- 10/18/2023 10:49:08 AM
BIFED Diaries and Talentra’s Talk
Bozcaada International Festival of Ecological Documentary (BIFED)
A small and slow town on the Aegean coast... An international documentary festival woven entirely with solidarity and contributions from the local community... Held for the tenth time in Bozcaada, enriched by various cultures, the slogan of the festival was "Life jackets are not under your seat" and its theme was defending the defenders. For Talentra, it was gratifying to support such a valuable festival.
At the festival, screenings ranged from student films to international films, the halls were packed, and participants had the chance to visit Bozcaada, a local, small, and slow town. We also had the opportunity to hold a discussion as the Talentra team, on how new business models inspired by nature could contribute to societal transformation. In this way, we expressed Talentra's ideas and perspectives in line with the theme of the festival.
In today's world, as the climate crisis deepens and concerns about the future of our planet intensify, we are happy to contribute to the sustainability of this festival, which creates significant awareness by highlighting the theme of ecology.
Wishing to create a livable planet together, we would like to present the topics we discussed at our session during the festival.
Models: Patient Buds Awaiting to Sprout
The concept of teleportation is a popular theme in science fiction stories. Typically, it means transferring an object from one place to another without spending time. However, such teleportation is not yet a realistic possibility in modern physics.
So, why do we need to transfer matter with a certain mass? Can't we instead transfer the information which is a much lighter matter? With this information, recreating that object would be a better strategy. For instance, flowering plants, which we perceive as almost motionless, transfer their genetic information through pollination instead of trying to move from one place to another. Today, transferring information has become very easy thanks to the internet, and with 3D printers, it is now possible to process this information into real products. After all, the necessary raw materials are available in many places; what's essential is bringing these materials together correctly.
Models are packets of information that can go to places we can't and exist in multiple places simultaneously. The model approach offers a way to be both small and large, both slow and fast, and provides us with a toolkit we need today.
Today, many of us are understandably pessimistic about the sustainability of the current economic system and the future of the planet. However, we seem to forget that the capitalist system was a small model that developed, sprouted, and dominated within the gaps of the feudal system. Why shouldn't small models evolving in the gaps of the current system also shape the future? Little buds might be waiting to sprout in many parts of the world. Only removing the parts that are shadowing their sun will be enough.
Designing Models Inspired by Nature
Nature has managed to create circular and sustainable systems with optimal yield after millions of years of trial and error. By observing these systems, we can develop alternative solutions to the dead ends in modern life and create models.
In Japan, the design of the high-speed train known as Shinkansen provides an effective example of drawing inspiration from nature to create alternative models. To solve the sonic booms that the train created when exiting tunnels, Eiji Nakatsu took inspiration from the aerodynamic structures of birds, especially the kingfisher's perfect aerodynamic properties during its transition between air and water. They modeled a new design similar to the kingfisher’s beak, this inspiration solved the noise issue and also reduced the energy consumption of the train by reducing its air resistance.
Natural ecosystems offer magnificent models where every creature performs a different function, and they work together to protect the ecosystem's health. Bee colonies teach us how to work effectively within an ecosystem with their rapid adaptation capabilities. Their decentralized structures, flexibilities, and quick response abilities can offer clues about how to collaborate to create synergy in the modern business world. Roots and fungi are highly effective in information flow and collaboration, resembling the internet of nature.
Drawing inspiration from nature can revolutionize energy production and conservation. For example, by examining the photosynthesis process, it is theoretically possible to develop innovations for more efficient use of solar energy. Similarly, plants' water use and soil-binding mechanisms can guide us in urban sustainability. In architecture, nature's designs guide us. The way termite mounds maintain temperature and humidity balance can be emulated in energy-efficient building designs. Similarly, by studying how trees interact with the wind, we can construct more resilient structures.
Observing nature, drawing inspiration from it, and living in harmony with it is now of vital importance. After all, we don't have another planet to go to. As Janine M. Benyus, who works on biomimicry, expressed, burning fossil fuels in an ecosystem where natural balances are disrupted is like setting furniture on fire inside a house with closed windows.
Talentra, realizing that its current business model resembles an ecosystem, started evolving the model further by using biomimetic principles.
The major earthquake that hit Turkey last February marked a turning point for Talentra as well. The solidarity that emerged after the earthquake where employees and consultants at Talentra participated with immense dedication, showed that our relationship was more than just business but an organic bond. This organic operation enabled rapid action during the post-earthquake period, with relief activities carried out efficiently and systematically.
When observing nature's mechanisms, we notice that in times of crisis, ecosystems can demonstrate resilience due to their diversity or adapt easily to radical changes. For instance, agricultural fields based on monoculture that have damaged diversity display high vulnerability. Such fields resemble business relationships gathered solely for one purpose and devoid of principles and values. On the contrary, as seen in Talentra’s example, collective business practices interconnected with essential values and bonds mimic the functioning of ecosystems in nature. Such collaborations can pivot to novel solutions even when the economic tide turns unfavorable, all based on mutual values and organic vital connections. In other words, business relationships woven as organic networks show resilience in times of crisis, rather than vulnerability.
A New Economic Model
We need to consider how a new economic model that prioritizes social values and ecological sustainability can function. The current economic system encourages the usage of resources until depletion and relentlessly seeks limitless growth at any cost. This system supports a consumption culture, by using means such as libertarian paternalism, placing the responsibility of decisions on individuals. Individuals are made to believe that they are making decisions willingly and independently, making them unwitting supporters of the existing system. The current economic paradigm has successfully tapped into a natural urge within humans, pushing them towards increased consumption and the desire to accumulate possessions. This especially accelerated after the industrial revolution, peaking in the last century with the widespread use of oil, derived from nature's reserves concentrated over millions of years.
Creating a model that promotes solidarity over consumption and collaboration over competition, especially within a fiercely competitive job market, is as challenging as it is tempting. Such a model, once successful, would have the power to change the surrounding atmosphere and replace the desires directed by the dominant ideology with completely different desires oriented towards creativity and self-realization. Against a system that seeks to increase its profits by continually driving down the costs of nature and labor, a system that establishes a sustainable symbiotic relationship with nature and labor factors can withstand competitive conditions with the backing of societal power.
A model where economic success is measured not just by profit margins or growth rates, but also by the well-being of communities, the health of ecosystems, and the happiness of individuals, will signify fulfilling our responsibilities not just towards nature, but also towards ourselves and each other.