Written by Sami Grover
We need more trees in our cities. But our cities also need to become more like trees.
The other day I posted on why environmentalists must think like pro-athletes, inspired in part by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi’s work on optimal experience. As I finish up his book, I was struck by another observation—namely that the task of finding meaning in an individual’s life can be directly compared to the role of plants as “dissipative structures—organisms that collect diffuse energy from the sun and transform it into highly complex, dynamic structures.
It seems to me that the challenge of building community is very similar. We could, as a culture, do a lot worse than to learn from plants.
1. Collect Dispersed Energy
From New York’s potential to collect solar energy to an incredible solar bridge, we know for a fact that our communities and our cities could do a better job of utilizing (and conserving) the physical energy that is all around them. But communities are, by definition, awash with psychic energy too.
Any collective of humans is literally buzzing with ideas, ideologies and emotions. That energy can either be harnessed for the good, or it can be left to fester—either going to waste or becoming a destructive force as witnessed by the London riots of last year. Let’s learn to use the energy available to us.
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