We tap into central intelligence to assess trends, to make important decisions, and to launch sensitive missions. We pool our national intelligence from different agencies and resources to optimize our foreign relations and national security interests. We build artificial intelligence platforms, software, robotics to perform work faster, organize knowledge more efficiently, process Big Data, and even begin to create new knowledge. We encourage natural talent in different areas; like sports, medicine, music, philosophy, art, and science. But I would argue that we don’t spend enough time sourcing and expanding our inherent natural intelligence for solving intimately personal and globally shared challenges? Could it be that we simply need to awaken natural intelligence again in our lives again?

Natural Intelligence refers to principles of life and to our lifestyle choices that respect the natural limits and boundaries of earth’s resources.

Natural Intelligence refers to an emotional impulse inherent in our universal myth that stimulates us to value and to protect the integrity of all living beings.

Natural Intelligence refers to a deeper, wiser understanding of nature’s survival strategies accumulated over 3+ billion years and etched into the DNA of circa 8.7 million species alive today; wisdom available to us in order to re-tool ourselves with tips, tricks, and design strategies for adapting to increasing rates of global change.

Natural Intelligence refers to the celebration of our own unique natural wisdom, which we pass down through generations across cultures and time in art, music, and story.
Natural Intelligence refers to our intimate, interdependent connection to the larger web of life in the biosphere, whereas even in our physical bodies — 80% of the biological DNA is foreign to our personal DNA. We are of earth. We are already in harmony, connection with life in the biosphere of earth.

Natural Intelligence refers to our innate, universal quest to touch and to expand the brilliant and sacred nature of the living universe.

Quest for Expanding Natural Intelligence in our World

Now, in our quest for expanding Natural Intelligence in our world; I am not suggesting a return to the romantic notion of the “noble savage”. Rather, I am proposing that we resolve forward to increase the vibration of our pure, intuitive selves, so that we may again harmonize with one another and the rest of the living planet.

Clearly, our global society is primed for a re-tuning as (on average/as a whole), we currently consume 1.6 earth’s worth of planetary natural resources per year and by 2030 we may even consume 2 earth’s worth of resources per year if we continue on our current development track (c.f. Global Footprint Network). How is it even possible that we have the capacity to produce an ecologic footprint so gigantic, so as to walk the knife’s edge of biological bankruptcy and to create a nature debt overloaded with interest so high that our seventh generation future will surely struggle to re-pay it? We are more conscious and naturally intelligent that, are we not?

Indeed, we may seek relief in Peter Diamandis’ Abundance theory. Yes, advanced technologies, more efficient tools, naturally intelligent design solutions, and circular/service-oriented business models help mitigate our heavy earth impact; stretch the value and use of our natural capital. But the truth is that we still live on a planet with finite resources and an ever-increasing demand on them from exponentially more people every year. Imagine, we are 7.44 billion people strong and growing toward 9 billion in the next 20-30 years–every one of us with greater energy and resource needs leading into that next now future. Clearly, our ecological footprint will continue to grow on a linear trajectory…
“We do not inherit the Earth from our ancestors. We borrow it from our children.” Native American Proverb

Unless we start course-correcting the tell tale signs of ecosystem collapse– water shortages, extended drought, fires (California, Mexico), hurricanes (Caribbean), dried underground aquifers thirty for recharge (Yemen, Qatar), expanding deserts across once biodiverse savannas (northern Sahara), erosion of organic soils and increased salinity (Pacific, SE Asian islands), reduced cropland productivity (India, US), overgrazing (Eastern Europe, CA), deforestation (SE Asia, SA), rapid rates of species extinction (globally, as urban jungles expand), fisheries collapse (Nordic region), pollinators (bees, bats) at risk, and increased carbon concentration in the atmosphere (accounting now for more than 50% of our eco-footprint)-signs of ecological collapse in big, bright neon signs all around us.
How on earth did we do that…right? How did we ever become so disconnected at the root to have so grossly earth overshoot? We are a good people. We love our children, families, and friends. We work hard for companies and governments, mostly with the right intention to make the world a better place. We are social and communal creatures, who want to live a life of purpose in service to others. So clearly, somewhere in the midst of survival, progress, industry, and production we lost our way.

“A technological and economically developed world which does not leave in its wake a better world and an integrally higher quality of life one can not be considered progress.” Pope Francis

Moving so laser-net fast across a myriad of smart and mobile platforms, relating to one another in our physical world behind virtual screens, playing war games in violent alternate realities that skew our perceptions of reality itself, constructing modern life into sky cities so distant from our indigenous earthen roots, rocketing off planet to explore new stars when the one we inhabit– already uniquely supports the narrow requirements of life, manufacturing even more stuff for transient human use from minerals now mined on meteors, knitting global economies together so deep and so intimate, yet paper-thin…we risk having viscerally, virtually, vitally unplugged from the life force of planet earth. And this is our home!
There is no other place in the infinitely vast star-studded space that we’ve yet found, traveling to distant galaxies 120 light years away, that is close enough or comfortable enough for us to realistically consider colonizing today or tomorrow. There is no Plan B here and now for inhabiting any other planet anywhere else in the universe. There is no Second Earth. Thus, it is imperative to our survival as the Homo sapiens species to pause for moment from our artificially intelligent future and take time to also craft a naturally intelligent narrative that strengthens the Human+Nature+Human bond alongside the Human+Machine.


  • Catherine Cunningham, PhD

    Mission Possible: Awaken Natural Intelligence in Our World

    Natural Intelligence

    Dr. Catherine Cunningham, PhD is an ecologist, anthropologist, writer, filmmaker, and media host producing films, interactive experiences, and online multimedia for international clients who are focused on positive economic, social, and environmental win-win-win solutions to global conservation and climate change.

    Catherine has travelled, written, photographed, and filmed in 70 countries, producing creative films and music videos in support the UN Global Goals and the human+nature planetary health narrative. Visit Natural Intelligence.com to see where her work has premiered internationally. Over 20 years, she has interviewed hundreds of global thought leaders to promote sustainable solutions to climate change and conservation in creative ways. Catherine has written numerous articles on climate change, nature, and regeneration. She’s currently writing two books: “Naturally Intelligent by Design” — a fine art science and culture book for families and “Natural Intelligence”— a guidebook for well-navigating a post COVID-19 world by following nature’s principles. Partnering with Eurovision News and Events, Catherine is also an independent media host— producing content on nature, climate, and regeneration; syndicated globally by EuroVision’s News Direct. She is a regular contributor to Thrive Global and Medium. She currently produces communications for the Prince Albert II Foundation and participates in programming @ the World Economic Forum on Climate Change, Nature, and Biodiversity. As an university educator, Catherine taught undergraduate and masters courses in corporate sustainability communications at Arizona State University; global sustainability at Chapman University; biology, ecology, botany, and environmental science at Denver State College and Front Range College. In 2016, she designed one of the first university courses on the 17 Sustainable Development Goals (also online), contributing to youth action on the UN Global Goals. She also created a post-graduate program with UNESCO on the MAB (Man the Biosphere) reserves. Catherine earned her PhD in Ecosystem Science at ETHZ in Switzerland, studying climate impacts on mountain ecosystems. She holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Cultural Anthropology and International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame and a Masters degree from Utah State in Ecology. Catherine speaks fluent English and conversational Italian. She loves creative collaboration, media production, mountaineering, outdoor sports, yoga, wellness, and travel.