Integration: Biomimicry, Veganism, and Justice
Following my attendance at Bioneers a month ago, I wrote two blogs. The first post was for Alchemus Prime and discussed the incredibly close-knit community and some highlights of my experiences and learnings. The second post was for AZENTIVE, and focused on the importance of biomimicry for innovation and increased sales. A set of questions on this second post inspired me so much, that I had to write the post you’re reading now.
Essentially, the questions were about the intersections between biomimicry, veganism, and fair labor practices. Some of the specific questions from the reader, Diane, a vegan animal rights activist, are listed below:
- Does a company that has biomimicry at heart avoid products that come from animals and/or are tested on animals?
- Is it important to favor recycled materials?
- Are the products made by using labor that is equitable and fair to the workers as opposed to using people who have very low wages to maximize profits?
These questions struck me as so central to the Alchemus Prime Diamond Model, because they reach the core of our approach to ensure everyone, every life form, wins through our work. Briefly, the Alchemus Prime Diamond Model integrates behavioral sciences (embracing change), design thinking (applying creativity), biomimicry (emulating nature), and meditation (being present and mindful) to address climate change and wellness challenges.
The model leverages the deep intertwined relationship between climate change and wellness: human addiction to meat and dairy, and animal agriculture, which feeds that addiction, is the leading contributor to climate change, when viewed from a life cycle analysis perspective. The same behaviors we adopt for reducing climate change (i.e. reducing or eliminating meat and dairy from our diets) can alleviate the top lifestyle disease epidemics facing humans around the world: diabetes, obesity and heart disease, and more.
The added benefit of eating a vegan or plant-based diet is the elimination of animal abuse and cruelty, freeing up land to grow vegetables, grains, and roots to feed starving humans, and restoring some agricultural land to forest to sequester water and reverse desertification.
Back to Diane’s questions, which, when combined, basically ask: Shouldn’t we practice biomimicry in ways that are fair to humans and other animals? YES. Absolutely. Applying the Alchemus Prime Diamond Model, we can assess the avoided or reduced greenhouse gas impacts, harm to human health and labor practices, as well as measure the benefits to humans and nature from a particular project or intervention. Using this comprehensive analysis, we can tell whether any initiative is a true win-win, or simply creating benefit in one area while generating harm in another area.
Diane’s questions point us to the holy grail of an integrated framework for measuring the benefit of any project in any domain: do the outcomes from one methodology create benefits and/or reduce harms in combination with all other methodologies and technologies being used, and overall for life? Biomimicry alone isn’t enough, because although it aspires to create conditions conducive to life, nature demands killing and destruction of some species, individuals, and ecosystems for regeneration of new life forms. This is why we must integrate with other methods and include ethical principles. A truly powerful opportunity in the hands of humanity now is to leverage our ways of knowing, especially indigenous ways of knowing and practicing harmony with all life (what I call social biomimicry), and integrate them with other proven methods, such as behavioral sciences, to innovate our way out of the climate and wellness messes we’ve created. Our biggest asset is the human ability to change how we think and what we do.
Thank you Diane, for inspiring an improvement in my thinking; you make our work more robust.