The authors of a new book, "Natural Security: A Darwinian Approach to a Dangerous World", say lessons learned from Mother Nature help protect us from terror threats -- if governments are willing to think outside the box.
“Biological organisms have figured out millions of ways, over three and a half billion years of evolution, to keep themselves safe from a vast array of threats,” said Raphael Sagarin, a Duke University ecologist who co-edited the book with Terence Taylor, an international security expert.
“Arms races among invertebrates, intelligence gathering by the immune system and alarm calls by marmots are just a few of nature’s successful security strategies that have been tested and modified over time in response to changing threats and situations,” Sagarin said. “In our book, we look at these strategies and ask how we could apply them to our own safety.”
The working group included paleobiologists, anthropologists, psychologists, ecologists and national security experts who examined a wide array of evolutionary models and ideas and evaluated which could be applied to security issues such as weapons development, screening procedures, and risk assessment of newly emerging terror threats.
“Whether you’re dealing with al Qaeda or an emerging pathogen, studying animal behavior teaches us basic principles of survival,” he said. “You can’t eliminate all risks, so you have to focus on the big ones, while adapting to minimize risk from the rest. You have to be aware of your environment, understanding that it’s constantly in flux. And when it comes to adapting and responding to threats, a centralized authority can get in the way. Individual units that sense the environment, with minimal central control, work best.”
If they would have added a few economists to the mix, they would have figured that out a long time ago...