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5 Things Plants Do Better Than Us

5 Things Plants Do Better Than Us
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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.

First photo from identity chris is; second photo from sea turtle via flickr

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7:32AM PST on Mar 5, 2012

Thanks treehugger, nice post!

Trees are fantastic role models.

They use the air, they use water, they use the soil and they use the light and heat of the sun.

But they also nourish the air, create moist climates about themselves, maintain the soil and provide fuel for heat and light. Perfect balance. In my next life I want to be a tree :)

10:36AM PST on Feb 20, 2012


2:34AM PST on Feb 19, 2012

What a great way to look at re-making our cities.

3:52PM PST on Feb 17, 2012


1:39PM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Thank-you for the interesting article.....A favorite of mine too Dave...

9:39AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Bellissimo articolo grazie

7:52AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Interesting informations, thanks.

1:57AM PST on Feb 17, 2012


1:00AM PST on Feb 17, 2012

Interesting article, and the photos are good to look at.

10:56PM PST on Feb 16, 2012

Interesting story and thanks for sharing!

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