The laws of nature have existed since the beginning of time. That is over 4.5 billion years! Mankind, on the other hand, has only been around for roughly 200,000 years. This means that nature has 250 years of experience over every one year that humans have been around trying to figure things out. What can over 4.5 billion years of life lessons teach us? Let's look to the environment and find out!
Nature uses only renewable energy
The sun provides all the energy required to power our planet. It also fuels our weather, ocean currents, and water cycles. In every square meter of sunlight, the earth is provided with nearly 1,400 Watts of heat and energy. This has been enough energy to power every aspect of the planet for billions of years.
Rather than look towards nature's playbook, mankind turned to nonrenewable energy to power our world. The majority of our energy is fueled by gasoline, coal, alcohol, and uranium. These nonrenewable resources will run out, becoming the problem of our children, grandchildren, and great-grandchild. Why use nonrenewable resources that harm our earth and will run out when nature gave us the answer to our energy needs billions of years before we asked?
The earth has been living on renewable energy sources for billions of years and we can too. Sunlight is capable of providing all of the energy we need as well as heat, vitamin D, and natural sleep patterns. Water and wind are also excellent sources of renewable energy that will not harm our world. Yet, only seventeen percent of the United States is currently powered by renewable energy sources.
Nature has nearly zero waste
In addition to what we are unnecessarily taking from the earth, we are filling it with an impeccable amount of waste.
The United States alone produces over 728,000 tons of garbage every single day. That is over 254 million tons of waste each year, just in the US! Fifty-five percent of which goes straight into our landfills where it does not decompose.
Once again, nature provided us with a solution long before we ever caused the problem. Natural ecosystems generate almost no waste. They are experts in recycling. Take the pillbug, for example, this bug is known to their ecosystem as decomposers. Not only do they have a diet largely consisting of dead leaves, decaying animal flesh, and even feces, but they are also capable of crystallizing copper, zinc, and lead temporarily removing toxic metal from the soil.
While humans consuming waste products may not be a feasible answer, we can take a lesson from nature in thoroughly using all the resources available while simultaneously eliminating the overabundance of unnecessary garbage.
Nature provides us humility
Humans have become rampant in technological and scientific advances. Maybe it's opposable thumbs. Nature gives us a heaping dose of humility by consistently doing things we cannot yet do ourselves.
Even the simplest form of pond scum runs solely on renewable energy, has an endless recycling system, and is a magnificent example of resilience and diversity. Yet humans continue to use filthy fossil fuels polluting our air, our water, and our climate. We extract the earth's natural materials at an incredibly faster rate than the planet can regenerate them, eventually running ourselves out of the very resources we depend on to live. We glorify a culture of excessive waste and then bury it away as though the problem will not someday resurface to be dealt with.
We have made many significant advancements over the last 200,000 years, yet there is still much more we can learn from our environment. It is time to show the environment that we're listening. Start today by:
- Reducing your waste consumption and recycling.
- Decrease your energy usage by using natural light during the day and shutting off electronics at night.
- Convert to renewable fuel sources by installing solar panels and wind turbines.