Until the first industrial revolution, human beings co-existed intelligently with a generous nature. But the first industrial age marked a turning point: human beings started exploiting resources that are limited by definition—water, minerals, arable land, etc.—on a large scale. Today, these resources are running out, and, in some parts of the world, nature can no longer even regulate itself.
The threats to the planet are increasingly numerous, visible and urgent. One example is the situation of fauna, which is thought to be facing mass extinction for the sixth time1. Preserving the living world is a challenge we must take up collectively before it is too late, because our own survival is also at stake.
Why don’t we do this by drawing inspiration from what has been working well for billions of years? Biochemical and biomechanical processes, ecosystem services, etc., provide us with an almost inexhaustible source of inspiration to innovate and drive the transition from a linear economy to a virtuous circular economy. But it is not simply a matter of understanding or imitating nature, but more of working in harmony with nature, particularly in cities. The stakes are high, ranging from the environment and health to the economy, society and ethics.