Miguel Panao | Professor and Author

Finding ways to improve scientific writing and academic productivity.

Learn solidarity with nature

Do you believe cold exists? It doesn’t. It’s the absence of heat. And according to my youngest – “if there’s room, heat will go there.” However, this shows me something deeply embedded in nature. Solidarity.

Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash

Photo by Aaron Burden at Unsplash

I understood this when I was teaching a class on heat conduction where the mechanism through which heat flows in a material is by molecular diffusion.

We know a particle has more energy when its temperature is higher. Therefore, if it has energy, and next to it there’s a particle with less energy, it will “give” some of its energy to it. I realize this is as an image of solidarity in nature.

Living in the essential means having only what we need. If we have more than we need, the natural logic of gift should impel us to share with those who need more.

The reason for solidarity in nature is the dynamics associated with equilibriums. Why aren’t we naturally inclined to live always in solidarity? Some think about the selfish nature of our genes which inspires our memes. But I think it might be something else much more subtle.


As long as we live attached to what we think we have and are entitled to, we understand the natural inclination for giving as losing. Instead of seeing a gift, we see a loss.

When we learn solidarity with nature, we’ll experience a powerful feeling from the act of giving. Joy.

About Miguel Panao

I am a Professor at the University of Coimbra in Mechanical Engineering. I am also author of books in the fields of environmental ethics and Science and Religion. From the several research projects, this site is personal and dedicated to the search for the best approaches, tools, techniques to improve scientific productivity.

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