[quote_center]”We have never faced a crisis this big, but we have never had better ideas to solve it.” [/quote_center]
A video from FilmsforAction , narrated by Morgan Freeman, explores our current condition through stunning visuals and a voice of gold. Amidst a plethora of fear-mongering, it’s a pleasantly optimistic message to see.
One of the most striking points for me was the mention of Biomimicry– engineering that emulates the strategies seen in the patterns and structures of nature. In many ways, this has been a driving component for our civilization since the first human replicated a tree’s canopy in order to shelter themselves from rain, or perhaps replicating a stone rolling down a hill by inventing the wheel. Nature is full of inspiration for efficiencies that work better than most of our human-made counterparts.
Curious minds want to know: Why is this?
One of the reasons I think Biomimicry such an important step in the right direction is because it speaks to harmony with the planet. By bringing our own technological additions to the biosphere into alignment with the natural evolution of our planet, we are making our species less invasive, less obstructive to the natural way energy has flown for millions of years on this planet prior to our conquering of it.
And when it really comes down to it, everything we do is for energy. Nature’s evolution over time, including our very bodies, was driven by the need for energy. Whether it was giving a longer neck to animals so they could get the food ( caloric energy ) that seemed just out of each, or whether it was a tree spawning branches with as many leaves as possible with flat surfaces that could capture sunlight. Recently a grad student at MIT proposed a new theory for the evolution of life that proposes this very idea: that life evolved in an attempt to hold onto energy as long as possible. Nature, it would seem, is quite frugal.
And we need to follow it’s lead. We need to stop wasting the energy of our planet, stop tainting it and poisoning it by greedy habits. We need to put an end to clear-cutting forest ( fuel burnt to run machines that kill energy cleansers) in order to make grain (Grain-fed beef production takes 100,000 liters of water-energy for every kilogram of food) in order to ship that grain across an ocean (fuel for massive ships that release their exhaust) to where we can feed cows( who produce a toxic energy called methane) before slaughtering the animals, shipping the meat as quickly as possible ( requiring yet more fuel ) to the hungry masses who have separate themselves so fully from harmony with the planet that many aren’t even aware of the great cost of their beef.
One Transhumanist’s Hope:
One of Google’s founders, Sergey Brin, has been investing in the In Vitro Meat grown in the lab. Mark Post, the Dutch professor behind this technology, spent $300,000 for his first patty of ground beef. Now, less than two years later, he is now making patties for less than 12$. This could be a major chance for a far more ethical and environmentally friendly way of getting energy for the masses. Think of the gains we could make by reducing the aforementioned cycle of energy waste upon our planet. And if you think eating lab-grown meat is disgusting, consider that your typical burger is a living, breathing creature that was cut into pieces and that rarity of your steak is how much blood you’re wanting to ingest. [[Note: from my understanding, In vitro meat still requires the blood of cows, though the data shows that its still a far more efficient system with far less need for slaughter.]]
The point is that this is only one of many ways humans have betrayed nature’s guidance of efficient energy usage, and if we tackled this and other inefficiencies, we could greatly reduced the damage we do to this planet through the waste of natural resources and pollution. And as no surprise to most, I’m believe that technology ( through bioengineering food and invitro meat, vertical farming, solar powered transportation systems, and the rise of compassion from educating people through internet communication) stands to be the best way for us to move away from the damages of a greedy, destructive industrial age to an age of intelligence and compassion.
As always, I’d love to start a dialogue. Tell me ways you’ve seen waste of energy. What aspects of nature do you think we could mimic? Do you think lab-grown meat is feasible?