This article was originally published on the World Economic Forum


“From the cloud forests of Costa Rica to the deserts of Southern Africa, the great outdoors inspires awe and offers us valuable perspective from our day-to-day grind. Nature also provides us with basic services – fresh water, clean air, nutritious food and shelter. But it doesn’t stop there.

Here are four reasons nature is more valuable than you may have initially thought. The common denominator is innovation. The value of the industries described below is in the trillions of dollars. The value of deploying some of these solutions to better protect the planet is priceless.

Technology that mimics ecosystems

Nature, through evolution, has been solving problems for billions of years – far longer than humans have. Natural systems are well adapted to their environment. A close study of how these systems work can help to solve some of the challenges we are facing today. For instance, we can study the swarm logic of ants that never bump into each other as they harvest leaves on the forest floor, to develop an algorithm for self-driving cars.

Let’s ratchet that up a notch. What if we built a city that worked like an ecosystem? Porous pavements evacuate rainwater, while bioluminescent trees light buildings made of self-healing concrete. Electric cars, powered by renewable energy drive around parks where pollution is captured by smog vacuum cleaners to ensure clean air is available to all. These innovations exist. These cities have the potential to exist…”

Read on at: World Economic Forum.