Nature's Operating Instructions: The True Biotechnologies
Paperback, 288 pages
"Biotechnology" as generally understood is a misnomer, having less to do with biology than with generating profits from genetic manipulation. The corporatizing of genetic science is just the latest risky manifestation of a dysfunctional industrial paradigm based on consuming natural capital and producing toxic waste--an economic model totally at odds with the evolutionary intelligence of living systems.
But there is another way. The "true biotechnologies," described in this second volume in the Bioneers series, are working strategies grounded in the innate complexity, relatedness, and sustainability of natural ecosystems. The contributors to this volume are visionary leaders in fields such as biomimicry (mimicking nature in order to restore nature and serve human ends harmlessly), "living machines" that break down toxics biologically, natural design for industrial processes and buildings, and the restoration of natural capital. Their guiding principles include diversity, kinship, symbiosis, reciprocity, and community. These brilliant innovators illuminate a future environment of hope by "wedding human ingenuity with the wisdom of the wild," as contributor John Todd puts it.
Human beings are a keystone species with an essential role to play in the ecological well-being of our world; we are only just learning how to go about it. Sector by sector--from energy and agriculture to transportation, industrial production, and land management--the true biotechnologies described here show how nature has already orchestrated a symphony of intelligent design that we can emulate and adapt, to the benefit of humanity and all life on Earth.
Kenny Ausubel is an award-winning writer, filmmaker, and social entrepreneur specializing in health and the environment. He founded the Bioneers Conference and its nonprofit parent, the Collective Heritage Institute, in 1990. Ausubel edited (with J. P. Harpignies) Ecological Medicine: Healing the Earth, Healing Ourselves, the first volume in the Bioneers series, and he is the author of three books: Seeds of Change: The Living Treasure; The Bioneers: A Declaration of Interdependence; and When Healing Becomes a Crime: The Amazing Story of the Hoxsey Cancer Clinics and the Return of Alternative Therapies. He lives in Santa Fe.