We may refer to nature as the unseen power that makes all forms of life and natural activities function on Earth. Nature has been handling enormous environmental changes on Earth for about 3.5 billion years; that’s why many environmental experts say that when the Earth faces problematic environmental changes, we should observe and learn how to use nature’s methods/practices to handle such changes.

In order to sustain our mental and emotional health, and have good control over our environment, children, restaurants, homes, hotels, businesses, construction industries, and many other areas of life, we can learn and apply the incredible ways nature has employed in sustaining the variety of life on the Earth, especially in the midst of catastrophic environmental changes.

Such changes have come in two shapes. The first one involved various changes caused by nature; for example: gigantic meteorites once collided with the Earth; ice ages once lasted for millions of years; also, lengthy periods of hot weather have melted ice and raised sea levels by hundreds of meters. The second one involved various changes initiated by mankind, who has used the resources of the Earth in an unsustainable manner, and degraded much of the land, water and atmosphere. The fact that man has degraded a part of the Earth’s life-support system, shows that he might not be as wise as he thinks.

These few examples should serve as a wake-up call on us to observe how nature works, and live by the lessons it teaches in silence. If we learn from nature, we’ll live more sustainably, and the Earth’s living and natural resources will be sustained over a longer period of time without becoming weak or deteriorated. In the face of environmental challenges, there are a number of sustainability practices nature has been using to maintain the Earth for about 3.5 billion years, and which are worth practicing. The following practices are what I may call: “top 9 sustainability practices of nature”:

1. Nature’s practice of relying on solar energy:

The sun powers life on Earth and energizes our weather, water cycle, ocean and river waves, and supports photosynthesis — thereby helping plants acquire nutrients and chemicals which most organisms need to live and reproduce. Without energy from the sun, there would be no plants, no animals, nothing to feed on, and probably no life; in fact, in order for all natural systems to thrive, they must depend on the sun.

Sunlight — unlike fossil fuels which have been known to cause harsh climatic conditions and global warming — also powers indirect forms of solar energy like flowing water and wind, which can all be used to produce electricity without degrading the Earth’s atmosphere.

Lesson worth practicing:

In order to reduce or stop global warming, we need to practice using more solar energy than we’ve been doing. The fossil fuels (which mankind have been heavily dependent on) seem to be threatening the existence of life on Earth. This threat will be under control if we start using more solar energy than we’ve been doing. Any increase in the practice of using sunlight energy (along with wind and other types of waves) will still provide all the energy that Earth-heating fossil fuels provide; and fortunately, unlike fossil fuels, the use of more sunlight energy (in place of fossil fuels) will make climatic and weather conditions more favourable for living organisms.

2. Nature’s practice of being diverse:

Nature is diverse and produces a wide variety of organisms that expand their territories, and increase in size, range and scope. Take a look at the astonishing variety of plant and animal life (biodiversity) and natural systems (oceans, lands, forests, mountains, etc.) that exist, and the uncountable natural services that these living organisms and natural systems offer freely to each other.

Biodiversity has provided countless ways for living and non-living things to sustain each other in the face of adverse environmental conditions. Without biodiversity, most forms of life would probably not be in existence.

Lesson worth practicing:

We should learn to diversify, in terms of the knowledge and solutions we seek. If you’ve been using only one popular approach to achieve something, you’d be better equipped if you learn another (or others). Never keep your hope on one or few ideas, solutions or activities. Most people tend to depend on only one or few ideas — which might not be a bad thing to do — till failure sets in. People seem to ignore the fact that a popular idea or activity that’s good/strong today, might become bad, weak, and even extinct tomorrow.

If you look outside your comfort zone, you’ll be surprise to find out that there are many other better ideas and solutions to specific problems! It’s important for us to realize that diversity is essential in building strong, lasting and sustainable lives and environments/systems.

3. Nature’s practice of recycling without wasting:

The Earth doesn’t throw away any minerals, materials, chemicals or waste; for instance, nature recycles chemicals (i.e., nutrient cycling) in mostly water and soil environments through organisms, and gives the recycled product back to the Earth so that life will continuously be supported. Nature makes these processes and cycles to continue and replenish the Earth with recycled supplies of chemicals, rather than entirely new ones.

In order for nature to sustain life on Earth, nutrients must be cycled indefinitely. Without chemical cycling, there would be stale air (or no air), no water, no replenished soil, no food — and thus no life. Earth is somewhat a “closed” system, and has nothing much leaving it. It manages and recycles its waste; in fact, living things rarely create waste: what one organism considers to be waste is often food for another organism.

Lesson worth practicing:

Look for ways to re-use (or recycle for further use) most of the things you throw away as “waste”. It’s quite unfortunate that most people use too many items only once and throw them away. Good enough, science and the industries seem to be practicing and advocating for an increase in the practice recycling — almost in the same vein that nature has been practicing it for 3.5 billion years. If recycling is practiced everywhere, most natural resources will be sustained indefinitely, and financial capitals will be much more stable.

4. Nature’s practice of silence:

Most times, nature is quiet or silent. We aren’t referring to the type of silence in most cities, especially during the daytime when cars, radios, stereos, and other equipment produce noise; rather, we are referring to the type of silence that can be heard clearly on mountains, hills — or in places (even houses) that don’t produce too much noise.

Those who dislike quiet environments because it makes them feel lonely, should be informed that silent environments have their own benefits; even science says so. Many who meditate in/on silence know the obvious benefits of practicing silence, either in quiet environments, or in their hearts wherever they are meditating. They seek silence with zeal and attentiveness as if they are looking for gold, and many have found profound benefits that many people aren’t aware of.

Lesson worth practicing:

It’s beneficial to always practice silence because it can enhance one’s overall physical and emotional health. Apart from giving our emotions a break from the negative effects of noise, silence has proven to strengthen health and boost overall well-being. It helps to:

• boost the body’s immune system

• reduce blood pressure (and help prevent heart attack)

• support brain chemistry and grow new cells; in fact, a study in 2013 concluded that two hours of silence can help produce new cells in the hippocampus (the region in the brain that is associated with emotions, learning and memory).

• lower blood cortisol levels and decrease stress. According to another study conducted in 2006, two minutes of silence can reduce tension in the brain and body, and can be more emotionally soothing than music.

5. Nature’s practice of never being in a hurry:

Nature does things at its own pace. It doesn’t try to mimic what other planets are doing; neither does it try to do things the way things are done in other solar systems or galaxies. In order to illustrate, there are countless examples in nature that deserve to be mentioned; however, we will use only two examples that cuts across a lot of living and non-living activities: a seed doesn’t become a tree in one day; neither does a child become an adult in a day.

From the time a seed is planted, it doesn’t stop growing till it reaches an age or stage of maturity/productivity! It takes time (days, months, years, etc.) to grow every day, little by little, and steadily, except something deters it.

Lesson worth practicing:

As we pursue certain dreams in life, we shouldn’t hurry to reach a particular stage or level, especially in a limited amount of time. There’s no way you can become an adult within one hour, a day, or even a year; it requires several years, coupled with a lot of patience, trials and challenges. Being in a hurry won’t get us results in many areas of life that require a moderate or considerable amount of time.

We should allow time to have its way. Mix time with patience, positive thinking and faith, and never allow discouragement to creep in!

6. Nature’s practice of being positive — or not worrying:

In life, there are many things that don’t deserve our attention, and which we shouldn’t bother/worry about because they are out of our control. In the midst of catastrophes, tsunamis, wars, etc., nature doesn’t seem to worry one bit; it doesn’t even seem to worry or hurry in resolving any issue, and subsiding anything that’s problematic. You’d have noticed that heavy cyclones and rainfall shatter/destroy a lot of things, but after a period of time, nature balances or restores everything, and behaves as if nothing happened!

Lesson worth practicing:

We shouldn’t worry. Also, we have to learn how to accept certain things that life throws at us because we obviously don’t have power to control or change them; nature is the best teacher that exemplifies this. Do all you can to prevent any thought or belief system from killing any existing positivity you possess.

7. Nature’s practice of being flexible and fully fit:

Being flexible will increase your ability to adapt and survive in any situation. Furthermore, it will place you among the group who survive because of their high fitness levels: “Survival of the fittest”. “Survival of the fittest” was coined in the era when Darwin’s theory of evolution gained popularity. Research has shown that many genetic mutations took place in history, and eventually, only the species that were fit, adapted and survived! Nature teaches us to be the same: flexible and fully fit.

Lesson worth practicing:

It’s very important that if you want to succeed in life, you must learnt to adapt to any condition, whether you are rich or poor, have much or have less, live in cold weather or hot weather, etc. It’s unfortunate that was cannot always move on smooth and easy-going and terrains! We must learn how to swim in any type of water, shallow or deep! Many living species have survived in favourable and extremely unfavourable conditions, and they teach us not to give up, no matter the circumstances we face.

8. Nature’s practice of being selfless and caring :

We’ve witnessed how trees produce foods and fruits for our consumption and sustenance. Most of us don’t think about the selflessness in this activity of nature? Nature compels plants to be selfless and offer what they can offer, voluntarily. Nature is the greatest giver around, and it doesn’t ask or expect anything back from anyone or anything on Earth.

Lesson worth practicing:

What we can learn from nature is that giving and helping are great qualities that can sustain the lives of everything around us! People are always in need of help, and we should do our best to help, especially those who are in need. Helping spreads happiness and joy, and can relieve a lot of people from worries and emotional problems.

9. Nature’s practice of not being extravagant

In a quest to acquire material things, money and power, humans have been extracting raw materials from nature much faster than nature can replenish or regenerate them; so the raw materials are quickly depleting. Imagine what would happen if the Earth produces more trees than it’s able to replenish the soil, chemicals and nutrients that sustain them and make them reproductive. Also, imagine what would happen if nature takes up more sunlight than is necessary; wouldn’t everything burn up?

Mankind uses far more quantities of resources and materials than required, and still goes ahead to toss/throw whatever they’ve used into the environment without thinking about the aftermath, or any negative consequences.

Lesson worth practicing:

We have to practice how to use resources in moderate or adequate or amounts, and look for ways to exploit other resources that are not widely known or used.

So there you had it: top 9 sustainability practices of nature that you should practice.

Author's Bio: 

A smart, versatile and detail-oriented freelance content writer who has written, edited and published hundreds of original articles/web content, and has 6+ years of experience.

Niches of interest include (but are not limited to): water, environment, impact of science/tech on environment, motivation/self-help, spirituality, soccer, and news/society.

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