A Biosensitive Society

Biounderstanding leads us to the inescapable conclusion that the only hope for the future lies in a radical cultural transformation, leading to a fifth ecological phase of human history – a phase that is truly sensitive to, in tune with and respectful of the processes of life that underpin our existence. We refer to a society with these characteristics as a biosensitive society [1].

All aspects of a biosensitive society, cultural and physical, will be geared to achieving harmony with nature and to satisfying the health needs of all sections of the human population, as well as those of the ecosystems on which they depend (Figure 1).

Figure 1: Biosensitivity Triangle

Table 1 lists some the most essential ecological features of a society on the path to biosensitivity.

Table 1


The achievement of these goals will require strong and enlightened government action. Unlike today, they will all be given high priority by governments and local authorities.

Governments will oversee a transition to a new economic system that satisfies the needs of all sections of the human population, without resulting in ever-increasing use of natural resources and production of wastes. There must be a steady decline in the intensity of technometabolism [see Biometabolism and Technometabolism].

Biosensitive societies will be free of weapons of mass destruction, which at present pose an horrendous threat to humankind and the rest of the biosphere.


At the level of individuals and families, biosensitivity will be associated with a high quality of life. Lifestyles will satisfy people’s physical and psychosocial health needs, such as clean air and water, a healthy diet, plenty of physical exercise, sense of purpose and the experience of conviviality.

A check list of important health needs is presented in Table 2. Attention is drawn to the psychosocial category of health needs (or health-promoting factors). Although somewhat difficult to define and measure, these intangible needs are as necessary for wellbeing as are a healthy diet and clean air.

These health needs will be satisfied in ways that do not result in continual growth in use of resources energy, pollution of the natural environment or loss of biodiversity. There will be more emphasis than at present on such activities as growing food, enjoying and caring for the natural environment, local sport, making music, dancing, the arts, theatre, cycling, and convivial social interaction.

Rampant consumerism and fossil fuel-powered travel will not be features of a biosensitive society.

[For the rationale behind this list, see Evolution and human health]


[1] The term biosensitive is introduced because there is a need for a single word to describe a society with these characteristics. The expression ‘ecologically sustainable’ is widely used these days. Of course, society must be ecologically sustainable – otherwise in the long term it cannot continue to exist. But ecological sustainability is surely the bottom line. We must aim for a society that is not only sustainable, but that also positively promotes health and wellbeing in all sections of the human population, as well as in the living systems of the biosphere.

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