The Future: 5 Pillars of Biomimetic Wellness
On the heels of my last post about mindfulness, and my recently launched book, which focuses on the connections between human health, climate change, and social justice, it is heartening to see more affirmation of an integrated perspective on these issues.
As healthcare becomes more debated and less ubiquitous here in the United States (although we just won one of the battles), and as it becomes more and more established that a plant-based diet can help reduce our carbon footprint, it’s important for us to think carefully about what health and wellness mean in practice. I’ve been working with tools and knowledge from behavioral sciences, design thinking, biomimicry, and meditation to address climate change and wellness challenges, and to make clearer the linkages between personal health, diet, and climate change.
I definitely think that the intersection between mental health, our connection to nature, physical health and sustainability are being emphasized more and more. There’s so much opportunity for linking together needs in one category and needs in another category. Because they are definitely dependent and connected to each other. There’s a lot of opportunity in that transdisciplinary work. Learning to act and work transdisciplinary is, I think, the really key piece.
Let’s dig a little deeper into a transdisciplinary inquiry of mine, and what I will call “biomimetic wellness”: what can we learn from nature about how to be well, and better yet, how to thrive? In my study of biomimicry and wellness, I have arrived so far at several components of a biomimicry approach* to wellness that incorporate much of what we already know in various other disciplines:
- We are returning to indigenous knowledge systems to learn and practice how to live in harmony with nature – I call this social biomimicry;
- Human biology, epigenetics, and nutrition offer us insights into how connected we are to nature at cellular and genetic levels;
- Our mental and physical health are strongly connected to nature; as evidenced by scientific studies on mindfulness and the relationships between trees and better human health;
- We are learning and applying so much from nature about how to develop materials, build structures, and even cities to make our built environment stronger and more earth-friendly;
- Nature has much to teach us about social innovation: cultivating cooperation, celebrating diversity, and communicating more effectively.
As we continue to tackle complex challenges like healthcare and wellness, it’s important to integrate perspectives. Biomimicry, despite being a relatively new discipline, is founded upon 3.8 billion years of nature’s experience in thriving, and has so much to offer.
How do you spend time in nature, and how do you feel when you do? Share your thoughts with me!
*Also see a previous post on the integration between biomimicry, veganism, and social justice.