Are you choosing to live in the swamp?
Consider the scenario that you have spent your entire life, living in a swamp, attacked by other organisms every minute of the day, with just enough resources and support to survive, yet in constant pain, you don't know any better and this is just the way life is. Imagine then that you decide to learn how to improve your life and develop yourself as a unique and differentiated organism with specific innate and adaptive capacities and talents. From here you then evolve into co-operative, synergistic relationships with some of the other differentiated organisms around you and are able to generate a way to leave the swamp. As a result you now enjoy a life outside of the swamp, increasingly pain free and moving ever closer towards thriving.
Now consider what would happen if any individual organism is damaged/unable to perform their specific role, or disruption/shocks cause those co-operative, synergistic relationships to break down - and you all end up back in the swamp again - this could be seen as equivalent to a 'disease' outbreak, or regression in systemic complexity.
In this scenario, where you find yourself back in the swamp - your health inevitably suddenly degrades, you are back in pain and fending off attack all the time....only now you know that life doesn't have to remain this way.....you found a way out before and you can find one again.
In this example, our current societal 'quick fix' reductionist approach to problems would leave us wallowing in the swamp, taking painkillers and using technologies and chemicals to change our biology and using loads of energy fighting back against attackers (inevitably harming ourselves in the process too). Yet this approach does absolutely nothing to get us out of the swamp (it just makes it more bearable to stay in there!).
When we find ourselves back in the swamp what we would actually NEED to do urgently is to get strong and get out of the swamp by:
- Supporting individuals to get strong by making their own choices, on their own path (because the only one who knows what's truly good for an individual is themselves)
- Support one another to develop innate and adaptive capacities to maximal effect
- Develop effective communication skills
- Develop tolerance of difference, stop seeking 'like minds' and get behind real diversity. In Lichen, fungus do not share a like mind with cyanobacteria, but they can symbiose effectively enough to get out of the swamp!
- Commit to offering the world your truly unique differentiated self (thinking for yourself, taking responsibility for yourself, making decisions for yourself and improving in self awareness all the time) and
- Evolve co-operative, synergistic relationships, to lift one another back out of the swamp.
For the real solutions - we need diverse EVOLVING systems based upon unique individuals working in harmony together.
Applying this scenario to ecosystem health, we need to restore the health of the microbiome above and below ground - if we are to reverse the current trajectory towards increasingly levels of chronic disease throughout nature.
I for one am sick of hearing that atopic conditions, autism, alzheimers, cardiovascular disease, cancer and auto-immune diseases are increasingly considered 'normal'. Sooner or later no chemical, technology or pain relief is going to make living in the swamp bearable.
So let's lift ourselves out of it, one person at a time - we each need to get strong in our own selves first. Every species and indeed organism, in an ecosystem occupies a niche position based on their own capacities.
Every organism and what they can offer the world is of the utmost importance to ALL life. It is in everyone's interests to ensure we can each step into our fullest potential, in our own ways.
The Jena experiments have now shown for example, when even one species of plant in a small scale system is lost, the health of all plant species is impacted:
The solutions we need don't leave us wallowing in the swamp and trying to make a silk purse out of a sows ear. The real solutions we need are to ascend the swamp, where all life can achieve greater balance and homeostasis. This route of course is not going to be littered with quick profits and strategies devised from predictive models, built upon the wonky foundations of faulty assumptions.
Our offering through Biome Box to help us ascend out of the swamp, is to help create a better way to produce food. We aim to facilitate the creation of maximally diverse, abundant ecosystems that produce more food year upon year. This approach also helps to enhance the microbiome below and above the soil, whilst increasing the range of food and habitats for all of nature.
It is not THE solution, but it is a way to support the evolution of life using our own innate and adaptive capacities.