What is biophilia


The biophilia hypothesis also called BET suggests that humans possess an innate tendency to seek connections with nature and other forms of life.

The term “biophilia” means “love of life or living systems, the connections that human beings subconsciously seek with the rest of life’.  Perhaps the deep affiliations humans have with other life forms and nature as a whole are rooted in our biology. Unlike phobias, which are the aversions and fears that people have of things in their environment, philias are the attractions and positive feelings that people have toward organisms, species, habitats, processes and objects in their natural surroundings i.e. gardens

Similarly, the hypothesis helps explain why ordinary people care for and sometimes risk their lives to save domestic and wild animals, and keep plants and flowers in and around their homes. In other words, our natural love for life helps sustain life.  Very often, flowers also indicate potential for food later. Most fruits start their development as flowers. For our ancestors, it was crucial to spot, detect and remember the plants that would later provide nutrition.

Because of our technological advancements and more time spent inside buildings and cars etc, it is argued that the lack of biophilic activities and time spent in nature may be strengthening the disconnect of humans from nature. 

The concern for a lack of connection with the rest of nature outside of us, is that a stronger disregard for plants and  animals could lead to further ecosystem degradation and species loss. Therefore, re-establishing a connection with nature has become more important in the field of conservation.  

Examples would be; more available green spaces in and around cities, more classes that revolve around nature and implementing smart design for greener cities that integrate ecosystems into them such as biophilic cities. These cities can also become part of wildlife corridors to help with migrational and territorial needs of other animals and reduce our carbon footprint. Having a window looking out to plants is also claimed to help speed up the healing process of patients in hospitals.  Similarly, having plants in the same room as patients in hospitals also speeds up their healing process as seen in Singapore and Monaco.  Satisfaction derived from direct interaction with nature, such as through exploration and development of outdoor skills; the physical appeal of nature, evident in its role as a source of inspiration and peace; and the human attachment to nature in the form of emotional connections to landscapes and animals.  

However we should recognise technology is in itself an extension of human evolution and biophilia.  Some of these technologies, including molecular biology and genetic engineering, have enabled scientists to develop entirely new forms of life including plants, with which humans are wholly fascinated. The idea that technology feeds the human biophilic drive also finds support in the search for life on other planets. So not all technology is demonic.  

We must endeavour to reconnect with nature through education and desire sharing our knowledge love and passion for nature (gardening and growing) 

it provides joy, food, satisfaction, inspiration and healing. Remember our natural love of living things helps sustain all life.        

An example of biophilia in the home
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