the vibrant voice quarterly newsletter fall 2015
Applying Nature's Strategies for Resilience
by Denise DeLuca and Linda Graf
Life in the wild is tough. Drought and fire, disease and floods, volcanoes and early frost - the unpredictability of nature means that organisms in the wild have to be resilient. Nature bounces back from disruption by incorporating strategies such as decentralization, diversity and redundancy.
Notes from the Field: Nature@Work
Vibrant OS has been interviewing sustainability professionals for an upcoming book on nature, innovation and leadership. One part of the interview provides these busy folks a quick reconnect with nature, right from their office. We asked them to pick a business problem or challenge they are dealing with currently, and then turn to nature for inspiration. Here's what happened:
Challenge: How can I remain positive in a really negative situation?
Observation: I’m in the city, looking out the window at a tree planted in the sidewalk. The tree clearly has it tough.
It’s isolated from natural ecosystems, the air and water quality aren’t that great, it gets buffeted by passing trucks and buses, and it gets pissed on all the time – literally! Nonetheless, it is still beautiful. It still sprouts new leaves every spring and changes colors every fall. It keeps doing what it has to do, and does it gracefully.
Insight: When I face really challenging situations, I can stay positive by doing what I need to do gracefully and gratefully. Wow - that experience was cool – it helped me turn the question on its head!
Challenge: I love being super productive, but have a hard time staying focused on things that are important
but not urgent.
Observation: I’m pretty lucky, I have a great view of the bay. I can see that the surface of the water responds to every breeze and passing boat, but the effects are small. Except for big storms, only the tides really matter. From this vantage point, the water appears to be solid, kind of like a rock. That’s because the water in the bay is so massive and it's also connected to an even larger mass - the ocean.
Insight: I need to recognize the real forces that are in play. I need to find my ‘tidal rhythm’ and let the small distractions only disturb the surface of my attention. Just thinking about this right now is helping me center and ground.
Challenge: I’ve got a deadline coming up on a big project and I just lost a FTE (full time employee).
Observation: I’m looking at a seashell I keep on my bookshelf. What I notice is the spiral shape allows the shell to grow indefinitely, but is a also a constraint to whatever lives inside. I know nature leverages the power of limits. Perhaps by limiting the size of the shell, the occupant can focus on things other than getting bigger.
Insight: I can limit the size of this project and focus on what I can do even better with what I have. That’s actually a great idea!
If you'd like to help us with our research and participate in an interview (30 minutes), please contact us:
The Man Who Planted Trees
- an inspiring animated film (30 minutes)
This time of year it’s almost impossible to not notice trees. First the shifting colors – brilliant greens are edged out by yellows, oranges, reds, and browns. And then the shedding of every leaf so all that’s left is the tree’s underlying architecture.
To honor trees and the cycles of life, we highly recommend the film: The Man Who Planted Trees.
An allegorical tale by French author Jean Giono published in 1953. The story was adapted into this beautifully animated short by Frédéric Back and released in 1987. It earned a number of awards including an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film. Enjoy!
January 27, 2016 Vibrant Leadership™ Program - Seattle
In partnership with Sustainable Seattle, Denise DeLuca and Linda Graf will be facilitating this
5-part series at UW's Botanic Gardens. The group meets once a month January - May 2016
and includes an individual 360 assessment. Limited to 30. Applications being accepted now.
Learn more by clicking on program details.