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Biomimicry and the Problem of Praxis

Freya Mathews

Environmental Values 28 (2019): 573-600. doi: 10.3197/096327119X15579936382400

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Biomimicry can serve as a design template for an ecological civilisation by showing how cyclical, no-waste, mutually adaptive production systems designed 'after nature' could render human industry fully 'sustainable'. However, unless the modes of praxis involved in such a reformed industrial base are also redesigned, the value orientation fostered by the new order would remain anthropocentric. Biomimicry would accordingly result in an eco-modernist-type scenario in which society was 'decoupled' from nature, with dystopian consequences for the larger community of life. Drawing on Indigenous modalities, I explore ways in which modern industrial systems could include participatory modes of praxis that would emanate in genuinely bio-inclusive forms of consciousness and hence lay the ethical foundations for an ecological civilisation.


Biomimicry, eco-modernism, bio-synergy, Indigenous law, historical materialism, praxis, eco-civilisation

CITATIONS in other Environmental Values articles

Editorial: Can Imitating Nature Save the Planet? Henry Dicks and Vincent Blok

What is Mimicked by Biomimicry? Synthetic Cells as Exemplifications of the Threefold Biomimicry Paradox Hub Zwart

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