Can this 1 little ant teach us how to create better neighborhoods?<br />
If not her, then maybe her whole colony can.<br />
Learn from the same pricks I’m always trying to get out of my kitchen you say???<br />
Let’s follow these little fellas home and see what they know that we don’t know.<br />
The ants that we encounter are normally the worker ants, and their purpose is to find food sources, leave a trail for the rest of the workers to find the source, and bring back what they can to their home colony where thousands of ants live together in a community; that’s where it gets interesting.<br />
Colonies live in underground nests that resemble our neighborhoods. They have tunnels and nest areas the way we have streets and houses. All the ants play a part in their communities, even after they go home, and the different chambers are utilized for the services that are critical to the well-being of the individuals and the overall survival of the community. <br />
They have chambers for:<br /> storing food<br /> watching the infants<br /> protecting the queen<br /> rest area for overly worked workers<br /> garbage, and many more specifications<br />And there are ants that oversee the proper set up, operation and maintenance of each of the chambers, as well as communicate on a regular basis with each other about any necessities or concerns they have.<br />Every ant has a special job in the colony.<br />
The point is that every ant, and every thing, has a purpose. <br />Ants live together and work together to keep their living environment at a supreme standard. This not only ensures each ant is safe and nourished, it probably keeps each one pretty happy too.<br />
So let’s use what we’ve learned as we imagine what our neighborhoods can be…<br />
Most species realize that they actively need one another in order to survive. We don’t feel that we NEED each other, so there is a huge disconnect between us and our physical neighbors. Without a need, there is no motivation to develop relationships and community in our neighborhoods.<br />Most all people wish they lived in a vibrant connected neighborhood.But most all people are also very disappointed with the current situation of our neighborhoods, especially in the US.<br />A<br />B<br />Residents in House A have no clue of the names of residents in House B.<br />
We may not be able to make ourselves need each other, but can we make us want each other?<br />Can we create neighborhoods that function similarly to ant colonies where every body is an important part of the whole?<br />Each of us finds and has a purpose in our own lives, but we can each have a purpose for each other; for our neighborhood and community.<br />So, what would get us interested in each other in the first place?<br />
Interest based groups and events!<br />Not the ones on facebook or meetup… real, physical groups that form and interact between real people. Rather than seek people out from around the globe on the internet, <br />find folks with similar interests closer to home.<br />Fulfill our desire to have fun with likeminded people while strengthening communities all at the same time.<br />
Instead of sharing our skills as workers, drones, or warriors like ants, we can be sharing our skills, passions and interests with one another.<br />In other words, giving each of us a purpose. Just a few examples: <br />Fitness or pets<br />Sports<br />Youth groups<br />Wine or cooking<br />Reading<br />Safety/Emergency Prep<br />
This all seems like “duh”, but since it isn’t happening in our residential blocks, here’s why people say vibrant, connected neighborhoods are important:<br /><ul><li>Have help close at hand
Development of relationships with those in close physical proximity</li></li></ul><li>It’s definitely not easy changing an entire society’s way of thinking and living, but there’s some tips we can get from the ants to make the process easier. (For the rest, I worked on another project which devised a strategy that would trigger and reward this movement to help it get started.) <br /><ul><li>Communication is key. A silent neighborhood is a disconnected one. Ants check-in by sensing each and every ant they pass. We can start with simple hellos when possible and move on to the deeper stuff little by little.
Having a leader works. Every colony has one queen. We can stray from their model a bit and not expect one neighbor to birth thousands of workers for the cause, but we can select one highly motivated individual to guide the neighborhood in connection.
Plan events, give people roles, never give up. If you’ve ever watched a trail of ants, you know they don’t ever ever ever give up.
Put aside the notion that you are the center of your universe. It is hard, but we are truly part of something greater, on many different scales. Be part of the collective because we already are. Why is it creatures the size of a crumb know this better than we do?
Visualize the possibilities and have hope for what our neighborhoods can look and more importantly feel like, especially for our kids.</li></li></ul><li>Thank You!<br />My First Biomimicry Brainstorm for a social movement<br />By Christina Churchill<br />www.mimickinglifesgenius.blogspot.com<br />