature taps the power of limits

We have allowed greed, gluttony and ego to fuel consumerism and with our uncapped appetite we are not only depleting our resources, but we are actively participating in and causing climate change. We are cheating our children and our children’s children out of a world that we have been extremely privileged to have walked.

With all our technological advances and abilities to genetically modify at will, we view ourselves as god-like and are the self-proclaimed dominant species; yet the irony is that we are a species amongst other species!

The true leaders are the inhabitants of the earth that have lived hundreds and thousands of years without tipping the balance and without consuming their natural wealth.

The earth itself took millions of years to prepare for us – “Human history on Earth is a mere second on the clock” and it’s in this mere second that we have managed to all but destroy her.

The good news is that change is upon us and as Sarah Mower said: “Revolutions happen slowly and then all at once.”

There is a growing consciousness amongst communities, we are slowly awakening and taking our power back. If we can break free from modern world constraints and ideals we can instil behaviour that will allow us to mitigate and adapt to climate change.

When you consider that the climate has been stable for the last 12 000 years and that this is what allowed us to predict the weather, grow crops and form communities, we realise that we truly had the conditions to flourish. With the rise of coastal flooding (reference cyclones of Mozambique 2019) heatwaves and drought (Cape Town 2018) as well as the endless list of other global warming effects, we can see that this is a race to adapt or perish. We need to fundamentally EVOLVE.

Perhaps the answer to the crisis we find ourselves in, is found in the study of biomimicry. The laws of nature provide all the answers. Through imitation and in keeping within these laws we can innovate and create solutions that have less of an impact on the world around us.

Any way we look at it, change is upon us…

Will YOU be on the right side of history?


Innovation inspired by nature – Janine M Benyus

UN Sustainability Goals


Earth Day theme – Protect our species

Biomimicry SA

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