GSIF Blog Post #4

One of my favorite examples of how nature can be applied as a unique mentor in my life is by taking a look at the system’s pure tendency to fall back into harmony, adapt and avoid (for the most part) catastrophic change. Of course, I am referring to the carbon cycle. Earth is known to maintain near perfect carbonic balance in the atmosphere: plants take in carbon dioxide, animals release carbon dioxide through respiration. Carbon is also stored in rock deep within the planet. Even though the Earth is no doubt being pushed to its limits with how much excess carbon dioxide is being emitted combined with increased deforestation, it is still remarkable at how resilient the system is. For centuries now, humans have burnt coal and oil – and yet, even with recent reports indicating rising temperatures, the Earth has largely been able to absorb this shock to the system and maintain a level of homeostasis only now being eroded. The same can be said for the hydrologic cycle, which typically provides enough rainfall for vegetation through evaporation but also doesn’t evaporate too much at one time to drain the world’s oceans. These kinds of harmonic systems are true models for how I like to live my life: maintain ideal balance when possible, but when things get thrown off, the ability to adapt and absorb these changes will eventually make or break my success or lack thereof.


Another example of my application of a natural process to my own life is the phenomena of tectonic plates and earthquakes. My thinking here is that while humans have improved in measuring the power of an earthquake, we are not really any closer to predicting when and where an earthquake could strike at a given moment. The lesson I take from this process is to always be prepared, and always build with stability in mind – whether that is physical building or mentally building capacity.


The “evolve and survive” life principle is particularly applicable to my GSIF project. The Ukweli team is currently in an advanced stage where we believe we have a viable product that is ready to be launched, but important details like a marketing strategy, funding, and logistics like employment and a tight concept of operations are now necessary for a successful implementation. Road blocks will come our way – they already have in our attempts to secure a marketing license, communicate with our manufacturer company in China and secure employees – but this motto of “evolve and survive” will certainly carry weight as we continue to push our project forward.


Cradle to cradle design in the Ukweli test strip project is a challenging concept to integrate, but I’m thinking if there’s a way to somehow use the natural elements present in a given situation to be able to “read” the applicability and effectiveness of the test strip at a given time. For instance, if our quality control measures show that the test strips will not function at temperatures above 100 degrees Fahrenheit and at a humidity level greater than 80 percent, if we could harness the energy possessed at those conditions to provide an “accuracy reading” on the test strip, that could be one way to incorporate the cradle to cradle design into our project.


I remember the first time I found out through a friend that people in other parts of the world drive on the opposite side of the road, or even don’t have traffic lights or turn signals. I had never considered driving being any different in other countries from how it is in America, and I had to ask my mom for confirmation once I got home from school that day. I also remember the day my dad (I count him as a friend!) explained to me that not all diseases are caused by bacteria and there a bacterial disease and a viral disease or infection were not synonyms and do not receive equal or interchangeable treatment. And I’ll never forget starting at the world map in elementary school and just being so confused as to why the United States is split into 50 states but other countries aren’t necessarily (or at least the various provinces don’t show up on a world map like they do for America). I finally had it nailed down after a full week of debate with my friend: there are continents, and America is in North America, for which I live in New Jersey, which is a state within the country of America. That was a lot to take in for me!


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