Nature's Operating Instructions: The True Biotechnologies

Nature's Operating Instructions: The True Biotechnologies

by Kenny Ausubel
     
 


Archiving corn strains to guard against genetic pollution … Coating chainsaw blades with mushroom spores to speed forest regeneration … Growing crops that literally suck heavy metals out of damaged soil ... These are not utopian fantasies but proven strategies developed by experts who have discovered how to exploit the innate intelligence of living…  See more details below

Overview


Archiving corn strains to guard against genetic pollution … Coating chainsaw blades with mushroom spores to speed forest regeneration … Growing crops that literally suck heavy metals out of damaged soil ... These are not utopian fantasies but proven strategies developed by experts who have discovered how to exploit the innate intelligence of living systems to create “true biotechnologies.”
The Bioneers (“biological pioneers”) are a network of scientists, writers, economists, artists, and other leaders with practical and visionary solutions for our most pressing environmental and social challenges. Their annual conference draws global attention, and its most inspiring presentations become source material for books in the Bioneers series.
In this volume, Bioneers founder Kenny Ausubel gathers reports from leaders in the fields of biomimicry (mimicking nature to restore environments and transform production processes), “living technologies” that break down toxics biologically; and ecologically sound design for buildings and industries. These are set alongside essays by such writers as Paul Hawken, Terry Tempest Williams, and Michael Pollan that underscore the need to work in harmony with natural systems. Unlike corporatized genetic manipulation, the “true biotechnologies” explored here illuminate a future of hope by wedding human ingenuity to the wisdom of the wild.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
This engaging collection of essays, culled from the Bioneers Conference, explores the possibilities for eco-consciousness to infiltrate and transform the industrial economy. The subtitle refers not to conventional corporate biotech (which is denounced in several essays, including Elaine Ingham's account of a genetically modified bacterium that could have wiped out all terrestrial plant life), but innovations based on the wisdom and engineering prowess of Mother Nature. On the micro-level, these include self-cleaning paints modeled on the structure of leaves, bacteria that eat oil spills and gardens that treat sewage run-off and sequester heavy metals. On the macro-level, they include industrial processes that, like thrifty ecosystems, recycle wastes or eliminate them altogether, and experiments with a "new paradigm for agriculture" inspired by prairies. The bird's-eye view is offered by Paul Hawken, Amory Lovins and Hunter Lovins, who advocate a natural capitalism based on the flow of services rather than the production of goods. Some of the pieces are written by green entrepreneurs touting their wares, with a less than meticulous accounting of performance and costs, and the eco-moralizing can sometimes be heavy-handed. But the articles are stuffed with intriguing ideas, and while they sound a necessary alarm about environmental destruction, they also point the way forward to solutions. (Oct.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781578050994
Publisher:
Sierra Club Books
Publication date:
10/28/2004
Series:
The Bioneers Series
Pages:
256
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.60(d)

Meet the Author

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.

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