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Activity 4

Can humans coexist with the Earth?

David Suzuki
Text A
The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, David Suzuki, originally published in 1997, revised edition of 2007.

Industries that are designing means of production can follow the example of nature in which one species’ waste is another’s opportunity. A plant that utilizes energy from the sun to grow and reproduce may also nourish a host of parasites and herbivores and upon dying feed still other lifeforms while returning organic material to the soil to nurture future generations of plants. Material is used, transformed and used again in a never-ending cycle. Nature has evolved exquisite mechanisms to survive and flourish over the vast expanse of time as the Earth has undergone geological and climatological change. Our scientific insights are profound, but we are still at an early stage of unlocking nature’s secrets when technology is powerful but crude. Too often we lack the knowledge to anticipate the consequences of our manipulations, as we have learned with nuclear energy, DDT, CFCs and GMOs. [...] We can transform our thinking from the linearity of extracting, processing, manufacturing, selling, using and discarding into the circularity of natural cycles.

The Sacred Balance: Rediscovering Our Place in Nature, David Suzuki, originally published in 1997, revised edition of 2007.
Text B
More Good News: Real Solutions to the Global Eco-Crisis, David Suzuki, 2010.

We need, Mc Donough argues, to pattern our industries on nature, what is termed “biomimicry”. That means preventing waste by limiting any sort of manufacturing or consumption that causes it. If any waste is created, it has to be nonpolluting so that it can serve as “food” for natural or industrial systems, just like dead leaves or muddy water in nature. If your waste can’t be safely absorbed by natural systems or fed back into industry easily, that’s the proof that your methods don’t accord with nature’s, that you’re losing part of your investment and causing damage. Indigestible wastes like toxic chemicals or heavy metals also destroy natural systems’ ability to produce more products in the future. Let’s go over a full list of what’s required to survive on this planet over the long term. To be sustainable, any industrial or infrastructure development, any business or management model, whether it manages factories, farms, wild animals, or water resources, has to mimic nature, or it won’t fit in with the laws of physics. It has to, above all, be local. It must not produce any wastes that cannot be harmlessly absorbed by natural systems. If it does, it has to reintegrate that waste into the industrial stream. Like natural systems, sustainable management must be self-regulating, nonhierarchical, cyclic, flexible, diversified—and focused on the long term.

More Good News: Real Solutions to the Global Eco-Crisis, David Suzuki, 2010.
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You are in charge of one text.

Present the text.
Workbook p. 100
What definition of biomimicry is given?

What suggestion(s) does David Suzuki make about how industry should evolve?

Useful vocabulary: a sustainable system must be + adj… To be sustainable, you should + V.

Let's talk this out!

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Share your findings with your classmates.

Recap David Suzuki’s ideas. Discuss whether you agree with him or not.

How can biomimicry influence industries? Save the planet?

Useful vocabulary: I agree with… I don’t agree with…
What strikes me the most is…
In order to save the planet, we have to…

Over to you!

Your exhibition “Learning from Nature”

Let’s use what you have learnt in and / or !

In groups, discuss to organise your exhibition (number of panels, topics…). Imagine and decide what will be on each panel: design the introductory panel.

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