Time and time again, we’re reminded that nature already has the solutions to most of our problems!

Maybe it’s time to start thinking about what already exists rather than building entirely new systems.

Enter the Indian Runner duck:

Image: Group of Indian Runner Ducks


This is the taller, faster cousin of those ducks you’ve probably seen lounging around a pond in a public park.

For thousands of years, these sprinting ducks have been a staple in the paddy fields of Asia, for as they feed on the weeds and insects in the field (which alone is already a huge benefit), their steps oxygenate the water, and stir up the soil. And if that wasn’t enough, their waste acts as a natural fertilizer! 1

Now, hundreds of these little friends are being utilized at a vineyard with a snail problem. 2

Take a peek at some of the happiest workers you’ll ever see at the Vergenoegd Wine Estate in Stellenbosch, South Africa, thanks to this video below from Great Big Story

Genius! The solution is a good fit for the problem: Ducks are already really good at eating bugs. The snails are relentless, and so are the ducks! Pesticides degrade the agricultural area, but the ducks enhance it. Using the ducks creates another natural resource for the area, rather than turning to outsiders to supply chemicals.

What if this were the criteria we started with when trying to solve a problem:

  • Keep the solution local
  • Find someone who would be a natural at solving the problem
  • Make sure there are spin-off benefits
  • Keep new infrastructure needs to the bare minimum
  • Match the scale of the problem to the scale of the infrastructure needed to support the solution

Take a look at some of our other favorite methods of utilizing nature…

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With that, I’d like to leave you with the reminder that if you remain open to new possibilities, happiness (and health) may stay nearby!


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  1. Mesmer, Philippe. “Ducks Replace Paddy-field Pesticides.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 24 Jan. 2012. Web. 05 Sept. 2017. <https://www.theguardian.com/science/2012/jan/24/japan-farming-technique-duck-pesticide>.
  2. Birnbaum, Sarah. “For This Vineyard, It’s Duck, Duck, Booze.” NPR. NPR, 07 May 2016. Web. 05 Sept. 2017. <http://www.npr.org/2016/05/07/477037491/for-this-vineyard-its-duck-duck-booze>.
  3. “Got a Pest Problem? Call the Quack Squad.” YouTube. Great Big Story, 09 Aug. 2016. Web. 05 Sept. 2017. <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6Ehoxu9QY8&feature=youtu.be>.

Sam has written and edited hundreds of articles since joining the EWC team in 2016. She writes about topics from the wonders of nature to the organizations changing the world and the simple joys in life! Outside of the EWC office, she’s a part-time printmaker, collector of knick-knacks, and taster of cheeses.