Integrated Nature Manifesto
Since the beginning, we have been a part of nature. That is why nature inspires us and heals us. The illusion of our mind tells us that our creations are different from nature. Just a look at the intricate structures of beehive or termite mounds makes us realize that we are not the only builders of complex creations. Every day we solve a plethora of problems and, for many of them, a living nature offers us a solution. Let's connect with her and get inspired. We can create a living architecture, permaculturally plan our parks and edible gardens, produce energy with living plants, and design products and systems inspired by nature. Let's learn to use our knowledge of organic systems in biotechnology and form a relationship with everything alive based on deep respect. In this way, our society and nature can become one harmonically working organism.
The ecosystem of human and nature
We often view the relationship between human and living nature as a fight between two entities for their living space. Does it inevitably need to be like this? Do more people mean less nature and more nature fewer people? What if the path of symbiosis exists, where more people mean more nature and vice versa. What niches in ecosystems of our global society can be filled with living nature? On the other hand, what niches in the natural ecosystem can we fill? Let's find a way to create ecosystems where we are not just a disruptor but a part of the superorganism that the ecosystems are...
Photo by Michelle Spencer on Unsplash
Photo by David J. Boozer from Pexels
System thinking and disruptors
... To be able to rise up to the challenge, we need a new way of thinking. Our society is dominated by analytical thinking, which is very practical, as it enables us to focus on one thing and see it as one brick of lego within a building structure. Systems, in which we live, are build from elements that are in relationship to many others. Everything is interconnected to the great web of relationships and a small change in one element can lead to the cascade of non-linear reactions until it reaches a new equilibrium/attractor. In this case, analytical thinking fails us and we need system thinking which takes into account these characteristics of the systems.
By observing the intricate plays in ecosystems, we can learn to copy and use these patterns, their resilience, and how they function. Permaculture shows us a way to design a living ecosystem with high production that can sustain human needs. One of the examples is an edible forest. It is a created forest ecosystem comprised of plants, fungi, microorganisms, and animals that are edible or useful for people. In addition, observation of nature teaches us to see a resource in by-products and our waste. We can feed them back to the system and increase the system's production. Permaculture and the sister systems of regenerative agriculture, which follow the same holistic principles, can heal damaged areas. By understanding how local elements of the environment function, we can revitalize dead infertile soil into an oasis full of life.
Photo by Olivier Mary on Unsplash
Circular economics and compostable materials
The life cycle of any thing in nature is closed. The organism is born, nourished, grows, multiplies, dies and eventually decay.
Decomposition of dead organizm involves a number of small animals, bacteria and fungi. They produce of biomass then feed other organisms in the food chain and thus enrich the entire ecosystem. Such living compost can also enrich our agriculture.
If we discover compostable materials from which we can create our products and nature can decompose them naturally, then we can get involved in this highly efficient waste and production management. This will get rid of the global waste problem we face. A number of possibilities are emerging, from compostable plastics, through biodegradable chemicals, to new materials, such as mushroom leather.
Living architecture and biophilia
When we breathe fresh air and are surrounded by beautiful nature, we feel great. It is encoded in our genetic code. Nature is beneficial for our health in many ways. The appearance and form of our cities and the present-day architecture does not reflect this reality. Green roofs, vertical gardens, vertical forests, structures made of living plants, community gardens, and nature imitating urban greenery are some of the examples of how to integrate nature to architecture. Moreover, the greenery helps us to create a pleasant microclimate, it protects us from flash floods, dust, noise, or we can produce locally what we need.
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Biomimicry and bioutilization
Living nature has researched its solutions for more than 3.8 billion years. With great certainty, it has a design solution for most if not all of our problems we are solving right now. Also, these solutions perfectly use the potential of ecosystems in which they are located and are energetically optimized. We can use biomimicry to create designs of our technologies and we are already doing it in a few areas. Velcro strips, artificial neural networks, shinkansen trains, or ventilation in skyscrapers are just a few examples of products inspired by nature.
For many technical challenges, the answer is, actually, to use the organisms themselves. We can bioutilize them when we used them in the right place and in the right way. Predator fungi, as a fungicide, building constructions from living trees, bacteria that decompose plastic, plants filtering air, or rice field that produce electricity are just few examples which already work today.
Synthetic biology, cellular agriculture, and biofabrication
To gather meat and skin, we need to kill and animal and breed it in non-ideal conditions. When we want to gather wood, we need to cut trees down. When we want to industrially grow food, obtain a medicinal substance, or biofuel, we have to take an area from the existing ecosystem, mostly to create agriculture fields. Biological cells act like small factories. Do we need a whole organism to create something or just a consortium of living cells? Today's technology enables us to use cells for industrial production. Let's use this opportunity to create more living space for all life.
What if our creations resembled organisms more than machines? They would not be manufactured, but they would grow, they would intelligently react to the environmental stimuli, and they would be created from biological materials and organisms. The structure, interaction between materials, environment, and living systems would create a function. Philosophy of creation by Material Ecology developed by a team of scientists and artists around Neri Oxman brings us a new vision of biofabrication, where architecture and design create a synthetic nature – new biological structures building up human environment.
Biocybernetics and Cyborg-botany
Forest is a superorganism. It was recorded at few places that the plants and fungi created their own version of the internet and collective system to share resources. They can perceive the world in many different ways and have diverse ways of communication. They do not only communicate between themselves but they also attract predators of the organisms that parasite on them. What if we knew how to communicate with them? Scientists found ways how to obtain data and signals from the plant senses or how to send signals they recognize. Or to connect them with our cybernetic systems.
What if a forest connected to the AI will be able to connect to the internet and trade with us? What if it will employ us to sustain its needs? Maybe, in the future, we will have a nice chat together.
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The living universe, consciousness, and ethics
Western civilization is just waking up to the compassion for the animals which we use to sustain our needs. If for example pigs feel pain, discomfort, and suffering in a similar way to us, it is unethical to keep them in unacceptable condition or to kill them. To which animals does it relate and to which does not? And what about the plants, fungi, and microorganisms? Do they have some kind of consciousness and do they feel something? Where does the intelligent behavior, consciousness, or feeling end? Are these phenomena a natural part of for example something so simple as an atom, or superorganism such as a forest, limited liability company, human culture, internet, or even the universe?
To know how to competently answer what is ethical towards other organisms, we need to find a precise, scientific answer that describes what is intelligence, feeling, and consciousness. Furthermore, we need to learn the difference between them. Science have just started to really search for these answers.
Right for wilderness
Why should wilderness exist?
Wilderness is home to many animals that live out their stories there. Their lives have an inherent value, they are co-creating a superorganism and they are bound to the existence of the ecosystem in which they live. To kill them we do not need to take their lives directly, we just need to disrupt their ecosystem. Ecosystems do not need our presence and when we do not interfere, they can regenerate through their natural development via an ecological succession and filling of the empty niches.
Wilderness offers us two gifts. The first are solutions that we can adopt, or get inspired by. The function of relationships in ecosystems, processes and functions of organisms, or genes that help them produce rare substances, for example, for our pharmaceutical industry. The second is the purity, beauty, adventure, and the calmness of mind that we can find in the wilderness if we have an open mind.
Organizations and people
who inspire us
Ask Nature a Biomimicry Institute
Biomimicry institute actively educates about the possibilities of using bioinspiration in the design process. Its goal is to create the next generation of innovators or idea makers who integrate the principles of biomimicry in their work and bring only the best sustainable solutions. They created the consulting agency Biomimicry 3.8. and AskNature - a database of biological strategies and ideas through which organisms survive and they can be inspiration through which we solve our challenges.
— Clemens G. Arvay
From time immemorial, in China (Sen-lin-yu), Japan (Shinrin-yoku), among the native natural cultures, but also in the western world, we have known that nature can heal and inspire us. Arvay brings a scientific view on this ability of nature to heal us and what it is. He poetically describes these effects as healing trinity of the forest. Anions in the air released from flowing water, biophilic soil bacteria, and volatile substances released by trees and plants help us to heal and, thanks to them, our body comes to balance. With the help from knowledge gained by scientific experiments, he offers as a way to return these natural healing powers back to the cities where besides their influence, plants positively affect our psychology. He brings us a vision of healthy, inspirational cities of the future.
About Solarpunk Institute and our activity
We are solarpunk think tank. We want to bring to everybody a vision of the world through which we will overcome today's societal crises. Our society will become sustainable and increasingly in harmony with nature. Now, with a clear vision of the goal, let’s find together the path that will bring us to this vision of the future.
We build our vision on the ideas of integrated nature, parallel systems, global ethics and an inclusive community.
Introducing the vision of Integrated nature
We work on complex thought and artistic introduction of the Solarpunk ideas. We want to communicate ideas and the soul of solarpunk in such a way that it will influence and inspire the next generations of thinkers, innovators, and activists of social change.
The first of the concepts is Integrated Nature. The philosophy of seeking harmony between human society and nature.
Integrated Nature Manifesto
Be part of the change and use the principle of integration of nature!
Nowadays we face the question of how to combine human well-being and the well-being of nature. This problem concerns each one of us. Its solution will decide what kind of world we leave to our children. We are in danger of undermining the foundations on which all life on earth stands including human life. The problem has a simple solution. It is all about the change of mindset. Let's discover together how to find the path of symbiosis and synergy through the integration of nature.
All organizations, startups, communities, or educational institutions can participate in this creation. The change of mindset will allow you to design more meaningful and healthier systems, products and processes and increase the well-being in general. Be part of progress and lead humanity towards harmony with nature. We will show you the way of thinking and the methods you can apply. We are experts in various fields with a passion for our mission.
Solarpunk Institute o.z., Račianska 43, 83102 Bratislava
Tel: +421 903 121 349