women and life on earth bookshelf

Seeking solutions

Innovation inspired by nature

Janine Benyus

Quill (William Morrow & Co.) NY 1997 308p. ISBN 0-688-16099-9
US $13.00 (CAN. $16.95)

It is a rare writer who explains highly technical information to 'normal folk,' with style and humour too. That is what science writer Janine Benyus does, and more. She describes a new - and so ancient - approach to solving major world problems such as growing food without poisoning earth and water, harnessing energy for the future, finding cures to disease. The trick? To "mimic" nature, seeing and learning how natural systems work, then adapting the lessons learned. For example she urges learning from traditional healers whose knowledge of the powerful medicines of their eco-system has been accumulated over millennia, and even watching animals to see what plants they seek out for cures. She offers four steps to a biometric future that are "part studentship and part stewardship - studying nature's wellsprings of good ideas, and then protecting them so that they can continue to flow." They are:

"Quieting: Immerse ourselves in nature.

Listening: Interview the flora and fauna of our own planet.

Echoing: Encourage biologists and engineers to collaborate, using nature as model and measure."

These steps are presented with examples, research and practical information. Together they offer a theory for progressive development for humankind in concert with the natural world, of which we are inescapably part.

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